Cutting the number of Scottish MPs to zero

We’ve got far too many legislators in this country, according to the Tories. More specifically, according to the Tories we’ve got far too many elected legislators who aren’t Tories. This is terribly unfair and an affront to democracy, although the Tories being offended by an affront to democracy is like the composer of the Birdy Song being offended by an affront to musical good taste. Mind you, you’d think that a defiency of Tories needn’t be a problem for the Tories as far as Scotland is concerned, because they’ve only got the one MP here and yet they still get to call all the shots and overrule the 58 Scottish MPs who aren’t Tories.

The single Tory they do have is David Mundell, who’s a deficiency all by himself. Fluffy has recently grown a beard in an attempt to convince us all that he’s a bit of a bear. It’s just that the bear in question is Paddington, and we were all convinced he was a stuffed toy to begin with. So it does kind of beg the question of why he bothered. Unless it was because he wanted something to snack on.

Anyway, seeing as how the Tories have about the same chances of increasing the number of their elected representatives as Ruth Davidson does of passing a tank without leaping on it for a photo op, the party has decided to remedy the situation by cutting the number of seats held by the parties which don’t belong to the Conservative and Unionist Party. Or to give them their official name, the DurrtyConnivingToryBasterts. Because the Tories trying to make themselves more popular is a bit like a cholera bacillus trying to win friends at a conference of water bottlers, another tactic is required. If you can’t make yourself more popular, you can at least screw over your opposition. This is something that the Tories are experts in.

In order to achieve their goal of winning a majority in the Commons forever and a day, the Conservative government is embarking upon an electoral pauchle to decrease the number of seats in the House of Commons to 600, but will ensure that most of those seats that vanish will be Labour ones, and to a lesser extent, SNP ones. But only to a lesser extent because there are fewer Scottish seats to begin with. Remember that respect agenda that David Cameron said he had for Scotland, oh how we laughed, well they’re showing their respect by cutting Scotland’s influence in Westminster even more than they’ve already cut it.

It’s not just that the Tories are cutting the number of seats in the House of Commons and disproportionately cutting Labour and SNP seats, they’re introducing a new method of deciding the size of constituencies. The goal is that all constituencies should have approximately 75,000 electors, which sounds just fine and dandy. But historically the population size of a constituency has been decided on the basis of how many people are actually living in the constituency, as counted by the census. The change that the Tories are making is to base constituency size on the size of electoral register. Now if you’re not registered to vote, you don’t count as far as determining the size of your constituency is concerned, even if you are a British citizen who is eligible to vote.

This comes on top of recent changes made by the Tory government which make it more difficult for people to register on the electoral roll to begin with. There are already certain groups in the population who are less likely to be registered to vote, poor people, people on benefits, students, and the young, all of whom are statistically less likely to vote Conservative. The changes that the Tories want to make to the voting system disproportionately hit those groups who are less likely to vote Tory. And if you’re surprised by that you probably didn’t expect that at the end of Finding Nemo that they’d actually find Nemo.

Funnily enough for all their talk of making the system fairer, the Tories don’t seem to be overly concerned by all the unelected legislators that they keep appointing to the House of Lords. It’s only legislators who are actually directly elected and accountable to the voters whose numbers need to be reduced. And it’s only people who don’t vote Tory whose right to representation needs to be curtailed in the interests of Toryfairness.

Currently there are 796 members of the House of Lords who have the right to scrutinise bills, investigate government activity through committee work, and question government ministers. This figure doesn’t include those who were announced in Davie Cameron’s resignations dishonours list. 90 of these are hereditary peers, 26 are bishops, and the remaining 680 are appointees for services to the community, as a retirement perk, or giving big wads of dosh to political parties. There are no plans to reduce the number of members of the House of Lords despite the fact it doesn’t even pretend to be democratically representative, and despite the fact it’s the second biggest legislature in the world. The Chinese National People’s Congress is the biggest legislature in the world, but it represents a population of 1.4 billion. Mind you, even it doesn’t contain any representatives who snack on their beards during lulls in the proceedings.

The boundary changes which favour the Tories are due to be implemented in 2018. With the unfair first past the post electoral system, British representative democracy was always hanging by a shoogly peg, but these new changes only make a bad situation even worse. The intent is to lock in a Tory majority in the Commons, and to make it far more difficult for the Labour party to gain a majority and unseat them from power. Although to be fair Labour is making it all but impossible for it to unseat the Tories all by itself.

