Democracy and the Briton in France and Europe

Yesterday I introduced a short topic which fell on stony ground - I should have expanded. Here I do just that.

European Democracy and the British Citizen.

In 1960 I travelled across Germany to Warsaw. Germany was split in two. My memories go back to 1936 and I know exactly where I was and why I was there on the first day of World War II. A curious evacuee in the dungeons of Deal Castle.

These experiences and more, including fifteen years residency in France, endear me to a united Europe. The European Union is an institution of hope. But still after fifty years from its conception it is still uncertainly stuck together. The glue which binds the nations of Europe has an uncertain strength and we who live in this uncertain melange of Nations, which could easily melt apart again need to demonstrate how we can strengthen the glue. The glue is DEMOCRACY.

Among the leading Nations within Europe, the Nation which is most deficient in the provision of its democratic glue is the United Kingdom.

All the Britons in France at some time or another will have fears and needs concerning their position as Britons. If Britain pulls out of the European Union then they will no longer be Citizens of Europe, and the consequences could be severe. The Britons in Europe have no official means whatsoever of transmitting their views to the Government in Westminster neither for their status as Britons in Europe, nor their cares for their families still residing in the UK, nor for their own futures were they be minded to eventually return to Britain, nor for their feelings towards the behaviour of the British Government on the World Stage.

For all these reasons the Britons in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Holland …..and everywhere …must have a voice in Britain. In Europe, this glue of Democracy is the glue to bind the nations.

Just as the democratic glue of the peoples who are French, Germans, Italians, .. and on and on .. throughout Europe – including those in Britain- representing their nations is that same glue binding us as Europeans. The British glue does not exist. British democratic glue needs indeed to spread across the World. But there are those who oppose this spread. Noticeably within the British Parliament itself.

We must be careful with our language. We must distinguish between ‘country’ and ‘nation’. The ‘country’ is where you live. The ‘nation’ is that ‘soil’ wherein the roots of your culture are set.

In recent months there have been debates in the British Parliament, especially in the House of Lords on the ‘Representation of the British Citizens Abroad’. Alistair, Lord Lexden has been empowered to set up an all-party committee to examine this matter.

A group called ‘The British Community’ in Paris has been promoting a similar concept.

The latter has a web-site

This latter site enables anyone to put comments.

Lord Lexden’s committee needs the support of Britons everywhere. The forces against democracy for Britons Abroad are strong. Some citizens abroad make shallow remarks in forums and devalue the concept. Within Parliament Nick Clegg considers that British democracy for Citizens Abroad is ‘not appropriate’ and implies that Britons should take out the nationality of their country of residence. This inane idea makes a travesty of the concept of the fluidity of peoples across Europe. And there are many other politicians in parliament do not want to listen to the Citizen Abroad.

The power of Democracy to stick lies in the hands of the Citizen. If they do not desire it nor use it– although they need it! – it will fail and Britain in Europe will fail. In Europe the failure to implement Democracy could well lead to a break up of this fledgling unique concept.

We all should demand ‘Representation’. Demand the power to spread the ‘democratic glue of Europe’.

You can add your little influence on the parliamentary committee and give yourself a feeling of having done something good by adding your name in support of the following petition

Please support.

Brian Cave

Your final paragraph says it all. It's my point. I live here, why vote somewhere else when I have no connection with their local matters, probably little with their more national matters, probably have no idea who or what any of the candidates are, etc? No doubt somebody will point out on latter issues, especially candidates, that I probably don't know them either - BUT I can find out and would in order to decide where to put my cross.

This 'inspired' me to look and now see that I run out next February. Now to do my homework. I knew I should have accepted some of the offers en route over the years :-)

Chin up Brian. I’ve a dodgy ticker too but I’ll get value out of my next passport if it kills me :slight_smile:

Gets close to the Scots business there cate. If it's cheaper in taiwan, fine by me. Now that I have a dicky ticker I am rather dubious about paying full price for a passport ;-)

It is actually a serious issue. It would actually be cheaper for me to take my family's Swiss nationality than to have a new UK passport issued in a couple of years time. If the UK gets any more negative about 'Europe' I might just do it.

No, not from a shop, Norman, préfécture as ever but so many procedures have to be accompanied by the appropriate fee - usually in timbres fiscaux which you can buy from most tabac or trésor public. As for the old carte de sejour, had one back in 2001 but haven't had one since, proof of identity here in France but that's about it ;-)

Thanks Andrew, The carte d'identité would probably suit me if the Nationality thing gets too difficult. I don't envisage any long-distance trips, although there is some talk of me having to go to the USA for a book launch there, and I understand that they are even tougher than anyone on letting people into the country, so I doubt it would work there?

I have an old Carte de Sejour, could that be used? Never sure about these things. Can you get a first carte d'identité from a shop? I presume its the old Prefecture that would need to do this isn't it?

25€ for a replacement carte d'identité, the first one being free ;-)

for the record, a french passport costs 86€ in timbres fiscaux, a carte d'identité is 25€ - I sell timbres fiscaux and timbres amendes plus I'm linked direct to Rennes so you can pay your speeding fines direct in my shop ;-)

don't know where my Dad was born either which makes it difficult applying for duplicate birth certificates :-(

Thanks for the link Tracey, I know where my Mother was born, but haven't the faintest idea about my father. Just a name on my birth certificate.

I was told or read somewhere that it cost £30 each plus translation. When I saw the English passport renewal costs around £130 I nearly fell over. Something that really should be yours by right, and part of your Nationality, shouldn't be part of Government rip-off, should it?

