British Ex-Pats Alert :: Act Now Retain 15yr Voting Rule
PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE MEETS THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER 2011 – ON POLITICAL/CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM & TV DEBATE!!!
VOTES FOR EX-PATS
Dear Friends, Readers, contacts, Ex-pat Websites, Clubs & Associations, please help – this is an urgent call for your help and co-operation. Clubs & Associations, please circulate to your members. That is what BritsinCrete is doing here.
This communication originated with Anita Rieu-Sicart (Retired British Ex-pat) living in France. Anita writes:
As you know for quite a while a number of people, myself amongst them , have been campaigning to get the 15 year rule abolished by which expatriates living elsewhere other than in the UK, lose their right to vote after 15 years, despite as we have pointed OUT on numerous occasions, many such expatriates, pay taxes in the UK.
A new website came into being recently votes-for-expats.com and people have signed up in hundreds, adding their comments, a majority of them resenting Taxation without Representation, as well as making many other points, particularly ex-servicemen who have fought and served their country.
Now a Parliamentary Select Committee is meeting to debate this subject – however only as part of other matters – Thursday 13 October. The General Public has been invited to make submissions. YOU CAN HELP BY WRITING TO THEM! . And we have only been informed about this Select Committee hearing in the past day or so, we need your help.
I and others, Brian Cave of Pensioners Debout blog and website, Graham Richards, who has campaigned for compensation for investors in the Equity pension scandal, Sylvia Moore of International Labour, Christopher Chantry of the votes-for-expats website. etc. have all made submissions. My submission which is unfortunately rather lengthy, you can find below.
I would urge you please if you value your votes, and want to vote, and look after your pension, and what happens to the future of the UK. Your children, grandchildren and their futures, please support this initiative and write in to the committee.
As one contact pointed out to me, a couple retired from the Met Police, the index linking relating to their pension may well be changed, as far as they can see for the worse, shortly they will lose their right to vote. This might also be the case concerning your pension. WITHOUT A VOTE YOU HAVE NO SAY.
And it is not just pensions that may be affected by present and future legislation - how do you feel about being regarded, as Non Resident, and therefore requiring a special Non-Resident’s pass to enter the UK. Think about it. Without a vote you can do nothing.
The list of the Select Committee is attached herewith, but are also listed below so that you can cut-and-paste them into your email.
Nick Clegg’s address has been added as he seems to have opinions on the subject, possibly not favourable, so perhaps it would be wise to supply him with your comments.
DO PLEASE ACT NOW – THIS MIGHT BE THE ONLY CHANCE FOR US TO GET A HEARING, AND MAKE OUR FEELINGS KNOWN.
By all means cut-and paste anything you wish from my submission or from the votes for ex-pats website, or any other information, I will try and include in this mail. I know not everyone is a writer. But do not hesitate to make your feelings known. As ex-serviceman Bosworth on the votes for ex-pats website points out, barely 50% of the electorate voted last time. Isn’t it time they valued the votes of the electorate, and gave us our votes back. You pay taxes and have paid into and worked for the system and country all your life, as most of us have, you are entitled!
I apologise for the length of this missive, but it is important. Please act now.
Anita Rieu-Sicart (Retired British Ex-pat)
VAR VILLAGE VOICE
The Debate is going to be televised, however via the Internet .
(NOT NOTE BBC Parliament!)
So you can watch the proceedings.
The televizing of the Select Committee is:
at 10.00 a.m UK TIME -
11.00 a.m. Continental time,
12noon Greek time)
on UK Parliament TV (not BBC Parliament Channel)
The link is:-
You can at about 2 minutes before the broadcast starts link via your PC and go to the TODAY item and then to the bottom right section of the four compartments which appear (COMMITTEES) click on the appropriate
"Political and Constitutional Reform slot at 10.00 a.m. UK time" A live video will appear of the procedures.
Send an e-mail of complaint to:
The Cabinet office at:
The Minister (Mark Harper) for Constitutional Reform, who will be presenting his case to the Select Committee
Send a Complaint e-mail to Select Committee members
For your background information.