In Scotland we’ve already unseated all but one of the Tories, and there’s not much more unseating that we can do. Nevertheless it looks like we’re going to be stuck with Conservative governments stretching out into a dim and unpleasant future for as long as anyone cares to predict. There’s only one way out into the light. And it’s one which doesn’t involve the Westminster parliament. Every change the Tories make just gives us one more reason for independence. We can have a proper representative democracy when we reduce the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster to zero.

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984

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42 comments on “Cutting the number of Scottish MPs to zero

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Cutting the number of Scottish MPs to zero […]

  2. Thepnr says:

    I’m raging. This is absolutely ridiculous, now I understand why there have been all these changes to the electoral roll and repeated requests to register.

    It’s a disgrace. Democracy! don’t make me laugh.

    This has to backfire on these despicable creatures, WE have to make sure that we get everyone entitled to vote on the electoral register. I don’t mean just those that might vote Yes I mean EVERYONE. Still raging.

    • Saor Alba says:

      It is very important to have an organised campaign to reach out to those who do not vote, for whatever reason and encourage them to vote, by explaining why it is important to do so. This means organised communication and could be undertaken by local political groups.

      Those with hard lives to cope with often do not see the point of voting. This is where such a campaign would be useful and it may be a simple case of encouragement and enlightenment. The more people who vote, the better the chance of proper democracy.

      • Thepnr says:

        Thanks Saor Alba helped me calm done a bit and I totally agree. Democracy UK style appears to be being ripped from beneath our feet. We shouldn’t accept this and must each do our own wee bit to alleviate it.

        I do not look forward to perpetual Tory rule and that’s where we’re heading.

        • Saor Alba says:

          Don’t worry Thepnr.

          I believe independence is coming and we will be leaving the evil Death Star soon.
          I’m sure there will be opportunities to be active in the upcoming campaign and some of us will readily see the role we can play in our community, whether large or small.

          Remember that you are not alone on the journey. It is sometimes easy to get downhearted, but sites like this keep us all upbeat and strong. I often get a lift by just coming on here and reading comments from our digital friends.

          Thanks for the kind reply.

          Saor Alba.

  3. davidbsb says:

    We are due 55 seats if its 75k average electors. I thought they were proposing 53? Scotland being short changed? Nothing new there.

    Independence cannot come soon enough.

  4. Dan Huil says:

    Just tell the doubters during IndyRef2 if they vote No they will get decades of tory rule from Westminster.

  5. Saor Alba says:

    “Every change the Tories make just gives us one more reason for independence. We can have a proper representative democracy when we reduce the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster to zero.”

    Well said Paul.

    The solution is straightforward. Scotland gets its independence and immediately the number of elected legislators in the English Parliament is reduced by 59. Now that takes it down beyond what they are proposing. Simples! Then our MPs can come back home.

    Then the rUK (or whatever they will call themselves) can get on with the mess they are in themselves and leave us to flourish. It is doubtful that they would do this as they are far too dependent on us to keep them afloat. Otherwise they would let us go.

    When it becomes the vast majority in Scotland who accept and gain their self respect, instead of being constantly on their knees and accepting the constant lies, hatred and the manufactured and controlling divisions of the populace coming from the British Establishment, then we will have control over our destiny and the ability and wealth to progress the development of our Industries, Education, NHS, Tourism, etc, etc, etc. All this under a healthy Scottish Government that will be moulded to represent the people of Scotland and who are not far from any part of Scotland.

    Any decent human being wants to stand on his or her own feet and have control over their own destiny. It is no different for a country.

    The future is bright. The future is SCOTLAND.

  6. Jan Cowan says:

    I’m absolutely sick of these greedy, barbarous characters and their ruthless spite. Surely any clear, rational mind can see what they’re attempting to do to the Scottish people and can appreciate the urgent need for independence.

  7. Macart says:

    It’s who these bastards are and what they do. They don’t practice democracy, they pay lip service to it and the only representation they give a shit about is their precious societal order. I think you’ll find only certain demographics should be allowed to vote. Certain demographics should be allowed to support those who are allowed to vote (see under ‘obey your queen’) and then there are the rest of us who should simply queue up and allow ourselves to be robbed and abused without complaint. It’s an honour to be savaged by our betters donchaknow.

