Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

It's all change on the western front, and in Belfast too

There will be complaints, but the proposed new parliamentary boundaries in Northern Ireland are reasonably fair. So, unless the Liberal Democrats get the scheme scrapped UK wide, there are unlikely to be major changes.

Statistically we merit 15.3 Westminster seats. The Boundary Commissioners rounded that up to 16.

We had 18 before so we lost two overall - one nationalist and one unionist, one in the east of the province and one in the west, one in Belfast and one in the country.

A rough balance has been struck.

The Stormont arithmetic hasn't been disturbed too much either.

On present voting trends unionist representation will be marginally eroded, but then it was a little high under the old system, but the DUP will still keep the First Minister's post and the party share out of ministries will be unaffected.

The SDLP and DUP will be annoyed by the prospect of losing a seat each because of the creation of the new constituencies of South West Belfast and Glenshane, here have to be two losers and this is as close as we are likely to get to a level playing field.

If parties want greater representation then the traditional remedy is to persuade voters to either change allegiance or turn out in greater numbers in response to their policies.

That is what elections are about.

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