Question : If there is a referendum on whether to stay in the EU - will expats get a chance to vote - it is a matter which most definitely affects us and even if we haven't lived in the UK for many years, most of us will still be umbilically attached in some way or another.
Yes, I have NOT registered to vote in the UK. I do not want to, I do not live there. I wish to vote here, I live here. I am registered for EU elections which I do not want to lose by these profoundly blind leading a conveniently blinded public could cause. I am not so certain any politician is foolish enough to believe the UK could be either a low population but high reserve of natural resources Norway or an artificially high GDP Switzerland. I have lived in both, indeed have been married to citizens of both countries, and still am and could take that nationality because my dual national children are also Swiss. The biggest problem about being either is that they are so excruciatingly expensive that given the economic situation of the UK they could not really seriously contemplate it without committing a kind of existential suicide. Both are not member of the EU, but neither can sneeze without the EU allowing it. Switzerland is in 'Schengen', thus has the kind of open borders the UK wishes to abandon and I can assure you they also operate what is effectively a dual currency economy. Not only is my bank account there € but I can go out shopping and use €s, which is another thing the UK wishes never to allow.
I have enough experience of economics, politics and international relations to know full well that any aspirations toward becoming an offshore financial haven is a deluded notion. At a time when the entire world is looking very hard at stopping offshore banking, trading and so on because of the off-spins such as tax evasion, a new one is hardly on the cards. The UK is also too densely populated to cope with the loss of manufacturing and commerce leaving the EU the UK would certainly face, the outflow of investment from conventional finance and the stopgap that would then need to be filled by what? UKIP may be stirring emotions but it is also digging its own grave by leading the blind public into an economic cul-de-sac.
I think there is a lot of fluster and bluster in the cause of vote winning and faux populism going on. Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage are all heading for a fall by one means or another for lying to the electorate and each will in turn get their comeuppance. I am not going to panic and the bottom line for me is that as usual, in the end they will feed my political humour.
About voting in any referendum -
You can only vote in any such if you are registered to vote in a constituency in the UK.
You can only vote if you ceased residence in the UK less than 15 years ago. If you are eligible contact the Electoral Registration Officer of the constituency where you last lived.
A debate to try to change this will take place in the House of Lords as an amendment to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill on Monday 14th January to be presented by Lord Lexden. If successful it probably would not help before the next General Election and in any case the votes would be swamped by those votes from UK residents.
People really must lobby MPs.
Earlier today I posted a discussion topic which was on the same topic. It appears to have been buried somewhere.
Get out of Europe?
The Britons who live in Europe must seriously understand the pressure that is building to take Britain out of the Union. At its extreme this could be a disaster. At its best it means a re-appraisal of circumstances for all Britons in Europe. As things stand none of these Britons have any unified political voice whatsoever in whatever decisions are made, yet these Britons are those most closely affected. The situation is not democratic.
Consider the worst scenario – That is to say complete secession from the European Union. Britons would then have much the same status as Americans in Europe.
Britons would no longer be European Citizens – the passports would all revert to Citizens of the British Isles (or England & Wales, Scotland, etc….)
Freedom to live in continental Europe, to freely own property, to move freely, transfer funds without hindrance would cease. Purchase of goods from the UK might be restricted. [i.e. The four freedoms of movement of people, goods, services, and capital.] Winter Fuel Payments would cease, perhaps difficulties with other benefits (?); automatic medical support would cease, The use of the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) would cease, which would affect all British Citizens holidaying in Europe.
This worst scenario is surely unlikely. Yet is that what the anti-unionists are proposing? (that is --- Exit from the EU)
It is suggested by some that Britain could have a status similar to Switzerland or Norway (so called European Free Trade Association States). These countries are not in the Union as such but the difference in actuality is really quite slight.
Could Britain be like Switzerland or Norway?
The outer ring of EFTA members within the umbrella of the European Economic Area still come under EU directives without being fully involved in their construction…………. These countries, much smaller than the UK, have essentially accepted a less democratic association with the EU just to remain part of the single market. This weakening of the influence of the UK in a similar association with the EU would certainly suit Jacques Delors, not known in the past for his support of Britain.
What do those people in Britain who wish to see Britain ‘out of the EU’ actually seek? There is no clear vision from them but only negative criticism.
To quote from a blog on the site of the influential organisation ‘TheCityUK’ –representing finance firms. “The UK’s financial and professional services sector benefits greatly not only from access to the Single Market within the EU but also from the global opportunities that the EU, negotiating globally from a position of market strength, can bring.” The Chairman of ‘TheCityUK’ says – ‘We have not made the case strongly enough how important it is that the UK remains the EU's financial centre.’
If Britain seceded from the Union, then International Banks would probably move their operations to Europe. The British GDP could lose 25 billion in trade.
Should it not be the role of Britain to play a full part in the development of Europe? With the European Commission’s trade directorate at this time proposing comprehensive trade negotiations with the US and Japan, shouldn’t the UK be involved in such talks between equivalent economic weight trading areas, as part of the EU?
Britain should take a lead in helping to correct the failings of Europe and willingly and wholeheartedly bring to the European nations the expertise and leadership for which Britain ought to be famed. The Nations of Europe deplore the weakness of Britain in Europe. Britain should get ‘stuck in’ and take a lead. No longer should it pussyfoot in the wings.
Should not the British Citizens who live on the Continent and are profoundly affected be consulted? Why does the British Government not consider us? Are a million British Citizens to be ignored?
……………… We must demand that our voices are heard.
Lobby the politicians – find their addresses here….
Also visit www.votes-for-expat-brits.com
my turn to agree with your thoughts, Brian. I can't really see it happening and if it did I go for naturalisation as I meet all the criteria and OH and kids are French etc. ;-)
There is no definite commitment or plan as yet, so it would be impossible to predict. My gut instinct is that it would be based on the EU voting system that would allow EU citizens in the UK to vote but exclude us. The rationale for thinking this is that to do it on the basis of the general election electoral role that is inclusive of overseas voters may thus include far too many pro-EU voters. In the EU we are not an inconsiderable number and, as a study by a British university showed, a vociferous minority speak out against the EU whilst the majority are quiet. On the one hand, they do not want to be exposed to the risk of reduced rights where they live or, in extremis, being asked to leave - these tended to be very pro-EU electorally. On the other hand, many others have good reason for not returning to the UK such as too many years out of the system to benefit from pensions, state benefits or simply be able to afford accommodation whether bought or rent, find employment and other resources for their personal security. Many of them appear not to be great fans of the EU but it appears they would rather see it fall apart from inside than have the UK leave over a two year period in which they would face uncertainty.
I am very much pro EU, fortunately do not need to return and have the right to another nationality because my wife and children have it and their constitution supports maintenance of family union, therefore gives nationality to somebody in my position reasonably easily. I would then still be able to live in France. Apart from that, Cameron and Clegg are driving in such a wedge at present, that the plebiscite to be held in Scotland at the end of next year is turning the majority against ending the union round and there is an increasing, if still slight, chance that the referendum will see Scots saying 'bye-bye' to Westminster. I would apply for Scots nationality at the first opportunity IF that comes about.