So just before you discount those Westminster seats?

Dewi was pretty hot off the starting gun (he either gets up earlier than the rest of us, or stays up much later) with the boundary change news. Nicholas Whyte’s analysis on the BBC is also well worth reading. But so too are these cautionary words from the gentlemanly Michael White:

…cutting the number of MPs to save a theoretical £12m a year is likely to prove a trivial, possibly bad, reform where the laws of unintended consequences will have a field day.

“I can’t see Nick Clegg being able to go along with this,” predicts my Tory chum. “He may have to go to Cameron before parliament votes on these changes in 2013 and say: ‘Can we postpone all this. I’m in enough trouble with the opinion polls without boundary trouble too.’ Will Cameron agree to help him or tell him to get stuffed?”

Good question.

Indeed. This deal was a co party to the the failed AV system. For the Lib Dems this reform (ie, cutting Commons seats, rather than the simple re-drawing of boundaries) is like turkeys voting for the biggest Christmas party ever.

Footnoted afterthought: Even if these reforms do come in, they only happen in 2015/16. The widespread assumption being applied in local analysis is that voting patterns will remain static between now and then.

Given the relative health of the local parties, it’s not an unreasonable assumption, but its one based on the presumption that there are no uncharted icebergs lurking the next four to five years for Northern Ireland’s political class.

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  • There is of course a possibility that events dear boy events will mean a Westminster Election as early as 2012 or 2013.
    All these and more caveats apply locally. Each Minister will be giving us bad news and more bad news……and a shrewd move for smaller parties in the Executive might be to decide for principled ot tactical reasons to go into Oppositionith a flurry of walk outs….it might even be beneficial to leave the Executive about nine months before the next Stormont Election.
    If a week is a long time in politics, three years is 156 times longer.
    The Boundaries…..if accepted……are no more than the size of the pitch on which the next Election is fought. But the Game is more important than the Pitch…..and tactics need to be amended.

  • I can’t see MPs of any party being comfortable rejecting a proposal to save their own jobs when their constituents are losing theirs.

    Also the maths of the Guardian’s analysis is problematic; the technique they are using will exaggerate the net benefit to the Tories (though of course we cannot know by how much). I’ve yet to see Lib Dem bloggers reacting in the same way as Michael White’s Tory chum predicts (or perhaps hopes).

    I may not have been sufficiently clear that my calculations are about fitting past election results to future boundaries. Future election outcomes will of course be decided by future votes, and while past voting is a good indicator of future voting, especially in Northern Ireland, it is far from infallible.