View from boundary

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SO, I know I’ve joked about the proposed electoral boundary reforms – but I have to say the more I think about the plans, the more they seem to be the work of charlatans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cutting the number of MPs in Parliament (and while we’re at it, let’s shred the number of ministers and peers too), and you can’t argue with the basic democratic principle that each constituency should have an equal number of voters.

But some of the areas which have been drawn up by the independent boundary commission are nothing short of bizarre.

Barnsley West and Ecclesfield, anyone? Rotherham and Sheffield East?

Should such geographically and politically disparate districts really be lumped together just to achieve a false form of equilibrium? Should council and in some case county boundaries be overlooked? Should, ultimately, cohesiveness not be a factor when creating constituencies?

Many of our MPs don’t like the proposals either which, in normal circumstances, might be enough to make me support the idea. But in this case I have to agree with Blunkett et al. Back to the (re)drawing board, please.

n NICE to hear waste contractor Veolia are charging taxpayers £6 million for an extra service – aimed at the elderly – which costs it nothing to provide. Some things need no extra comment.

n A READER emails to query Peter Stringfellow’s age, as reported in Tuesday’s Diary.

The feature said he was 60 which, as John Earnshaw points out, would have made him just 13 when he opened the legendary Club Mojo in 1964.

There’s no doubt the Pitsmoor lad’s always been ahead of his time and he’d be the first to point out his youthful looks but allow me to confirm the error is all mine. He’s 70. And 71 next month, incidentally. Happy birthday, Peter.