surplus to political requirements

p>Our American comrades will be familiar with this kind of thing:

As many as 10 million voters, predominantly poor, young or black, and more liable to vote Labour, could fall off the electoral register under government plans, the Electoral Commission, electoral administrators and psephologists warned .

The changes will pave the way for a further review of constituency boundaries that will reduce the number of safe Labour seats before the 2020 election.

It's a two stage thing. First shift voting registrations from households to individuals and remove the legal obligation to report. Then measure constituencies by individual registrations rather than numbers eligible to vote, thus cutting down the number of urban constituencies, and therefore Labour constituencies. And the man driving this through is Mr Fair Votes himself, Nick Clegg.

It should be said that if core Labour voters are demotivated then that has a lot to do with the Labour Party: the numbers voting between 1997 and 2001 dropped by around 13%, I think. This is where new Labour's they've got nowhere else to go attitude to their voters eventually got them. many went anyway, and now we have a rightwing government trying to systematically discourage them from coming back.

I'm also not at all sure that if this goes through that it won't rebound on the Tories, who have their own secular decline in voters to worry about. Party loyalties are so generally attenuated these days that it makes no sense for any government to discourage voting.