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A Cabinet of Clout

November 3, 2010

In the days following the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, claimed that Wales had got a raw deal because of a “lack of clout around the cabinet table”.

He particularly accused the Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, of not standing up for the Welsh.

While Carwyn Jones thought that this was due to the belief that the Welsh would be more accepting of their fate than the Scottish or Northern Irish, I wondered what sort of geographic make-up the cabinet currently had and if it influence their decisions.

What I’ve done here is map the constituencies of the current cabinet members, based on Google’s Election 2010 maps, to see if anything could be drawn from it.

The blue placemarks are obviously the Conservatives, while the yellow ones are the Liberal Democrats.

I’m aware that what I’ve done here is superficial, since it gives us no idea of the type of constituencies that the cabinet represents (for example if they are prosperous or not)

That said, I think it can tell us something, particularly in regard to the First Minister’s comments.

This is because, in my view, constituency MPs are more likely to fight for their own constituents.

Firstly, because I would imagine it makes their lives easier on a week-to-week basis, but also because their constituents keep them in their job.

What did surprise me was the geographic spread.

My prejudices had forced me to believe that the MPs would be concentrated in the far south of England, and while this is true to an extent, it isn’t overwhelmingly the case.

Carwyn Jones is right, though: there is not a single MP from a Welsh constituency around the cabinet table.

Scotland is represented by Michael Moore (this one, not that one) and the rather isolated Danny Alexander (both Lib Dems).

I think the results are interesting, but ultimately, have a fiddle with the map and draw your own conclusions.

Damian Fantato

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