    Unknown fucking tribes in the Amazon could have told you that the Conservatives would act true to nature the very second Scotland voted no in 2014. They would betray every pledge, every assurance they made along with their erstwhile partners in crime Labour. They would stifle and silence dissenting voices. They would enact crippling austerity legislation and they would secure their extended tenure in office through deceit, treachery (ask Labour about that) and naked media manipulation.

    What part of David Cameron’s and Gordon Brown’s speeches did people mistake for actual sincerity in 2014?



    But back then Alex Salmond was slippery, devious, sleekit, evil and pure dead fucking bad. All this even though when challenged on the source for these claims no one was ever quite sure what event or action to pin all this pure badness on. Yet utterances from the mouths of fucking war criminals and corrupt spivs and we believed it was just peachy to hand over our sovereignty.

    We handed our sovereignty over to THE MOST XENOPHOBIC, CORRUPT, RIGHT WING, OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT SINCE THATCHER because they said the First Minister of Scotland wasn’t trustworthy and we’re too shite to run our own country.


    So what KIND of country do you want to live in?

    • jamie macdonald says:

      nae wonder you get tae stand in for the dug..yer last 3 paragraphs should be made intae a poster… then we’ll get them on every 2nd lampost in the land! -well said!
      Great post as per usual Paul.. and great to see you announce the tour dates!

    • Saor Alba says:

      Great stuff as usual Macart. You call it as it is.

      I see Brown is opening his mouth again without engaging his brain cell?
      When you look at the antics of Unionist politicians, you can see history repeating itself.
      The behaviour of Scottish Lords today is no different to when the Union was formed.
      It is what I call self service.

      When we get independence, we need no lords and we need no royalty.

      • I genuinely fear that Brown is showing early signs of dementia.
        He is flogging the dead horse again. A near federal state, but no currency, pensions, defence, foreign policy.
        Wuckfit of the first ordure.

        Why doesn’t he stay and home and count his millions, and leave the rest of us North Britons in peace?
        Ruth Davidson is taking mobility cars away from our disabled citizens. Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser is evicting some of our most frail and vulnerable citizens from their homes, because they use a spare bedroom to store mobility aids.
        Jackson Carlaw has cut our Health budget by £3.3 billion.
        WATP Two Jobs Professor Tomkins will spend billions renewing Trident on the Clyde without a mandate from the citizens of Scotland to do so.
        Up close and personal. Name names. They are arch right neo liberal Tories who would tax our breath if they could get away with it, and use it to give even more tax breaks to their relatives in the City.
        Yet they want to make each election a Tory Slam Dunk by jerrymandering?
        Time we left them to it.
        Great piece , Paul.
        When this shit is actually set out in your own special brand of writing, it comes across as what it is; Ruth Davidson and the Tories are attempting to kill democracy.
        Just let them try.

      • Macart says:

        Still raging at the sheer neck of this arch egotist.

        • Brown, Darling, Murphy, Lamont, Curran, Bayonet, Wee Dougie, Wendy, Henry.
          As I have observed before, Kezia is standing on the shoulders of midgets, Samuel.
          Oh that he breezes into Clydebank Town Hall the next time.
          We’ll give him a proper Clydebank greeting.
          A mercenary war criminal, who gets free access to the ‘presstitutes’ (source Ian Brotherhood I believe) when he trundles to North Britain and spouts his usual S bend scud.
          I don’t think that the Better Together Mob realise how fierce the next campaign is going to be. No more sitting back and taking it.
          Blair Jenkins did an incredible job last time, and was a gentleman throughout.
          Next time we won’t be sitting on our hands while BBC News Where You Are packs their ‘debates’ with middle class party placements.
          The gloves are off. It’s bare knuckle now.
          ‘I’ll be watching you’.

    • Luigi says:

      That’s a brilliant slogan for the IndyRef 2 campaign, Macart:

      “What kind of country do you want to live in?”

  8. Thepnr says:

    Ask yourself why the official opposition to the Government are letting these changes happen without even a whimper when they appear to be so disadvantaged by the new boundaries? After the changes it would appear that “Labour” cannot possibly win another election in decades. What?

    In my view it’s simply because they are not a true opposition they are but one and the same.

    Never mind Red Tory Blue Tory. Now there is only Tory the neoliberals have it in the bag, the job is done and WE the punter have been swallowed up in the process. There is no democracy or freedom of speech. Heckle a politician or object to a journalists opinion and you risk being vilified or even worse.

