Lewes Forum thread

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Boundary Changes

On 16 Oct 2012 at 9:40pm the old mayor wrote:
So is it true ? The constituency boundaries have been altered, we are not lumped in with Whitehawk anymore but with Forest Row, Uckflied and Birling Gap. Ditchling & Horam and Kingston. Hardly, seems worth the expense, but since when did that ever stop them ? Oh and PS the street lights are going out over night !
On 16 Oct 2012 at 9:59pm Dave wrote:
No, these are the new proposals following the consultation. Not likely to happen soon, if at all.
On 16 Oct 2012 at 10:18pm Bruciare il Papa wrote:
Pleased we will not be lumbered as part of Brighton - that was a terrible prospect as we are poles apart.
And the prospect of dark skies is wonderful news. When will that start?
On 16 Oct 2012 at 11:03pm Southover Queen wrote:
It won't happen anyway, since neither the Lib-Dems nor Labour will support it so it will fail.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 8:32am Pete wrote:
....yeah, unless Clegg and his cronies chicken out again SQ......
On 17 Oct 2012 at 9:11am John Stockdale wrote:
The Boundary Commission got the message that Lewes didn't want to be part of Brighton. But, once again the sqeeze is on Newhaven which has one ward assigned to the proposed Lewes and Uckfield seat while the rest stays with the coastal towns and Brighton. It's all hypothetical, as Southover Queen says as it probably won't be voted through Parliament. Here's a link to the revised boundary commission document.

Check it out here »
On 17 Oct 2012 at 12:00pm Fairmeadow wrote:
A better solution for Lewes, though given the rapid growth at Uckfield it won't be the main town in the new constituency for long.
Not such great news for Norman, if he plans to stand again. Lots and lots of very deep blue Wealden villages.
Is SQ really confident that Nick Clegg's word means anything? Ask any student.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 12:46pm Southover Queen wrote:
He has said Sorry, Fairmeadow. A lot.

Also I have a hunch that many of the boundary changes will threaten what remains of the LibDem constituencies* so I think they'll probably stand by this one.

*Mind you, that's reckoning without the huge backlash they all expect at the next election which will wipe out many if not most LibDem MPs.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 1:42pm Fried Clegg wrote:
My friends who voted Lib Dem also have said sorry...a lot. The only difference is that the did it at the time, giving me the impression that they meant it, rather than having some other motivation 2 years after the event.
I suggest that next election everyone votes for what a party actually stands for, not what they have projected onto them out of desperation regarding the other two. Though God help all of us with that.
Exits sobbing.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 3:18pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
That's a tricky one though, FC. Being a leftie, there isn't a party that stands for the things I'd like to see, so I wouldn't be able to vote at all!
On 17 Oct 2012 at 3:56pm Independent Thinker wrote:
This boundary is an improvement on what was proposed, being part of Brighton was ludicrous. I'm less confident Clegg will stick to his guns, though, as he said the vote against will be because of the Tories flip-flopping on Lords reform. If the Tories then decide it's worth an elected House of Lords to get these changes (which would have given them a majority if in place at the last election) it would be hard for Clegg to still vote against it. Though never understood why they'd even consider voting for such blatant gerrymandering that only benefits the Tories. Like Turkey's voting for Christmas.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 4:30pm GhostBike wrote:
While we are definitely not 'part of Brighton', Lewes has more in common with Brighton than it does with Forest Row or Horam. How many people in Lewes work in Brighton & Hove FFS? How many residents of Wealden work in Brighton & Hove? How many Lewes residents onced lived in B&H? How many Albion fans are there here compared to Forest Row?
On 17 Oct 2012 at 4:38pm Southover Queen wrote:
Quite, Independent Thinker. Those changes would almost certainly deliver a Tory in this constituency which is a very depressing thought. Whatever else you say about Stormin' Norman, he has at least been a responsive MP. The evidence from the two Tory councils here is that Lewes would simply be wiped from the democratic map - neither LDC or ESCC take the very slightest notice of what Lewesians want because they know that we don't vote for them. Witness the sale of LDC land without meaningful consultation and under a blanket of secrecy, and witness the so-called consultation on street lighting (and residential parking, for that matter). It's quite obvious that our views are not welcome and certainly not sought. I'd expect a very similar attitude from a Westminster MP, I'm afraid.

