Talk:Rotten and pocket boroughs
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Do you think the article needs the (probably correct) detail of the official country names when 'Great Britain and Ireland' would do? Pt1234 22:01, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
- Yikes, that monstrosity of an opening sentence brought me here to the chat page as well. I've machetted it back down to something more reasonable underestandable.Dxco 18:22, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Gerrymandering is not the equivalent of a rotten borough as a rotten borough is a place or area and gerrymandering is an act or process. --Daniel C. Boyer
Rotten Borough is treated as a proper noun as it is the formal title of a political phenomenon up to the 19th century in Britain and Ireland, hence the capitalisation. FearÉIREANN 03:16, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
says who? LirQ
- The revision is much better. --Daniel C. Boyer 17:19, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Political scientists, historians, A Parliamentary History of Ireland (1904), The Irish Constitutional Tradition (1990s), A Parliamentary History of the English Realm (1897), Government and Governance in the late Eighteenth Century (1948), The Evolutionary Democracy: Britain and the birth of parliamentarianism (1984), From Divine Right of Kings to Popular Sovereignty: Democracy in Britain from William and Mary (1988) etc etc. FearÉIREANN 03:48, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
This wasn't moved right. The whole history is at Rotten borough.
- I don't know how that happened or how to fix it. Any suggestions? FearÉIREANN 03:48, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
- fixed now, don't know who by. Martin 17:41, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
from Oliver's talk
Hi Oliver, Rotten Borough is treated as a proper noun and fully capitalised because it refers to a specific term, not a generic concept. It is the same as President of the United States, a specific term with a narrow, specific meaning and definition, hence the capitalisation. lol FearÉIREANN 03:18, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
- Hello, James. A proper noun is a term which refers to a specific individual rather than one which can refer to any of a set of individuals (a common noun). Since there have been lots of "rotten boroughs", the term is most definitely a common noun, not a proper one. Furthermore, the term can be found in the New Oxford Dictionary of English, and that publication does not capitalise it. The Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition) has separate articles on "rotten borough" and "pocket borough" (so perhaps they are different after all...) and doesn't capitalise either term. The complete scripts of Blackadder also mentions rotten boroughs (see Blackadder the Third: the episode entitled "Dish and Dishonesty"), and that publication doesn't capitalise the term, either. :) And so on and so forth. So any objections to my moving it back...? And please, do not move pages by copying and pasting the text. Use the "Move this page" feature. I'm sure you must be used to the procedure by now. Copying and pasting the text chops up the edit history, which isn't very nice. -- Oliver P. 04:12, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I agree, it shouldn't be capitalized. LirQ
- I'm pleased to hear that you're on my side, Lir. ;) -- Oliver P. 04:16, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Likewise, Lir ; ) LirQ
Actually a proper noun refers to a specific name, concept or term, not just an individual. One can talk about rotten boroughs (plural) just as one can talk about presidents of the United States, queens of England, etc, but when used singularly in a definition all are treated as a proper noun, hence President of the United States, not president of the United States, etc. Wiki in article titles uses the singular, not the plural. So while one can talk generically about proportional representation, the specific system is Proportional Representation (PR, never pr). Ditto with Rotten Borough. It is definition-specific and singular and so capitalised. Only when pluralised and genericalised is it lowercased, and wiki doesn't 'do' plural titles. So yes as to any objections. Re- the move, I didn't cut and paste (I have never done that on wiki, ever!) I used the move command. I have no idea why the history didn't move also but that wasn't my doing; I used the standard method, the 'move' command. PS: Glad to see another Blackadder fan! FearÉIREANN 04:45, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
- I cited three references for my usage. I'm sure I could drag out some more if I could be bothered. Can you provide any references for your usage, James? Or shall we just have a page-moving war? ;) -- Oliver P. 04:53, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
A Parliamentary History of Ireland (1904), The Irish Constitutional Tradition (1990s), A Parliamentary History of the English Realm (1897), Government and Governance in the late Eighteenth Century (1948), The Evolutionary Democracy: Britain and the birth of parliamentarianism (1984), From Divine Right of Kings to Popular Sovereignty: Democracy in Britain from William and Mary (1988), English Parliamentary Representation (2000), "Irish Rotten Boroughs" in History Ireland, The Lords: Power without Responsibility (1984), "Grattan's Parliament and the Boroughs" in History Ireland, The Sceptured Realm: England from Elizabeth to Elizabeth etc etc.
BTW you mucked up the move and now we have 2 talk pages!!! Did you cut and paste??? :-) FearÉIREANN 05:10, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
- The two talk pages occurred when the page was cut and paste moved to the Capitalised Version. I have fixed this. Don't thank me all at once. Martin 17:06, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
How can a colloquial have a formal technical capitalized version? LirQ
- It's not a technical capitalized version, Lir. It's a Technical Capitalised Version. ;) -- Oliver P. 04:53, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)
"In the 19th century measures began to be taken against such abuses of democracy, notably the Reform Act of 1832..."
Not precisely. One, democracy was not being abused, any more than treason can be committed by someone without a loyalty to breach; the statesmen of the day weren't even trying to be democratic in the first place, just to head off unrest. Two, it even swept away such pockets of democratic practice that had happened by accident, as anomalies; particularly in the West Country, some of the electorates had started out with wealthy voters but the vote had spread as entitlements were inherited without wealth (before reform regularised practice nationwide, criteria for the vote varied from place to place and hadn't always depended directly on wealth). PML.
