Voting in the UK?

(Michael Blackmore) #21

Relax Diana no one will kick you out. You are a valuable asset to France as are all UK expats who import money and take out very little. The business case to be nice to you is pretty solid.

(Michael Blackmore) #22

No certainty on either side Barry. My guess is no better than yours but it is important to remember that we are both guessing.

I am too busy enjoying my retirement to spare the time to rule the world.

Our "local" chippy in Duras failed because the product was indifferent and getting worse. That's the market working!

(Michael Blackmore) #23

I understand you may want to plan on a worst case scenario but you are making an assumption based on no information. Actually the political effects will be far greater on UK residents and the economic effects greater on them also as part of UK plc which as expats we are not. - or at least only peripherally.

(Diana Pinnell) #24

If we get kicked out of France we will have no choice, Barry. We do retain the right to return to the UK because although resident in France our domicile is still the UK. The financial implications of selling up in France and buying somewhere in the UK are another matter, but, yes, as we are retired and have a property in France and one in the UK we are very fortunate although neither rich nor idle.

(Barry Twyman) #25

Lovely Lifestyle ..."If we ever cease to enjoy it or to afford it , we can always return to the UK or move on elsewhere" ..Err NO we can't all do that , only the idle rich can do that, or refugees ?

(Diana Pinnell) #26

Peter, I still believe it costs us more to live in France than it would in the UK. This reflects the relative costs of heating a 200 year old stone house in the Jura mountains as opposed to a centrally heated place in SE England. However hard we tried, we could not incur a bill of 1200€ for Dec/Jan in the UK (and, yes, we are currently investigating how on earth we managed it in France while we were in the UK part of that time!). We have been running two homes since my late father died in 2011, and while the UK overheads have reduced a bit since my mother died just over a year ago, the empty house still costs us.

One of the main savings which a permanent move to the UK would make involves the cost of travelling to and fro as we currently do, again we have chosen to incur this.

Regarding the WFP - I quite agree that its gradual withdrawal has been very badly handled. Means testing would have been fair - we would have lost it with good humour. The UK government's ignorance of geography and inclusion of the DOM TOM temperatures in French statistics was inexcusable, it was a pathetic justification. Had the climate in which one lives really been decisive, however, we would have got the WFP in the Jura and Alps while expats living further south would not, and many in between would have been very put out indeed during a cold spell. I think the UK should have been much more honest and all I learned from this is that the UK doesn't give a damn what any of us expats think. This may explain why no-one in charge is in any hurry to ensure we all get a vote in the Referendum.

I think the most irritating thing of all is that voting cards were sent to so many foreign students who were studying in the UK during the last General Election. Possibly a consequence of outsourcing the management of the electoral roll?

(Barry Twyman) #27

Wish I had access to your crystal ball Michael Blackmore you should be ruling the world with all this certainty.

I only know "They bombed our chippy" for sure ... Allez BNP !

(Michael Blackmore) #28

Pretty sensible view of it all Diana.

(Michael Blackmore) #29

HI Peter

1st point - I agree its undemocratic and I did sate this.

2nd point - Life is always uncertain and yesterday's riles cannot be assumed for tomorrow. Success is about the management of change not preservation of the status quo.

3rd point You have assumed much more influence of UK under present arrangements than I believe actually exists. Outside we could actually have more.

4th point Glad we agree about this at least!

5th point Just because we leave EU doesn't stop us (and EU) from cooperating over matters of mutual interest and because UK would negotiate as a free agent it is likely to exert more influence on these arrangements than it possibly could as one of 28. The EU and NATO have little in common either in purpose or execution.

(Peter Scawen) #30


No I chose to live here but that was under a specific set of circumstances which might now change. In this situation I should have the right to vote.

And you are under a severe delusion if you think you could return to the UK and enjoy the same life style here. Property prices in the UK have increased markedly whilst declining here, taxes are higher and we would have to accept a second rate health services and an infrastructure which is arguably amongst the worst in the EU.

As for the WFP, I agree it is trivial, but important to some less well off than you apparently are, and it is irrelevant if it is temporary or not, treat me the same as everyone else and I am OK but discriminate by manipulating data and using a quite illogical procedure is not.

