Expat Voting

I received this last night and invite everyone to make their views known to the Working Group.

From: Jonathan Blades <jonathan.r.blades@gmail.com>
Date: 18 June 2013 11:34
Subject: Working group on Overseas Voters


As you may or may not be aware, Lord Lexden and Lord Norton have put together a committee to examine overseas voting and ways to increase registration and participation. The committee would like to invite you to give oral evidence.

I apologise for the late notice but we do have a meeting tomorrow that has suddenly become available:

Wednesday, 19 June 3.30 - 4.30 [Committee Room 4, the palace of Westminster]

There would also be a meeting on Thursday, 27 June (most likely the same time and place)

If you would like to give oral evidence to aid the committee it will be gratefully appreciated. If you cannot attend but wish to contribute we will be accepting written evidence.

Please feel free to get in touch if you require any more information.

All the best,

Jonathan Blades

General Secretary to the Working group on Overseas Voters

Totally agree

I have pleasure in confiring that, further to the above, the next meeting for the Working group on Overseas Voters will now be held on Wednesday 3rd July at 3.30 PM (UK time) in Committee Room 4 at the Palace of Westminster. Evidence, as per above, should be mailed to Jonathan Blades (secretary to the group) jonathan.r.blades@gmail.com. I can also confirm that Jonathan has started to receive evidence.


Yes, understood and my comment was directed against any attempts and obscure ideas for changing laws European wide as the EC constitution is clear about voting in host countries. So, its really more a very internal UK issue which does not apply to most other citizens of EC member-states. What I also wanted to make clear is, if I want to live in another country I know about its regulations. If we Europeans would begin the process of changing the EC constitution now in the current climate, this would be really contra-productive.

You can always write to the Committee, the address is on Dick’s post, as we did.


I do not wish this thread to develop into an EU slanging match ! I merely want to point out to British citizens resident outside the UK that they can have an input to the decision process if they so choose.

An in/out referendum in the UK on EU membership will affect most British citizens and particularly pensioners, resident in EU countries to a greater or lesser extent. A vote in any such referendum is a democratic right.

Thank you Theo. I frequently get it 'in the neck' for saying pro-German things that I actually mean in a pro-European context that are covered by the Economist piece. We do not all need to be or become pro-Merkel to express these sentiments. I have spent many years of my early childhood and large chunks of my academic career in the German world, in the latter although on paper it was half of roughly 18 years in practice with the time I spent 'in the field' in Peru, plus work elsewhere I took on later on, the reality is that in sum total I have roughly 12 years there. However, the main point is that with the time I spent in Latin America, SE Asia, S and Central Asia, parts of Africa and E Europe I have developed a feeling of being a 'European' rather than feeling my feet belong on any particular part of this continent. In practical terms I am happy with where I am, therefore wish to be like the people I live amongst. My preference would be to have franchise where I live, not where my passport was issued. If I move to another country, I would then wish to be able to have my franchise move there too. The Economist piece clearly describes what I feel inside. What you are saying about UK governments Theo tends to sum up what I feel they are doing and should the public opinion against Europe become strong enough that any government feel justified in pulling the UK out, then that would be without my support. At that point in time I would seriously consider taking a Swiss address for the required amount of time, spending as much time there as required and taking that as a substitute, knowing that the new nationality would not be the same as that of an EU member state, but certainly of one that is as close as spitting and in Schengen anyway. The UK can paddle itself up the creek if it likes, but I am not going with it.

Jonathan I don't think either Theo or I pre-suppose Merkel knowing where Europe is going. What Theo was pointing out was the fact that German people saw themselves as part of the European continent rather than being simply citizens of a country on that land mass. The UK has far too many people who have no European vision whatsoever and are quick to describe the British Isles and Europe continental mainland as entirely different things. Unfortunately, the French are not much better and need a great deal of guidance away from their self-imagery as well.

