2 thoughts on “Petition: parliamentary representation of Brits abroad!”

  1. As the instigator of this petition, let me make some comments. The petition calls for votes to be given to the 5½ million excluded from the June 23 referendum. 5½ million is quite a democratic deficit when the “Leave” majority was only 1.3 million.
    The 5½ million are:
    a) 1.5 million 16- and 17-year olds. This group seems to cause the most controversy, but I would note that amongst the places where such youngsters are able to vote are Jersey, Guernsey, and Austria, and of course they were able to vote in the Scottish referendum. Giving them the vote is Labour and Liberal-Democrat policy, I believe. They are old enough to leave school, and enfranchising them would provide a counterbalance in an increasingly geriatric population. Evidence from Austria suggests 16- and 17- year olds turn out for the polls more than those first enfranchised at 18.
    b) perhaps 2.0 million British Citizens who have been abroad for more than 15 years or who have never been on a UK electoral roll. Even the Conservative party finds this unjust, with its as-yet unkept “Votes For Life” manifesto promise. As we know, decisions in the UK can have profound effects on citizens abroad, and it is unjust that they are not consulted.
    c) 2.2 million foreigners who are living permanently in the Uk but were unable to vote because they were not Irish or Commonwealth. These people contribute to the country, pay taxes, some of them keep essential services going, and have every interest in the good governance of the country. Representation is what gives legitimacy to taxation. In New Zealand, all permanent residents are able to vote in all elections, and I find this inclusive, community-building rule admirable.
    Sooner or later there will be more voting. Sign the petition calling for it to be more fairly representative, and also, please, spread the word to the like-minded. At 10,000 signatures the government will respond. The response will probably be a platitude, but just because you can’t do very much doesn’t mean you should do nothing at all.

    1. We are UK citizens who have lived in Paris for 5 years, so we can still vote. We went to London to vote in the referendum, as our previous attempts to vote did not work (postal voting papers arrived the day after the election). Even before the referendum, we wrote to our supposedly pro-Europe MP, asking whether Brits in France could have representation, just as the French in London enjoy a dedicated MP. Our MP poo-pooed this idea as ‘unnecessary’. So we are left with the member for the last place where we voted before leaving the UK, and that MP has only a handful of easily ignored overseas voters, who will disappear anyway, after 15 years. No other civilised country strips people of their democratic rights just because they live abroad.

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