I know this applies elsewhere so it is not a pop at just the UK.

Thanks Tracy, but I have no idea where either was born. It was Scotland, then errr?

You can do it here - costs about a tenner per certificate. Apparently it's about 80€ for the language certificate, doesn't look too difficult - it's multiple guess!

Their birth certificates! If I knew where the fees would bankrupt me knowing how much they cost plus the translation... I'll plump for Swiss come the need.

Is National the same as Regional?? Is not Scotland, Wales, Basque, Flemish and all these other fuss the real breading-ground for exactly those FNs, UNKIPs, NPDs, Lega Nords? It is how we counter these silly people who want to sell us something old for new. Exactly out of this brew the NAZI regime was created. And it is as Goethe's Faust says: "now I can't get rid of the ghost I was calling upon".

I can easily live with that when a "alibaba" is giving his views about sharia in Belgium because I've been grown to the absurd. And I think no one with a clear mind is taking such fantasies serious. But as you also know, it where National decisions to ruin our wealth in remote sands of a, how Blair and Bush said, "wider middle east", in 2003. Trillions where peed into the sand! And still are. France today is paying for the back-clash of our spleen helping Salafist- & Wahhabi Rag Tag Gangs to take over from our self bread dictators like Saddam & Qaddafi. Listening to the news right now on BBC WS, this blindness continuous with naive desire to help again "alibabas" in Syria. And then we also want to go to Iran. Sorry, but that's just intellectually bankrupt.

So its Regional, there where you live, that is changing matters. Global politics are machiavellistic, or as Bismark said "Realpolitik". They are certainly not "national" anymore (lost control to Brussels), with all good intentions, they are kind of "corporate consensus".

Funny how this all gets focussed in the Nationalistic basket case that is Belgium isn't it? Flemish, Walloon and German in a country that takes two hours to drive across! Mind you I have been told they have 300 types of beer, but I think I only managed to get through half of them when I lived there. Support your local industries say I!!

Being a 'bit daft' really doesn't apply though does it? Like me being told I must attend a Marketing Course (costing FF2,000) to try and sell paintings in a market, whilst I was a published Marketing Prof. in a leading Business School in Belgium.

If it's 'in the book' that's there is to it, I fear. If the need arises for Father and Mother's Birth Certificates comes up, that could be a problem, as I don't even know where to start looking for them, and for crying out loud I'm now 73, so what on earth difference could it make? But then again I've already answered my own question haven't I?

We will see. If it all gets too hard I will abandon as I don't have the years to waste on total idiocies. I can just about cope with partial ones.

Norman, you mention the tourist guides and they are indeed the barometer for what is regional on the agendas, to make a difference or simply to compete with other regions which then is good to maintain its own heritage.

This why I think, as more as national governments are loosing power to Brussels stronger the regions will influence this "political engineering" in Brussels, - passive resistance or civil disobedience simply the pattern of Asterix & Obelix;-) In the end it will be a "European Union of Regions". This is why the option to vote in the country you live is so important.

Shirley its actually simple & I've understood you, it was just your comparison of USA vs EU. This is impossible! They are based on totally different concepts.

Also, since when are governments giving a dam about retirements? Don't they see it as an obligation that you pay your tax? Their goal is to be reelected, this in between is political engineering. par example: When they are long enough in power they must produce such obscure patchworks like giving handouts for heating that can be revoked.

It is a good idea coming to the point to not believe patriotism is a value! So this inevitably leads to realization that individual self-provisioning / precautions are the more reliable solution. Patriotism gave only birth to the Nazi movement and we all know we can not eat tanks and other war toys when we reach a certain age.

Afterall, how I've understood, you came to France precisely because of the gambling of past governments did to your contributions as they thought to "liberate" remote places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now they fiddle in Mali like chasing their own shadow. This is when we become victims of our own propaganda and these are the places where your retirement is being buried in the sand. The payouts of a retirement is nothing else then the balance of how the past has been managed.

Ironically there is no indication that national voting rights in another country will change anything. This is why local voting rights evidently are making a change. My major here cares about what is happens here not what is in Brussels. You will see in the coming years when national governments loosing more and more of their powers to bean counting administrators in Brussels. Face it: With nagging any government, of whatever political color, is living at ease once it is elected. And if problems are mounting at home they are having their occasional "testosterone outputs" and begin playing liberation rambos. They act like Brussels does, wasting your contribution for some "higher" reasons ;-)

Still, coming back to your comparison USA vs EU: If an education system is quasi commercialized, because trillions are wasted in defense industries and wars for no reasons, if half the people in some cities neither have a health insurance nor retirements to allow them a relatively decent survival something is fundamentally wrong. There can't be good in falsity, so the EU does not need to copy this nonsense it make its very own...

..and Garibaldi is not just a biscuit, Italy is but in infancy. Corsica, not for nothing their 'terrorists' or resistance fighters as they call them have NEVER given up agitating for independence. They just happen to have attracted press attention a few months ago AS IF it was a new wave. I remember well enough when nothing in Scotland was in Gaelic on official documents and even now it is perhaps 15 to 20% of them only. Nationhood is fragile, the language question to easy to justify but impossible to rationalise and people do not like imposition ever. I think our likes are too old ever to see it, but soon there is going to be a very unhappy generation and all the houses of cards will go down. I have no idea whether it will be for good or bad, but like any good old socialist I will simply say that capitalism constructs its own enemies and when the time is right it is they who tear down the citadels of power and wealth that exploit them.