Dick, you sub-cognitional bring it to the point when you write: "Should the UK decided to terminate the arrangement or pull out of the EU we will all be up the creek."
This situation would, however, only be a decision of "David of Arabia" and his government, - not a French decision. Unfortunately all recent UK governments could not decide whether they are 5th column of warmongers from overseas or an independent national government and a member of the EC. UK can not have it both ways. Somehow each of us has to integrate on the conditions he or she finds at the place where he or she chooses to live.
Furthermore, what injustice in the distribution of benefits from officials in relation to the private sector is in France, is in the UK the sheer unwillingness to bring the manipulative character of financial organizations in the UK under a fairer control.
The current issue of "The Economist" covers just about this topic, "the reluctant hegemon" and the reason for this reluctance is simple: Merkel can not prescribe tothe governments of France or England how more harmonious European integration could look like. Immediately a riot with all the Nazi stereotypes would be the result. So how comes then that from all the countries of Southern Europe tens of thousands of young graduates are leaving their home countries towards Germany even though they supposedly hate Germany because of its austerity policies so much? If you ask these 20 to 30 years old they will answer you that they come to Germany to work and to make cash, but in the hearts they will remain always Spaniards, Greeks, Bulgarians and Italians. This helps Germany to act yet even more pro-european, - not the other way around. The average German understood already decades ago that Pizza, fresh vegies, good wine rescued Germany to develop a more socially focused society. In France this changes are also taking place, just a bit more on local levels. Therefore, we do not need to change the European legislation in order to give Brussels bureaucrats the tools for even more decission making which then may work in one country but being considered undemocratic and arbitrary decisions in another. We don't need to invent the wheel all over again and again to divert us from the well known more pressing problems...

It is quite simply that our pensions are administered from UK.
Our grandchildren live there.
We are UK citizens and live in France because the EU policy of freedom of movement allows us to do so fairly easily. We do not want to give up our citizenship.
I consider myself a British Europeannwho lives in France.

It makes sense to me that there needs to be one or several constituencies called Brits living elsewhere so thanks Dick you have my vote support


Chris, tell that to the Greeks! I think that a weak euro affects all our pensions regardless of the way a national government dresses it. Will changing the halfwit in charge make a difference? It hasn't yet. Mind you, I'm a simple soul so you could be right.

I am a 'bit' like Jonathan. I studied, had grants up to and into postgraduate. However, once I was no longer a 'student' but a post-doctoral researcher I joined a research programme as a fellow. That was on the German side. I maintained that relationship for 18 years. I was salaried in neither the UK nor Germany but in receipt of a research grant, well actually a series of four each five years long. The research programme closed down two years earlier than intended hence the 18 instead of 20 years duration. I was required to pay certain social and health charges from the grant and now find myself entitled to a German pension, not a full one but better than my UK one. In the UK I was forever being reassured 'it would all come out in the wash' which it did not. Much of my working life was spent freelance but living 'between' places so somehow the UK pension was largely overlooked. I have so little entitlement it is almost not worth going to the bother of all the bureaucracy for it, but since we cannot live on nothing I shall do it. If the UK or any part of it that affects me leaves the EU then I am not that much worse off. I have also paid taxes and social payments in other European countries but know better than to bother with them since I have no actual entitlement. However, I have paid here in France and believe that if people like myself from all over the EU had political representation then we could campaign for full inclusion in both directions - put in and take out of. If I could surrender any entitlement from the other countries in order to have it here only then fair enough. Spanish, Dutch and Italian governments have arrangements with the French, I simply believe the UK should have the same, ditto German, Belgian, Portuguese and others and an even political playing field that has been promised for quite some time now come into existence. I have an uncomfortable feeling that whatever is said in places such as this, the UK is playing the game differently which does not suit me. I am don't mind if that suits other people, so be it, but we should have choice and option. Not much to ask really given it was one of the original intents of a 'single Europe'.

While not disagreeing with you in principle, Mark, it is the UK government that dictates and controls UK state pensions, UK government pensions and, if Britain leaves the EU, negotiates our health payments, something which, fortunately, the Spanish, Dutch and Italian governments have no influence on whatsoever.


Why would I want to vote for someone else's government? I live here, not in a foreign country.

I can never understand why ex pats want to continue to vote. Some have told me that what the UK government do affects us here. Funnily enough, so does what the Spanish, Dutch, Italian et al governments do.

I believe that the hospital in Spain did not accept the EHIC card and was totally at fault. The EHIC card should have worked as it was holiday makers who were involved.

Quite so . Axelle Lemaire appears to be doing a good job for the 400,000 or so French people resident in SE England - Her remit extends to Scandinavia

Thank you, Brian for this excellent and sensible posting. Surely the point is that the system as is fails to serve all the concerned citizens. Yes, people may want to have voting rights in their country of residence rather than country of origin but currently we effectively have neither. Something needs to change! Personally I welcome the move and efforts to restore expats voting rights in the UK. My husband is French and I therefore feel I have an indirect say in what happens here but am without a voice as to what happens in the UK, where I hope to return one day.

Perhaps, as the French have MP's for their ex-pats who live abroad, they could also consider having elected representatives in their parliament for the ex-pats who live in France.

Well said Brian.

For the reasons you state we are registered to Vote within the constituency where we last resided in UK and we value the opportunity.