The Chairman of the Select Committee, wrote this:
Letter from Graham Allen MP, Chair, Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
Thank you for your letter regarding the time limit on expatriates’ eligibility to vote in UK General Elections. I understand from the number of people who have written to me on this issue that it is an issue of some concern to British citizens living abroad.
The Committee is currently examining the Government’s draft legislation on individual electoral registration, and we are now nearing the end of our inquiry.
The Government has not proposed changing the 15-year time limit on expatriates voting in UK elections. This is something individual Members of the Committee may well want to raise with the Minister when he comes before the Committee on Thursday.
It will be a matter for the Committee as a whole whether to make any recommendation relating to the time limit when we consider our final report later in the year.
I will circulate your submission to the other members of the Committee for consideration on Thursday. Thank you once again for writing to me.
- VOTES FOR EX-PATS- EX-PATS EQUAL EXPORTS
- WHO AM I? WHO DO I/WE REPRESENT
- DEMOCRACY & THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR LIBYANS! BUT NOT FOR BRITISH BORN CITIZENS? IS THIS FAIR? IS IT LOGICAL? IS IT DEMOCRATIC ?
- SOLDIERS OF THE QUEEN
- NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
- PARLIAMENTARY REFORM
EX-PATS EQUAL EXPORTS
At a time when the UK finds itself mired in the direst economic straits for several generations - Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, is quoted as saying the worst since the 30’s! - are you really prepared to kick in the teeth the very people who can help the UK climb out of recession?
British Expats, have travelled the world over and brought home the goods, the trade, the connections – they built Empire. From the Nabobs, who travelled to India in the 17c to the computer whizzes/ geeks/ engineers/ agronomists/ bankers/ accountants/ you name it, who since then and still now travel to Dubai, Hong Kong, Brazil and everywhere else, they have worked for their country, and brought home the goods. They not only benefited themselves they benefited their country,
The majority of them spent their lives abroad, they sent their children ‘home’ to be educated, ‘home’ of course being the home country, the UK. They still do, and have done for the past few centuries, and yet now how many thousands are being penalized by losing their right to vote, and vote for their children’s and grand children’s future? Some of them have children serving in the UK armed forces, should they not have a right to vote?
And yet when convenient, who gets called upon to form the Bulwark of support for British Trade Missions, trade initiatives abroad, when the UK is trying to sell its industry, its technology, its know-how – guess who – the resident Ex-pats, who know the territory, know opportunities, who know the potential for exports, and exchanges. They have the local knowledge, the contacts, a great deal of the expertise needed, and yet they are penalized for living abroad by having their right to vote taken away.
In the 60’s I worked for a large petro-chemical engineering company, CJB, as a PRO. I got sent out to Algeria, subsequently Romania, Poland and Russia, on sales initiatives.
In Algeria, the company had secured a very large pipeline contract against severe competition, particularly French and American. As the result of that one contract the American monopoly of overland pipeline construction was broken (they still have the monopoly of underwater pipeline construction, namely the company Brown & Root) and CJB subsequently secured the major share of building North Sea Gas pipelines. CJB then became a viable company for the building of such pipe lines, hence the interest from Poland & Russia. The COI translated the film we made of the Algerian pipeline contract into 26 languages and sent them out worldwide.
On my visits abroad I met with local expats, who tended at that time to scoff at FCO briefings, and the scanty knowledge of local business conditions displayed by FCO officials.
This changed substantially. I later in the 70’s worked for over 5 years in the Press section of the British Embassy in Paris. At the beginning there was this very wide gulf between what was considered genuine and necessary development of benevolent trade links, co-operation, as compared to strictly Commercial links. Commerce even then seemed to be a dirty word. Gradually that changed, and the Commercial Departments of the Embassies widened their links with commerce and industry in every direction.
A forerunner in this was the then Paris Ambassadress, Greek born Lady Henderson who organized a very successful Fashion show at the British Embassy, highlighting the genius of British designers, such as Sandra Rhodes and others – positively coals to Newcastle.. Financial whizzes in the city finally woke up to the fact that Fashion , ie ’ladies frocks’ represented a billion pound/dollar industry.