(Dick Smith) #31

For sure if all I want to do is put an X in a box a piece of paper somewhere. When I vote I want it to mean something. As a government pensioner I am taxed in the UK - why should I not have a vote in the UK irrespective of how long I have lived and worked in the EU?
As an aside, I rang my UK registration authority to ask if my registration needed renewing. The ERO told me I could not vote in the referendum “because you live in France”. I challenged him and quoted the legislation and after a brief period on hold he came back and confirmed that I will be allowed to vote and that my postal vote remains valid.

(Diana Pinnell) #32

You raise interesting points, Mark, and some of the views you allude to have been expressed in these forums.

Finances will make little difference as to how I vote in the Referendum. Life in France costs about the same as in the UK if not a little more, so we don't live in France to economise. If our pensions are frozen it will be some time before we notice much impact, depending upon inflation.

The WFP was introduced as a temporary measure and probably needs to be abolished for all, in or out of the UK. We have only received it once, so its withdrawal has made no difference either to us or to the Dec-Jan EDF bill against which it is a drop in the ocean.

I have always thought it odd that we pay taxes to France but don't get to vote on how they are spent. On the other hand, we have the right to vote in the UK where we only pay Council Tax and that seems unfair too. However after ten years in France I have learned how to shrug my shoulders and say "boof" to such anomalies. If the UK does vote to leave, I will probably apply for French nationality as I feel more welcome and comfortable in France than I do in the UK - of course, this may change over the many years our withdrawal would take to negotiate and accomplish.

As to whether we are "entitled" to expect as much from the land of our birth, having only ever contributed to its coffers hitherto, and being happier living in France, I don't feel any entitlement or obligation. I do understand the view that people should claim everything they are entitled to while contributing only what they are bound to: it works for multinational enterprises and the most wealthy in society and if they can get away with it it's hard to justify to us ordinary plebs why we should give without taking. However, I have made choices and live with whatever consequences there may be - as I expect immigrants to any country to do. We weren't invited to live here, it is our choice. If we ever cease to enjoy it or to afford it, we can always return to the UK or move on elsewhere.

(Peter Scawen) #33

Well Michael B

It is irrelevant how many choose to register and/or vote, the denial of our rights is clearly anti-democratic, which of course is a joke coming from a campaign that claims one reason for leaving the EU is that it is not democratic!!!.

As for post Brexit treatment of ex-pats, we may be not affected adversely or not, we do not know. With nasty sh**s like IDS in the background I do not share your insouciance.

As for your comments about Garmany, well aside from its very nasty chauvinism, one good reason for the UK to remain part of the EU is to off-set any risk of any one country dominating it economically or politically. As regards Turkey, well Germany has taken the lead in this matter as it is taking a huge percentage of the refugees and the UK has opted to bypass the process and claim that it will take refugees directly from Syria. Well there are lies, damned lies and politicians I suppose, but let us pass that.

But I agree this is a political issue, in part, well almost entirely by one of the most inept political leaders the UK had had post war - no mean achievement by any measure.

If the UK leaves the EU, the message is clear we are withdrawing from Europe which will weaken the EU and also NATO. No matter what is said the message to Putin will be read in a very specific way, rightly or wrongly. The warning messages we are receiving from the US may or may not be interfering in UK domestic issues but it is in the US's vital interests that we remain wholly committed.

(Michael Blackmore) #34

Since such a tiny proportion of UK expats in EU are currently registered to vote even though it is possible that a greater proportion of "15 yearers" might register the overall effect on the referendum (even it the rules are changed by Harry Shindler's action) is likely to be quite small. This is not to minimise the argument that the 15 year rule is anti-democratic and has little merit.

Reciprocal arrangements for health care in Europe antedate the accession of UK to the EU and there is no reason to assume they would be rescinded. There is protection against this from the Vienna Convention to which UK is a signatory (although France is not) although I accept that the unilateral exclusion of France for WFP reduces the comfort from this.

The loss of right to free movement might be inconvenient (CV etc) but those who currently have residency should not lose it as they should have preserved rights on the basis of their existing status. The argument that France (or any other EU country) would want to expel UK citizens who are resident in the country is weak as they contribute from external funds and pay taxes in their country of resident. Almost certainly a net benefit to the country in which they are resident.

There may be some short term inconvenience to UK expats but personally I doubt it. There may be some short term economic uncertainty for UK plc but I think it is overemphasised.

In essence this is a political and not an economic issue and the decision as to how to vote would better be made on the basis of the long term interests of UK plc and not on the basis of short term inconveniences which will certainly be resolved quite quickly as the bilateral incentives are much greater than in the case of Norway, Switzerland or Canada which have been mistakenly used as examples of the post Brexit scenario.