Unsurprisingly, I'm with ACT on this. I have voted tactically in the past. If these changes were to go through I don't think that would make any difference at all.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 5:35pm echo...echo wrote:
No offence, but I'm afraid I am one of many people don't agree with you that Norman is responsive. How? and to whom?. I do agree with you that a Tory MP would be awful and am not sure any of the other candidates are any better, but the idea that Norman has been some kind of wonderful responsive MP over the last 2 years is just not born out by the facts. What is worse is that he spent years refusing to intervene when there were serious problems with our District Council, because he had a cosy agreement with Anne De Vecchi, so has actually done damage to Lewes. That is not good enough. He has done nothing about the parking scheme, other than say it needs changing (not hard to come up with that nugget of wisdom) Thinks that boasting about being responsible for 5 hospital signs is worth bothering with (surely that is bread and butter stuff for our local Councillors) and he is the reason why we are now inundated with' do not park on the verge' signs. It is hardly inspirational stuff, and as this thread indicates, the only reason he gets away with it, is because he is good at PR, and is the least worse option in a peculiar constituency. He will be remembered for one thing, and that is the expenses scandal. That was some time ago now......
On 17 Oct 2012 at 6:11pm Southover Queen wrote:
I didn't know about a failure to intervene in the District Council (and god knows we could do with some assistance there). I only know that when I wrote to him on two different matters I got full and well-researched replies. I have never written seeking help with a personal matter though, so I can't say how he'd respond to that. Also, both the occasions I contacted him were prior to the last election.

In general, I'd like two things from my MP. The first is that I'd hope that s/he'd represent my interests in parliament in a non-partisan way, and the second - a hope rather than anything else - is that s/he'd represent my general political views. However even someone whose political POV is completely opposed to mine can (and should) be a point of contact with central government and be willing to act as an advocate for all his or her constituents.

What concerns me about the example set by the current tiers of local government is that the views of Lewesians are completely ignored and I'm afraid I do think that a big reason for that is that those councillors don't expect to win our votes and therefore take no notice of our views. I don't think the residents of Lewes have anything much in common with the rural areas and villages of East Sussex, as Ghostbike suggests, and I feel that an MP would be hard pressed to represent Lewes as well as great swathes of very deep blue countryside.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 6:17pm Local voter wrote:
Is it just snobbery that makes people claim that being part of a constituency alongside part of Brighton?
What makes the manky voters of, say, Landport any more similar to the lovely arty lefty-leaning LibDem voting Lewes folks than whoever lives in east Brighton?
On 17 Oct 2012 at 6:37pm Southover Queen wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean, Local Voter. As it happens I think Lewes as an urban centre has far more in common with East Brighton than it does with feudal villages in the Weald.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 7:28pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Norman Baker is panicking; as he knows he will be ousted if the boundaries change. Hopefully we can restore rural Sussex with traditional MP's.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 7:39pm Morrigan wrote:
Local Voter - I am an Irish marxist with arty leanings and living in Landport. Am I manky or lovely?
On 17 Oct 2012 at 10:40pm Local voter wrote:
SQ - I was reacting to the various earlier posts expressing outrage that Lewes could possibly be lumped together with Brighton.
Morrigan - I didn't mean to make out that all voters in Landport are manky, just the manky ones! But from the rest of your self-description, I'd lean away from lovely for you I'm afraid...
On 17 Oct 2012 at 11:37pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I know several people who have got Norman's office involved in casework and been delighted with the outcome and the effort he put in.
The fact that he was a county councillor for many years means he knows how to deal with County Hall apparatchiks.
On 17 Oct 2012 at 11:49pm the old mayor wrote:
Oh the expense of it all !! But hey ho MNO !! (Money no object)
On 18 Oct 2012 at 9:17am Ahem wrote:
Local Voter - There are, I suppose, a certain number of people in Lewes who cling desperately to the idea that it is a 'country/county town' and hence miles away from dirty old Brighton and closer to some thatched Wealden village. This is despite the fact that people in the country tend to do pretty m uch the same work as people in towns, but hey ho. It is also despite the fact that Brighton, whatever it may have been decades ago, is now one of the most successful cities in the country, with one of the fastest increase in employment and the highest level of skills and degrees. But never mind.
If you take ten minutes to look at the research adn figures you'll see that Lewes is really tied in to Brighton. The commuting and employment patterns, the bus and train routes, the housing market, population movements, we are - I am sorry to say - really heavily influenced by the place. Sticking your fingers in your ears won't change that, nor will it change the fact that, like it or not, Lewes will become more and more like Brighton over the coming years.
On 18 Oct 2012 at 10:27am Independent Thinker wrote:
To be clear, my objection to being lumped in with Brighton was that at the moment, the MP we get for Lewes is primarily decided by voters in Lewes. Which given I live in Lewes is something I want. If the majority of us here decide to vote Tory, we'll get a Tory. If we continue to vote Lib Dem, we'll get a Lib Dem (sadly any other vote is a wasted one, but blame that on those who blocked AV). Under the previous changes, it would be Brighton voters who choose our MP, which means that MP would primarily be responsive to what Brighton voters want, not Lewes ones. Looking at the change, it isn't ideal but it looks a bit more balanced and our votes would likely still make a difference so candidates would at least need to pay attention to issues here. But hopefully Clegg will stick to his word this time and the changes will go away.
On 18 Oct 2012 at 11:34am Ahem wrote:
", the MP we get for Lewes is primarily decided by voters in Lewes. Which given I live in Lewes is something I want. "
That's simply not true, though. The population of Lewes town is quite a small part of the district. Seaford has a slightly higher population, and add in Newhaven and surrounds and that dwarfs the population of the town. TO put it in figures, the constituency has a population of 83,000, LEwes town about 16,000.
So basically at the moment our MP should, in theory, be more responsive to Newhaven and Seaford voters than Lewes voters.
Given that all hte constituencies will be the same size, and LEwes isn't going to change, I don't see what difference it makes who we're lumped in with - we will still form the minority of the electorate.
On 18 Oct 2012 at 11:38am Local voter wrote:
Precisely Ahem. Snobbish self-interest is / was behind those who moan about the boundary changes.
On 18 Oct 2012 at 11:53am Southover Queen wrote:
Self-interest or political bias will always influence opinion about such things though. People tend to insist that their decisions are based on an objective evaluation of the facts or somesuch, when in fact they'll argue for what suits them and their prejudices best. In fact, there was just recently a study that showed clearly how people select information/media/studies which reinforce their own point of view.

