In a scene from Harry Potter he visits Gringotts Bank. It is staffed by strange creatures, devoid of humour and who live in a separate world from other people. I imagine the Boundary Commission is rather like that. They exist to adjust constituency boundaries in a way that reflects changing populations. They have just come up with a solution for Berkshire that is incoherent nonsense. It will result in the Newbury constituency being shaped like a large “C” with villages that are less than 4 miles from Newbury being in a Reading constituency. It will result in one Council ward on West Berkshire Council being divided between three MPs.
The rules say that the Commissioners should take into account issues such as “the breaking of local ties as a result of their decisions”. If you live in Hermitage, Frilsham, Bucklebury, Stanford Dingley or Bradfield you might have a view on that. I welcome their change of mind on the Aldermaston ward (Aldermaston, Brimpton, Woolhampton and Midgham) saying that “Aldermaston looks towards Newbury”. But then they promptly go and put villages much closer to Newbury in another constituency. It rather feels as if they started Berkshire from the east and by the time they got to Newbury it was after lunch and like some imperialist potentate they just drew a line on a map that does not reflect how people live or where their allegiances lie.
I see from the Boundary Commission’s report that it was the Liberal Democrats who were behind the successful proposal to get the villages of Upper and Lower Basildon, Streatley and Aldworth moved out of the Newbury constituency. Now I wonder why they would want to do that?! I wouldn’t like to be their candidate in that ward at the next election.