Sunday 20 January 2013

Bill Cash's Stone Constituency

An observation.

Here is a map of the so-called 'Second Reich', the German Empire of 1871-1918.

The borders were established in the victorious wake of the Franco-Prussian war which, once and for all, affirmed Prussian hegemony over the patchwork of petty states that comprised the Germany of the time. The House of Hohenzollern rose to the imperial throne, but retained their sovereignty over the Kingdom of Prussia until the house fell from power in 1918. The borders of the German Empire officially ceased to be with the Treaty of Versailles one year later. Interestingly, though the Federal Republic does not recognise it the Hohenzollerns have never relinquished their claim to the Prussian throne.

Here is a map of Stone constituency, home of anti-EU tub thumper, Bill Cash MP.

Received political wisdom in North Staffordshire has it that Stone constituency was drawn up especially to provide a safe seat for Mr Cash. Its tortuous shape encompasses large parts of the county's rural hinterland and abuts the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, Market Drayton, and Uttoxeter. Simply put, it's a gerrymander (though, of course, by no means the worst example). Bill Cash has been returned to parliament by the good voters of Stone constituency with widening majorities at each election since 1997. At present he sits on a cushion of 13,000 votes. And with the death of Dave's boundary review, Bill isn't going anywhere unless he wishes it.

Okay, am I the only one who can see a similarity between the two entities? The east of Stone resembles Imperial Germany's East Prussian and Silesian territories. The part curling up towards Newcastle has a hint of Schleswig-Holstein about it, the south Bavaria and, being a bit cheeky, it is also redolent of the 3rd Reich following its annexation of Austria in 1938.

So. Are Stone's borders purely a result of electoral arithmetic carried out by the Boundary Commission (and subsequent reviews) since the mid-90s, or was someone having a laugh? After all, the honourable member has long been known for his concerns about German domination of the EU. Did a boundary nerd decide to have a little fun at his expense? I guess we will never know.

And please, no jokes about Kaiser Bill.


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Phil said...

On topic and genuinely useful spam for once!

Just me (for now) said...

wow that is an incredible observation.

George Carty said...

Before County Durham became a single unitary authority, I always thought that Sedgefield district looked a bit like a miniature Austro-Hungarian Empire. ;)