Personally I'd have quite liked the first proposed boundary change because it would have delivered the possibility of electing someone from the left of the spectrum, and equally I don't like the second because it will condemn (yes, I know that's a biased term) Lewes to an MP from the right who is likely to represent the views of rural conservatives. However you shake it up, Lewes is a bit of an anomaly in the local political landscape, and long may it remain so. It is likely to mean though that we will always have to shout a bit louder to be heard.
On 18 Oct 2012 at 12:31pm someone else wrote:
All this is why, on the whole, I would prefer PR. I've been voting since 1981 in a variety of constituencies and have yet to elect a representative to Parliament.

I think it's correct to say that in pretty much every constituency in the land, the number of unsuccessful voters, non-voters and tactical voters exceed, in total, those who actually vote successfully for a representative.
On 19 Oct 2012 at 1:01pm Independent Thinker wrote:
Fair point, Ahem. My thinking was based on the fact that Lewes before 1997 used to elect a Conservative MP, and now elects a Lib Dem, which made me think that the votes of Lewesians, who currently are solidly anti-Tory based on TC, LDC and ESCC results, have an impact on the result. But maybe Lewesians always voted LD and it was other parts of the constituency that switched. Under the previous change it looked to me like even if every Lewes LD switched to Labour it wouldn't be enough to change the outcome of a Tory MP because of how that part of Brighton votes, so the Tories would hardly bother campaigning here or worrying about what we think. The same way ESCC and now LDC ignore Lewes. Think back to the last election and how hard Sugarman's team tried to sway voters on here to know they needed to appeal to voters in Lewes to have a chance of winning. But it's all hypothetical anyway if the changes don't happen.
On 19 Oct 2012 at 3:37pm Southover Queen wrote:
Independent Thinker wrote: "Under the previous change it looked to me like even if every Lewes LD switched to Labour it wouldn't be enough to change the outcome of a Tory MP because of how that part of Brighton votes," How do you mean, IT? East Brighton had a by election for a councillor yesterday, and the results were that the Labour candidate won over three times the vote of her nearest rival (the Conservative Candidate). The Greens came third only a few votes behind the Tory. So I'd have thought there was a good chance of left-leaning parliamentary candidates succeeding in a constituency which included East Brighton and Lewes, surely? (Not being argumentative: just trying to work out what you meant!)
(Also, the LibDem's result here was just 59 or 2% of the total which must be a real worry for them)

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