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The Scottish Boundary Review

Its been a week since the Scottish Boundary Commission released their initial proposals for the Scottish seats come 2015. The proposals can be seen here.

In the Highlands & North West Scotland we lose one seat. Charlie Kennedy’s seat has effectively been split 3 ways. Ross going to the Caithness seat held by fellow Liberal Democrat John Thurso, Skye being added to the Inverness seat held by fellow Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, and Lochaber going to Argyll & Bute held by Alan Reid again a fellow Liberal Democrat.

Jo Swinson’s East Dunbartonshire seat could also be lost as some suggest it would have been notionally lost in 2010. Of course politics has headed into completely unknown territory since then with the first coalition government in 65 years and the SNP winning a majority in 2011. I don’t think there are safe seats when it comes to Scotland any more. Come the 2015, we maybe negotiating leaving the union so who knows how the 2015 GE will pan out in Scotland.

What I most dislike about the proposed boundaries is nothing to do with cutting the number of Scottish MPs or that LibDems will lose seats but the way the boundary commission dealt with redrawing the boundaries in South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway. The two main seats that concern me is the proposed Kyle & Cumnock and Galloway & Carrick seats.

I have 3 objections to these seats:

  1. The splitting up of Ayr
  2. The continued separation of a large chunk of Ayr with Prestwick & Troon
  3. Putting a large chunk of Ayr in with Galloway.
I object to the splitting up of my hometown. Not just because its my hometown, but because I find it unbelievable that you would choose to split up the principal town of the county of Ayrshire. The splitting up of a town thats been important & significant enough to name the county after seems bizarre. I think this feeling has grown recently due to the exchange I have with new people generally goes like this:
New Person: Where are you from?
Me: Ayr.
New Person: Where abouts in Ayr?
Me: Ayr, Ayr! The town of Ayr!
This confused me the first time someone asked. Where else would I mean? For me this highlights why Ayr shouldn’t be split up as it is a focal point. It is the town most easily recognised by people. Why would you split up the town which is historically and culturally a focal point for the local area. For me that town should be a focal point of a constituency.
What I disliked about the boundary review in 2005 was that for the first time, the town of Ayr was separated from Prestwick & Troon. if you don’t know Ayrshire, Ayr & Prestwick are merged at the hips & Troon is the next urban town only 8 miles north of Ayr. They belong together and everyone I talk to, also believes that. Why I was looking forward to this boundary review was the possibility of reuniting Ayr with these towns. Ayr has very weak ties with the surrounding rural areas specifically Galloway.
For me the most bizarre thing about the boundary review for the South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway is that they considered 6 options. Out of those 6 options they chose the only option that split Ayr up and kept a large part of Ayr separated from Prestwick and Troon. I would understand choosing this option maybe if the other 5 were just as bad or much worse but the other 5 in my opinion are better than the option they chose. There are a few with incredibly strange looking constituencies e.g. Galloway & East Ayrshire.
Some constituencies may seem strange but in the overall picture they are still better than the option that the boundary commission chose.
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