So when it comes to organizing Trade Missions, and selling UK businesses abroad, it is not just Prince Andrew as the figure head, who helps sells the UK, it is more than likely UK ex-pats on the ground, who are doing the business, getting the contracts, selling UK knowhow , and bringing home the bacon to the UK, and UK manufacturing industries. These are the expats working in Dubai, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, you name it, representing, and working for British banks, Institutions, companies worldwide. One such is Mr. Preston, long time resident in Spain, who is presently petitioning the High Court to get his right to vote restored.
So why on earth are these ex-pats being penalised?
I know many who have retired here in this region of France, they subscribe to the monthly magazine I publish. Having spent all their working lives - more often than not in tropical climates - Hong Kong, Singapore, Kenya, etc, they cannot now face the rigours of the UK climate. But they have savings in the UK, investments, and have supported the UK all their lives.
You can read their increasingly disgruntled and furious comments on the website, Votes-for-Ex-pats.
WHO AM I WHO DO I / WE REPRESENT
I am a UK retiree who settled in the French countryside just over 20 years ago, for economic (I could not afford to live in the UK on a pension!) and climatic reasons, I subsequently started a newsletter called VAR VILLAGE VOICE, which now circulates to hundreds of British expats residing in the Var, the Department next to the Alpes Maritime.
I have written several articles on the subject of Votes for Expats, the latest of which was published by the DAILY TELEGRAPH recently, as a result was circulated worldwide, and helped create a bounce in the sign ups to the Votes-for Expats website.
I know many of my readers, I know where they come from, what they used to do. Thanks now to modern technology, the Internet, we are now in touch with each other constantly. As I am in touch with numerous other Expat websites, and organisations, lobbying groups, such as Brian Cave’s Pensioners Debout Blog (10,000 and more!) and websites, here in France, in Spain, Denmark and elsewhere. Between us we can muster some several thousands of email contacts, virtually world wide.
These readers, their friends, contacts, have all worked and paid in to the UK all their working lives, paid in tax, for health, and everything else. Why should they lose their right to vote, because in their declining years they decide to live elsewhere?
For example, In the next village to where I live one couple are very concerned about their pensions, they are both retired from the Met, both were Royal Protection Officers, they have served their time and retired elsewhere, very likely, like me, for economic reasons. They are now after over ten years here, increasingly concerned as to the rate of tax they are being asked to pay on their pensions. And very shortly they lose their right to vote.
British residents here were civil servants, teachers, they paid their taxes, they educated their children, they paid their dues Is this fair. They paid in? And yet they lose their right to vote on what happens, tax wise and in every other area. How can you possibly justify this?
Actually by leaving the UK, as I did, they and other residents here, liberated much needed housing stock, for an extremely over-populated UK.
DEMOCRACY & THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR LIBYANS! BUT NOT FOR BRITISH BORN CITIZENS? IS THIS FAIR? IS IT LOGICAL? IS IT DEMOCRATIC?
Don’t you find it utterly hypocritical, and possibly totally cynical, for Prime Minister David Cameron - to nail his colours to the mast at the UN, appealing for UN support for beleaguered peoples in the Arab belt of North Africa and elsewhere, striving to achieve democracy and the right to vote, when at the same time his Government is denying this same right to vote to British citizens, who have done their utmost for their country, and paid in to all the UK systems. Don’t you find this utterly contemptible and repellant?
What next? Will the next section of the population to lose their vote be those who have not exercised their right to vote for example for the past three years, or any other section of the population, for whatever pretext, or manufactured reason, just like in a Banana Republic or any other system of dictatorship.
Right now some twenty-nine of thirty-three council of Europe member states allow non-resident citizens to vote. Globally, more than 110 states grant it, including Botswana, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Mali, Mexico and the United States. But not the UK?
The risible weasel reason supplied by some Sub Committee for limiting the right to vote was “ on each time it considered the issue Parliament has accepted the view that generally, over time, a person's connection with the UK is likely to diminish if they are living permanently abroad.”
