Posts Tagged David Cameron

What is the real reason behind expats being allowed to vote for life?

Imagine you are a member of a tenants association in London. For years you turn up at the tenants association meetings to elect the committee and occasionally speak from the floor. A few years later you move to Manchester and join another tenants association. Having gained voting rights for the tenants association in Manchester, you then write to the tenants association in London, requesting the right to vote there as well.

In your letter you explain that you still feel invested in the area – no, you have no intention of moving back to the area, you are unaware of any developments or news (other than what you read in the Murdoch press), but as your neighbours still live there you therefore have an investment.

When you get a letter back explaining that as you no-longer pay live on the housing estate or pay rent there, you have grounds to be there. The area has changed since you moved, and part of the reason you left was you didn’t like the area anyway.

Yes you are probably wondering how many people have has tenants associations meetings now, but the point is this – why are expatriates being granted the right to vote indefinitely?

According to the Votes for Life Bill (see page 96-97) the advantages of the bill are:

End the disenfranchisement after an arbitrary 15 years of British citizens living abroad, enabling them to continue voting in UK Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections.

I have issues with this statement – the use of the word ‘arbitrary’ for a start, given the various definitions, it could be considered a weasel word. Also if someone lives in another EU country they have the right to vote in EU parliamentary elections – in their country of residence.
Make it easier for overseas electors to cast their votes in time to be counted.

Raising the limit from 15 years to life, does not seem to tie in with issues with voting via the post.

Encourage larger numbers of British citizens living abroad to register to vote in UK elections.

Yes, but why?

The real reason behind this, is sadly obvious – during Michael Howard’s leadership, Nigel Evans was giving the task of galvanising expats to vote Conservative. This would seem to suggest that the Conservatives are hoping to build on their impressive 24% share of the electorate.

Another question I would like to ask is – how is your constituency determined? Do you vote in the constituency that you no longer live, even if that constituency has been superseded by another one.

As far as I’m aware no white paper has been released – as time goes on we may get more information – so far though there is little to suggest this nothing other than a powergrab.

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More coalitions

I do not support the Conservative Party or Liberal Democrats. I was however a supporter of the concept of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition.

1. Restraints

Within days of forming the first Conservative-only government since 1992, Osborne unveiled laws which clearly reversed every concession won by the Liberal Democrats. A junior party in a coalition is effectively the internal opposition.

2. Democratic mandate

The collective share of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative vote was more than a majority.

3. Coalitions tend to be more ground breaking

A referendum on the voting system (Cameron), negotiating with the IRA (Major), a referendum on a Scottish parliament (Callaghan). All these things were achieved when the governing party were dependant on a smaller party. Smaller parties tend to support issues which the main parties ignore

How to bring about coalitions?

Formal coalitions are unusual under our voting system – Cameron led the only coalition government since Churchill in 1945, but confidence and supply arrangments happen more frequently (Callaghan and Major both relied on these). With a negligible majority of 12, the odds of the Conservative party surviving for five years, without turning to another party for support are slim to none. In order to lose that majority he needs to lose a mere 7 MPs via by-elections or defections (Major himself lost a majority of 21 MPs in four years). By 2020, whoever leads the Conservative Party will (in all probability) have a minority government. If Corbyn wins the leadership election, they don’t need to worry. If however someone more electable wins (and last time I checked David Cameron’s cat wasn’t a candidate), the prospect of a hung parliament is great. I personally hope that whoever forms the coalition introduces a proper voting system other than first-past-the-post or AV.

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