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Fear Not – Jeremy Corbyn’s Seat Is Safe

It was reported last week that the Independent Boundary Commission’s proposed boundary changes for UK constituencies would make Jeremy Corbyn’s seat vanish, as well as 49 others. The Government are keen to go ahead with these changes, despite 22 Conservative seats hypothetically vanishing under the plans as well.

The proposal has caused uproar (and laughter) in the Opposition, with good reason: however much they may dislike him, pushing through the removal of the opposition leader’s seat is so transparently undemocratic that it’s almost confusing as to why the Tories would want to try .

Desperation is one explanation, but can they really be that scared of him?

Corbyn has represented the seat of Islington North for nearly 35 years, first winning it in the 1983 general election.  Under the new proposals, his seat would be split between a new seat to encompass all of Islington together and the seat of Holborn and St Pancras, Keir Starmer’s seat.

The idea, first emerged in 2011, was completely rejected in 2013 because, let’s face it, how did anyone expect to get a proposal through that would involve 50 of the people voting on it losing their jobs?

Much the same will happen here: although the Conservatives would be just that little bit closer to a majority, their place in government would still hang on the co-operation of the DUP, and 50 MPs would still lose their jobs.

Of course, there’s also the added problem of coming up with the supposed official reasoning behind the boundary changes. Back in 2011, they were planned as a cost reduction strategy in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal. What will be the excuse this time?

Fairer representation, it seems.

Now, let it be said that the idea of making democracy fairer is a sound concept: the proposed change would mean the sizes of electorates in each constituency is a more consistent figure (between 71,000 and 78,000 each).

And yet Parliament would be made smaller, a complete antithesis to the idea of fair representation as we know it now.

Then there’s the question of Corbyn’s seat itself. First, there’s a pernickety semantics argument against this. The Islington North seat covers – surprise, surprise! – the north of Islington, and the Islington South seat includes – you guessed it! – the south of Islington. When the North seat is split apart, some of it will be given to Stoke Newington, some to Holborn & St Pancras, and some to Finsbury Park, which is part of the Islington borough.

So how ridiculous is it that they should take some of the Islington North seat, jam it in with the South seat and then just call the whole thing Islington when it is demonstrably not all of Islington?

On top of all this is the idiocy and bafflingly blatant desperation of taking your largest challenger’s seat from him. Among the million other things Theresa May probably has on her mind right now, why devote this much time to plans that are unnecessary, counter-productive and foolishly unambiguous in their ‘political strategy’?

Like it or not, Corbyn won his seat, fair and square, and has served his constituency with passion for half his life. It would be absurd to even consider such a possibility.

But then, none of us even have to. These plans won’t ever get through Parliament. It’s not just the public who are more than capable of deciphering the folly behind the plans. The MPs can do it too – it’s what they’re paid for. So, who cares if the Tories want Corbyn’s seat to vanish? If anything, it tells us, to the surprise of nobody whatsoever, that the government is are not too fond of the Leader of the Opposition. Today more than ever.

Written by Thomas Atkinson

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