A statement directly contradicted, by the FCO, a Government Department far more familiar with UK citizens resident world wide- who stated: ”We recognise the affinity British nationals overseas have with the UK as demonstrated by their strong desire to retain a British passport, either as a mono or dual national.”
Precisely as the UK is holding itself up as a model Democracy, it is at the same time revoking the right to vote to a minority of British born hard working citizens .
Not so long ago, the previous Labour administration made it possible for several thousand Polish citizens, resident and working in the UK, to vote in their home General Election, by setting up 62 polling stations all round the UK.
And yet it cannot make that possible for all its own citizens?
Virtually no other European country strips its citizens of their right to vote, the over 300,000 or so French citizens now living and working in the UK have their own parliamentary representatives. Italy quite often I am told, pays for its citizens to come home to vote. But somehow our government can’t make it possible for all its citizens to vote in UK General Elections, is it parsimony? or just arrogance, and ignorance?
Now Portugal makes it possible for its citizens to vote at their Consulates. Why can’t we vote at our Consulates? Or have postal votes. Too much hard work for over paid Civil Servants, with gold plated pensions paid for in part, by thousands of ex-pat taxpayers?
Yet in this toppsy turvy world, economic migrants with little to offer the UK, are fast tracked to citizenship and the right to vote.
As the recently published report on immigration – commissioned but suppressed by the previous Labour administration revealed, the majority of these economic migrants have low skills and came to the UK to benefit from the Welfare culture, and the UK’s welfare system.
To quote the DAILY TELEGRAPH article on this report – vid The Socio-Economic Integration of Migrants, claimed “Immigrants in the UK exhibit lower employment rates than natives....Immigrants are on average less likely than natives to engage in any form of civic participation.”
And: “”The documents also contain revelations that immigrants from all countries into Britain are more likely to be out of work than the native population”” And yet, contributing nothing to the UK and draining its resources, they are given the right to vote?
SOLDIERS OF THE QUEEN
And to add final insult to injury, a WWII veteran, Harry Shindler, has to petition the European Court to get his right to vote in the UK restored, just because he retired to Italy to be with his grandchildren. How cockeyed is that?
How can you possibly justify it?
Just like J. A. Bosworth, and many others, who served in the UK Armed Forces, but now live elsewhere. Why should he or they lose their right to vote. They served their country. Read the relevant comments on the Votes for Expats website. There are loads there.
NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
And as you read the comments on the Votes for ex-pats website, that keep on rolling in, the majority of them are furious that despite paying their taxes, income tax, you name it, in the UK, they are being deprived of their right to vote.
One can literally note the ever increasing swell of discontent from ex-pats on this website, a furious underbelly of resentment.
Supposing, just supposing, that ex-pats world wide, who could move their pensions, their investments in the UK, decided to do just that. How would the UK Treasury Department react, and regard that flight of funds?
Think about it.
I have spoken to many readers, residents in this area, and unfortunately many of them now express great apathy regarding voting in the UK. They express disgust for what they now regard as an inherently flawed system, a system in which they previously believed, but which they now find corrupt.
How long did it take for MP’s to grasp the nettle and reform the expenses system? Only when forced to by the DAILY TELEGRAPH exposure of the fraudulent practices. Since then it has taken at least two years to bring ex-MP Margaret Moran (Luton South) before the courts. One justice for MPs ,or ex-MPs, and another for everybody else?
The UK Parliamentary system urgently needs to rebuild trust and belief amongst its voters, and disenfranchising one section of its legitimate voters, British citizens who worked for the system and believed in it , can only be regarded as cynicism of the highest order.
You need these voters to try and restore the UK parliament to a truly, transparently democratic system. You need these voters to help you build a stable government not reliant on a makeshift, and not wholly workable coalition.
VAR VILLAGE VOICE
Monthly Subscription Print & Internet magazine about the Var
BritsinCrete.Net urges its network of ex-pat British friends to make last minute representation quickly to the Select Committee to keep the 15 year voting rule and even better ask for it to be abolished. Once a British citizen, always a citizen who should have the right to vote in parliamentary elections, wherever the citizen is located in the world. votes for ex-pats.com