As British expatriates are we fairly represented in Westminster? The answer must be no given the historically low turnout rates (a maximum of only some 30,000 registered to vote out of 5 – 6 million), and political disenfranchisement anyway after 15 years abroad.
Whatever the reasons for such low turnout, “Democracy is not a spectator sport”, as argues Jason Reed in his “Huffington Post Politics UK” blog article: Russell Brand’s Revolution – Let’s Think About it.
“The principle point of Paxman’s questioning is that Brand has never voted so why should he have any say”
It is argued that abstaining from voting is no betrayal of democracy but as valid a form as casting a “wasted vote” e.g. for the smaller political parties, unable to compete against the “two political powerhouses” under the current “First-Past-The-Post” system.
Yet what form of representative democracy is it which also removes the right to vote from British citizens after 15 years abroad, whether or not they have continued to demonstrate their continuing links with the UK by voting from overseas up until this rather arbitrary cut-off point?
“Democracy is not a spectator sport” in which the vast majority of British expatriate citizens are relegated to the sidelines as spectators (eg on issues such as the EU Membership Referendum , Frozen Pensions, Winter Fuel allowance, Health etc.) by the 15-year-rule, bureaucratic problems in registering/voting, abstaining, lack of interest or general apathy.
You can try to have your say and make a difference by:
- Registering to vote via the Electoral Commission website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk (and hopefully in the future more easily and securely on-line).
- Showing your support here for removing the 15-year-limit on overseas voters.