Of course there is some uncertainty about post Brexit and it is true to say "no one knows what will happen". I am puzzled that some think there is more certainty about post Remain as it is clear from recent events that the UK's influence is much less than many would like to think,especially considering the "Turkish deal" cooked up by Angela Merkel with minimal (if any) consultation with other EU "partners".

Is the militarily dominant and ambitious Germany of the 1930's any more worrying than the economically dominant and ambitious Germany of today? I am not sure.

I await the storm of opprobrium which will rain down on me!


(Raymond John Fletton) #35

You mention "foreigners", we are not foreigners, we are EU citizens.

You fail to consider ex government employees who are obliged to pay tax in uk that is why I wish to vote in uk, it is where I pay the most tax. I remain English so also want uk to remain uk and not subservient to Brussels, so I might even vote "out" IF I get my vote back!

(Peter Scawen) #36

Very reasonable argument.

IDS would be proud of you!

And quite wrong.

If I follow your logic since relatively a small number of people choose to vote in elections we should stop everyone voting.

The EU referendum will have a profound effect on our lives and we should have the right to participate.

I cannot be sure but from your photo you have not reached that age where you expect your index linked state pension that you have contributed to whilst you were working in the UK and maybe even now thru Class3 AVCs.

You have not reached the point in your life when you require medical services in France but paid for by the UK Gov't.

No doubt there are other issues that we rely on that come from the UK Gov't which we should be able to register our opinion. If we choose not to then we have no right to complain.

The argument about "foreigners" voting in UK elections is completely specious. The French manage this quite well for their citizens so it cannot be that difficult. Sounds like another IDS excuse!

The French Gov't have dedicated MPs (or equivalent) to represent the interests of their expats. No reason why the UK Gov't cannot do the same.

As I say a superficially reasoned argument that does not stand up to scrutiny.

(Mark Rimmer) #37

Dick, I may be wrong but I based the donation thing on The Electorial Commission's overview on donations which lists permissable donors as "(2) For the purposes of this Part the following are permissible donors— (a) an individual registered in an electoral register; (b) a company— (i) registered under the Companies Act 1985 or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, and (ii) incorporated within the United Kingdom or another member State, which carries on business in the United Kingdom; (c) a registered..." etc.

If we are not on the electorial register we are not permissable donors. This rules out 98% of us. You CAN vote here if you wish, become a french citizen!

(David Rosemont) #38

No pool. No Sky Sports. Don't eat out twice a week. Very little travelling (none last year). Heating house costs about 100 euros a week in winter. Don't have a bus pass. Don't have free doctor visits. Pay most of medications at about 50 euros a month. Pay UK tax on UK income (90% of my income was from UK last year). "If we really loved the UK we would be living there!"- what a pompous statement. Where do you suggest? I need a three bedroom house, my wife is non EU and has to apply to enter and we have to deposit £30k for six months before she can even apply, she would not have any immediate rights to benefits although she works here in France and has for many years, would a decent school for our daughter be available in an area where we could afford a house? And how do you know or how can you predict what would happen in the event of a Brexit? I'm pushing 71, able to vote this time, and you may guess which way I have decided to vote. BTW I used many decades ago to be on Central Office's candidates list, ran companies in London, and was elected Chair of a successful Quango for 10 years. I have family and investments in the UK. I served albeit briefly in the forces. Do not doubt my loyalty to the UK.

(Dick Smith) #39

Very good - mainly wrong. We can donate money to political parties. Of the estimated 2 million Brits living in The EU how many have been out of the UK more than 15 years so can’t register - no-one knows, not even the UK government as they scrapped the recording. We depend on EU treaties for our right to live here, and our health care and many other things, so it is essential we get to vote in the referendum. We would have to go through the process of Cartes de Sejour all over again and every 5 years subsequent. When or if we go back to the UK do we want to go back to an isolated island that has no say in the rules governing our trade with the EU, our biggest trading partner, and has no influence in global institutions? The right to vote is the most basic human right. We can’t vote here as we are not French citizens - if we can’t vote in our country of citizenship (as is the case with most other countries) we are totally disenfranchised.

As you say, Mark, your interviewee doesn’t exist - nor do some of the arguments used in your post.

(Barry Twyman) #40

Amusing article Mark ...Have you stopped beating your Wife?