Monday, 26 October 2009

The mother of all gerrymanders

Back in the 1980s, certain prominent tories on Westminster Council got were hit in a gerrymandering scandal, which led to eye-watering fines. Dame Shirley Porter was ordered to pay £27 million, and eventually settled by coughing up £12 million. Their crime was attempting to sell council homes in marginal wards, under the belief that home-owners were more likely to vote tory. Thus this policy of selling council properties, because it was targeted at marginal wards, was deemed gerrymandering. Strictly speaking, gerrymandering refers to fixing the boundaries of electoral districts in order to benefit one party, but by extension, in the case of Westminster, it can be applied to other ways to manipulate the constituents of an electorate.

To re-track, £27 million for a couple of council wards. So, when the New Labour government tries to gerrymander the whole country, as policy, for their own benefit, how much should they pay?

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