    Your VILE so you are, NASTY so you are so, JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP and eat your cereal.

    I’m having none of it. I will say my piece, I have a right to that and will defend that right.

  9. bedelsten says:

    Apologies, off topic a bit, but spotted on Twitter was a reference to this article in the Washington Post which articulates clearly what others may be thinking, nicely finishing:

    “Scotland’s [nationalism] is a post-national nationalism — one that cares far less about who governs than about what that governance looks like in practice. It is peaceable and beautiful in its way, but no one would die for it.

  10. bedelsten says:

    There is nothing novel or new in gerrymandering – manipulating the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favour one party or class, it has been going on forever, even Baldrick got involved, being elected as an MP in the rotten borough of Dunny-on-the-Wold. But manipulating the system so as to deter voter registration is a particularly insidious and cynical manoeuvre and ought to be resisted, though by whom is a moot question, there being no effective opposition, and no imminent sign of any, is the big hoose by the Thames. Getting people to register, continue to be registered and involved in the political process is important for democracy to function – or am I missing the point?

    But, hey, all is not gloom and doom. Yet. While we watch on, suspending disbelief, as the red tory party dismembers itself in a public – Owen what’shisname v JC-thevirginslayer(failed), we might be missing the opening skirmishes of the blue tory party’s dismemberment. It’s not they don’t have a clue, it’s that they don’t have a ******** (I think that is the correct term) clue and any clues they may find while subsequently desperately scrabbling around will be in diametric opposition to any other clues found in the same desperate scrabbling process. So they have to take their various clues to a game of chequers where May-hem will ensue. It could get nasty – hopefully.

    Meanwhile, an article in last week’s Economist started with the following: “BRITISH children will soon go back to school.” Soon?

    • RabMacPhoto says:

      The Tories definitely have form on this – Tory toff Dame Shirley Porter (?) was convicted of it some years ago.

      Can’t remember the sentence, only that there was a hefty fine imposed, most of which is still outstanding.

  11. Basing constituencies on 75,000 registered voters could see large swathes of inner cities losing their MP and city constituencies becoming larger in area. It will also see many rural constituencies become even larger, making the job of many MPs in, for example, the Highlands become even more difficult because of distances to be travelled.

    The reason is supposedly to make every vote carry the same weight, but that can only happen if voters have relatively easy access to their MP – something surely easier in compact city constituencies than far-flung rural seats. So the reorganisation is based on a fallacy.

    • Saor Alba says:

      You make some really good points jingsandthings.

      However, the reorganisation is based on the blue Tories getting rid of opposition seats and making the chances of blue Tory victories in elections even more probable. Nothing more and nothing less. These people are not interested in democracy, fairness or honesty. They have no integrity.
      Mind you, I might be stretching a point in categorising red tories, purple tories or orange tories as opposition. The only real opposition dahn saff is the SNP, who are outnumbered.

      Of course the Blairite Tories will not be harmed – only the SNP and anything remotely left wing. Fairness, democracy, and honesty are oot the windae.

      They would be far better getting rid of the crappy, nonsensical appointments to the House of Lords if they want to cut back on money. Hey, no, they can’t do that to pals can they? They need to keep people on-side with not-so-little rewards for services rendered.

      Having easy access to MP’s is even better in an Independent Scotland, where we could actually increase the number of constituencies, especially up North, so that it is much more manageable for SMP’s are their constituents. This fits your model, I think.

  12. Saor Alba says:

    That’s how they spell ENGLISH way dahn saff, bedelsten.

    Let’s hope the blue Tories are about to fall apart, but whatever happens, we still need our Independence. The union we are in is pure EVIL. The Tories can’t even spell that properly.

    I checked your spelling of ********. Not sure, but did you mean ******* ?
    I may have read it wrong.

    Anyhow, thanks for the post. I enjoyed it.

  13. habibbarri says:

    “Proper democracy???” When we still have the undemocratic House of Lords!!!

  14. Marconatrix says:

    On the general theme of democracy, its limitations and how to take it back, here´s a film about Iceland that I reckon well deserves a watch (thanks Bella) :

  15. Tony L says:

    This move by the Confidence Tricksters party (I got that right, didn’t I?) has been on the cards since the Government before this one and only ‘held back’ due to the LibDems worrying about losing seats themselves. So no surprise it has resurrected itself now.

    Am I right in thinking that theoretically it is the boundary commission that proposed the actual new boundaries? Or do they simply confirm what the Gov of the day wants.

