Posts Tagged expats
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 Do you vote in the constituency that you no longer live, even if that constituency has been superseded by another one.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.