The final Boundary Commission Report was published this week. In very broad terms, Chippenham comes back to North Wiltshire, but I lose Calne to the Devizes constituency. It more or less takes me back to the seat I represented from 1997-2010, and sad as I would be to lose Calne, Chippenham Town has always been very close to my heart. It all has to be approved by Parliament, so there is a chance that it will not go through. It would cost the Labour Party perhaps 20 seats, since many of their seats are far too small (as few as 35/4000 voters compared to the average of 72,000), and it is not helpful to the Lib Dems either. So it may well not go through. But if it does, I for one will be perfectly content.
Things change. It was good to have a surgery- for the first time ever, I think – in Purton on Saturday. Purton is in fact the third largest of my towns (in descending order, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett, Purton, Cricklade, Malmesbury, Box), so it is good to give the residents easy access. And seven or eight cases (some quite difficult) appeared.
Similarly, I was glad to speak up in Parliament about Salisbury- not my patch, but the outrageous Novichock attack by what now transpires to have been GRU agents (i.e. KGB) affects the whole of the County. The PM confirmed that the outstanding job done by the Wiltshire Constabulary would be refunded by the Home Office, and so would not be a burden on the local taxpayers; and that there was now no risk of any kind of contamination. Both things will be a relief to my North Wiltshire constituents, despite them being shielded from Salisbury by the Plain!
It is possible to be ‘local’ without being ‘parochial.’ The same may apply, by analogy to the many and various Brexit debates whirling around Westminster: ‘Chequers Terms’ ; ’WTO’; ‘EEA’ ;Canada ++++; It’s all fascinating to those in the know. But the simple reality is that we want to leave the EU as currently constituted, but then return to something not unlike the ‘Common Market’, which after all, is what the Nation voted for back in 1975.
I feel confident that if we said to the Nation as a whole- Brexiteer and Remainer alike, leaving aside a few idealogues on either wing - that we are now seeking to rejoin ‘The Common Market’, then I think that most people would probably breathe a sigh of relief and say “Yes- that’s fine. That’s what we wanted all along.”!
So I shall start using the expression ‘Common Market’, and hope that others may follow. That might- just might- be the Elastoplast which would re-unite the country, and clearly express to the EU and the trading world alike what we are actually seeking. Its just words, but it may be just the words we need.