    I am reminded of the saying “If the electorate don’t vote the way you want … get a new electorate” This is happening before our eyes, and the description of the UK political system as “Elected Dictatorships” becomes more true every day.

    • Luigi says:

      The LibDems (uncharacteristically) dug their feet in over consituency boundary changes because the Tories had shafted them over the PR referendum debacle. Otherwise they probably would have bent over as they usually do.🙂

  16. Tinto Chiel says:

    “Nevertheless it looks like we’re going to be stuck with Conservative governments stretching out into a dim and unpleasant future for as long as anyone cares to predict. There’s only one way out into the light.”

    Although your whole article was excellent and well illustrated, this point needs to be repeated and repeated until BLiSsers finally get it, with a supplementary question, “Are you prepared to see Scotland suffer under a perpetual Tory government rather than vote Yes and being present at the rebirth of democracy in Scotland?”

    As Macart says, we really can’t be surprised that the Tories behave in such a fashion: its the fox and the scorpion idea again. They would sell their grannies bones for glue if they could get away with it.

    What is depressing is that as many as 17% voted for the ruthless Ruthtastic Party in Scotland.

    The trouble is, “Scottish Labour” seems so incredibly stupid and obsessed with hating the SNP that I wonder if they can ever do the decent thing and support independence.

  17. MarkAustin says:

    There’s a couple of aspects of the proposed changes that haven’t been commented on much, if at all.

    Firstly, Parliamentary seats are based on local authority wards, so rejigging them isn’t just a matter of drawing a bigger (or smaller) line on a map. It would involve moving whole wards in or out. Some time ago, I saw the proposed maps for my own constituency. More than have the wards were either moved in from another existing constituency or out from this one. Under the rues used up til now, the boundaries had to reflect local considerations, such as towns/boroughs etc. The new ones don’t. This will make it more difficult for MPs to establish community links, and will make co-ordinating local and national elections much more difficult. For example, in London, currently there is a rule that all of an MPs constituency will be part if one Borough. This is going

    Secondly, the proposals envisage much more frequent reviews, I believe for a full Parliament for every election. This will not affect the Tories much, as their core seats are large, stable rural seats, but those representing urban areas, with much less stable electorates, this could mean radical changes every election (see my previous point).

  18. david Agnew says:

    The pragmatic unionism as practiced by the UK sub branch parties is dead. It’s gone. Kaput. Shuffled off its mortal coil and has gone to join the choir invisible. The more toxic brew of whats good for the rUK is good enough for the Scots took over. And would you just look what they did with it.

    A dysfunctional UK on the verge of leaving europe because….reasons.
    A UK press that has morphed into shit stirring click baiters.
    Labour tearing itself apart to decide which red tory sock puppet should be in charge of abstaining.
    Scottish Labour hiring Alan Roden of the Scottish Daily Mail to be its Head of Communications.
    Yoons celebrating another GERS report that conclusively proves Scotland is subsidised to pretend its British.
    The tories trying to gerrymander the UK political system so they can get maybe more than one shit muncher for union to represent Scotland.
    Oh yeah, lest we forget the real triumph of Better together. Convincing the English electorate that they actually pay taxes to keep Scotland in the union.

    Scotland can no longer stand tall in the union. But the yoons will clearly put up with any humiliation if it allows them to pretend they’re not actually Scottish but Proud Scots but. We cannot win over these people. Its other no voters we need to reach out to now. The ones who still believe in the old siren song of pragmatic unionism. The ones who were scared into voting no. The ones who fell for the cringe pedlars lies about how shite it is to be Scottish.

    We’re gonna need those No voters if we’re going to win this thing. Don’t engage with a yoon unless you are trying to draw others attention to their stupidity on stilts world view. You can’t debate a trolling yoon anymore than you can debate offensive graffiti. But you can draw people’s attention to them and with skillful use of the real facts backed up with WMD levels of satire and mockery, blow their ridiculous pride in their “cringe” into atoms.

  19. Ghillie says:

    This is a return to rotten boroughs.

    I could say unbelievable but it just isnt.

    The rotten Toerags are capable of absolutely anything.

    Hey, why does Wee Ginger Dug want to cut the number of Scottis?! An incident in the park?

  20. Saor Alba says:

    It is also necessary to reach out to those who don’t vote or can’t be bothered to vote, for whatever reason.

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