There is an assertion that some British citizens should not vote in the UK because as non-residents they do not contribute and do not have to live with the consequences. Too few British expatriates actually register to vote to challenge this prejudice or catch the attention of the political parties when it comes to an election.
However, allowing only those Scots living in Scotland to vote in the upcoming referendum on their independence, makes a mockery of this for some Scots living over the border in England and elsewhere, as a recent correspondent to this blog comments below:
“As a proud Scot, and Brit, I find it quite ridiculous that someone can decide whether I can vote in the elections of my country just because I am not living there at the moment. In today’s market you have to follow the jobs (or sit on the dole I suppose) and that often means travelling out of the country to work. I still have savings, a pension, and a house in the UK (which I pay council tax on each month!) so why shouldn’t I have a say how it will be managed and by whom? I was born in the UK, have a valid UK passport, lived there for 40 years – worked from leaving college full time paying large amounts of tax…yet some Eastern European guy who has never paid a penny in tax arrives in UK for 6 months or a year to become a resident – and he gets to vote. Something is wrong with this scenario….”
Current electoral law in the UK recognises the right to vote for all British citizens of voting age who have lived outside the UK for less than 15 years. Make sure you value this right by registering as an overseas voter via the Electoral Commission website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.
Increasing from the current 20,000/30,000 on the Electoral Roll to 100,000 registered overseas voters would be considered a significant constituency size and worth more political attention.