Let’s do better in the name game

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From: J Robin Hughes

Towngate Road, Sheffield S35

The Boundary Commission wants our views on their proposals for new Westminster constituencies. The politicians will squabble as their power-bases evaporate - what a pity if they had to turn to highly-paid consultancy work instead of representing us! - but I have a much graver concern: the proposed names are so deadly dull. Rather than capture the city’s varied character with names of local relevance, we are to be dismissed as mere compass-points.

We can do better. Instead of South East, let’s revive the name Park: much of Sheffield’s mediaeval deer park lay in this area. Northwest could be Sheffield Peak - a third of the city is in the Peak District national park, and almost all of this is in this proposed replacement for Hallam - or we can pursue the hunting theme by commemorating Rivelin Chase. Or why not keep the name of Hallam? It doesn’t mean that we have to keep the present MP.

I admit that Central is central, but how much more poetic would be Five Rivers: all five are included, four of them as boundaries. Let the East be Attercliffe again, and for South West, we must have Beauchief, if only for the pleasure of politicians’ and pundits’ pronunciation faux-pas.

Or perhaps, given one local MP’s key role in a government hell-bent on privatising health and demolishing welfare, we should name them for Beveridge’s five “Giant Evils” which we’ll soon be seeing so much more of: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease. Will the parties be campaigning in Ignorance? How large will be the majority in Want? Who will serve as the honourable member for Sheffield Squalor?