Long list of political subdivisions
The long list of political subdivisions and their years of existence is irrelevant and takes up half of the intro paragraph, which is disproportionate. Were there ever any rotten boroughs in Scotland? Can we just say England, Wales, and Ireland? Or the British Isles? These are geographic areas, and people can then look up what the name of the political entity in control was at the appropriate time.
Linking the rotten electorates
I changed the links to the rotten boroughs to be the actual villages that the borough refers to. In some cases, these articles already refer to the village having been a rotten borough; generally, this information could (I think) be better added to their pages rather than a new page created.
There were some that I couldn't disambiguate:
- I am going to change the links back. The whole point of a red link is that it encourages users to write articles to fill them. We have just completed entries for all of the current seats in the House of Commons and in some cases the list of elected Members of Parliament stretches back some way. It is intended that all former seats in the House of Commons will have pages and as some of these boroughs have sent MPs to the commans right back to 1295 then it is right and proper that these MPs are listed on a page about the seat and not on a page about the village. Jooler 23:27, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
- Sorry I obviously didn't scroll down enough to notice any other changes, but there is no reason not to have the rotten boroughs abolished in 1832 on this page aswell as the page on the reform act. Jooler 06:28, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
- As a newcomer to this page, I'm going to stir the pot!!
- I didn't get to read Jooler's reasons for setting links to constituency articles, rather than to settlement ones before I'd "fixed" about half a dozen. I don't agree with Jooler's reasoning (sorry) as a global standard. A mass of red links is unhelpful to readers, particularly when most could be linked to an existing article and provide information. Have any of these rotten boroughs been linked to a constituency article, yet? A comment box inviting editors to write articles would achieve Jooler's intention.
- By the way, in one case, "Appleby-in-Westmoreland" was changed to just "Appleby". Having checked references, I think that the change is incorrect.
- Folks at 137 21:34, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
- A link to some obscure village that has little to do with the subject act hand is no more useful than a red link to the right article. I have restored the links, Check out the links to those constituency pages and you will see it is a work in progress. Jooler 10:26, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
The USA constitution required a 10-year census to be the basis of election districts. I would guess that avoiding rotten boroughs was the reason this was put it there, right? Maybe a section of this is justified
Disagree most strongly. This article is about a peculiarly british institution, its abuses and its abolition - American electoral politics were developed separately and in response to uniquely american situations and needs. A search in relevant articles on US govt/census/constitution/congressional districts &c. shows not hint of establishment of representational law in response to british inequities. Fanx (talk) 17:10, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Isn't the US Senate, which accords barely-populated Wyoming and Vermont the same representation as California and Texas, a modern equivalent to the rotten boroughs? 220.127.116.11 (talk) 04:25, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
- Simply put, no. The US Senate is constructed as a chamber to represent the states, with the House representing the people. Although Senators are now directly elected this is just the state, as a clearly defined entity and interest in its own right, choosing its representative that way rather than through the state legislature. (There might be a case that replacement Senators appointed by Governors are, however, rotten as they are the product of personal patronage.) The Senate has always been apportioned on the basis that each state gets an equal stage - there are no historic hangover seats.
- The real "rotten boroughs" in the US are the grossly gerrymandered House and state legislature seats, a practice that in most countries is rightly outlawed and condemned. Timrollpickering (talk) 20:46, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
US Senate followup
I had come to the talk page with the intention of bringing up the same analogy, imperfect though it may be. Does it make sense to mention the connection in the article. Yes, Tim, the "gerrymandering" related-article link does obliquely refer to this. KingAlanI (talk) 08:57, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
Here we have a classic case where punctuation shifts the meaning. What we have currently is: "MPs who were generally in favour of the boroughs claimed that they should be kept, as Britain had undergone periods of prosperity under the system." The meaning as it stands is that "Those MPs who were in favour of the boroughs thought they should be kept" (a tautological statement), with the clause after the comma serving as explanation. We need to fix the punctuation but we can do it in one of two ways.
If there were only some MPs who were in favour then we need to remove the comma, making the whole part of the sentence after 'claimed' into the explanation. In this case it would be better to rewrite for clarity. If however the majority of MPs were in favour then we need to add a comma after 'MPs'. Does anyone know which is the case? 18.104.22.168 (talk) 16:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
The current text refers to these boroughs as corrupt. While this may be technically true, it is also misleading, because (at least) the modern connotations are in the direction of bribery and nepotism. (True, they can be abused by corrupt politicians; however, corruption is not an inherent and unavoidable consequence.)
I suggest a corresponding clean-up.
Repeat in lead and History section
The sentence "Many such rotten boroughs were controlled by peers who gave the seats to their sons"... is repeated verbatim in the lead and the History section, though expanded on in the History section. Though I understand the purpose of the lead is to summarise, it seems to me this sentence is such a verbatim repeat (enough to catch my eye as such) that probably it should be shortened in the lead. However, I don't feel WP:BOLD enough to do it myself. (If there's no comment, I probably will, since a BRD is more likely than simply putting this here.) Si Trew (talk) 14:32, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
The most blatant case of a "Rotten Borough" was actually under water and had no inhabitants. I think it should be included. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 20:44, 16 February 2011 (UTC)