Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Bounders and Boundaries

The news that the Boundary Commission have completely ignored representations made from Badenoch and Strathspey, from our MSP, Fergus Ewing, from myself and from The Highland Council and made no changes at all to their recommendation that Badenoch and Strathspey be carved up for electoral purposes between Inverness and Lochaber in a pathetic blind adherence to the numbers game is nothing short of an utter disgrace.

Despite this being about the boundaries of the Scottish Parliamentary Constituencies, the decision is a reserved matter and will be made by Westminster's poodle in the north, The Secretary of State for Scotland, not by our own Parliament.

The breathtaking and dismissive arrogance that denies us even a local inquiry hearing into our grievances is yet more evidence that devolution is an increasingly unsatisfactory half way house. How is it possible that a raft of clearly expressed views, including unanimity across the political divide in Highland Council, can be ridden over roughshod by an undemocratic bunch of numpties reporting to an anachronism from the past?

It is quite extraordinary that these clowns in Edinburgh can actually consider it reasonable to expect the MSP for the new constituency that will include more than half of our area, on the western side of the Cairngorms National Park, to be able to represent constituents from Aviemore down to Lochaber, across to Uig in north Skye, then back across to Dingwall, north of Inverness. Aviemore to Uig is 163 miles. This is twenty three miles further than it is to Glasgow City Centre, and an amazing thirty six miles further than the trip to Holyrood itself. All this would be bad enough by itself, but to take all of the connections of the area of Badenoch and Strathspey and rip them apart in a divorce that nobody wants for the sake of equality of numbers is total idiocy. In rural environments, equality of numbers is in no way related to equality of representation.

All we have left to battle on with now, given that the Boundaries Commission won't even give us a local inquiry because they say 'they have enough information to come to a decision' is to write to the Secretary of State for Scotland to urge him to reject the Commission's proposals.

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