British expatriates constrained to participating in UK national elections either through postal or proxy vote, if not already excluded by the 15-year-limit, might feel some nostalgia for Peter Robin’s experience of being part of local civil society in his blog article “The pleasures of voting” in The Spectator:
“If you want to see the places where civil society comes into being – in church halls and at school gates – you could do worse than look for polling-station signs. If you want to feel yourself part of civil society, I know of few moments better calculated to create that feeling than that of giving your name to a polite old lady, having it crossed off in the roll, and being sent on, no ID required and your polling card waved away, to help decide who runs your city or your country.”
This is perhaps rather an idealised view of participating in civil society given today’s multi-cultural UK, with its current tensions over perceived uncontrolled immigration concerning its resident citizens in many constituencies. With the next general election in May 2015, shouldn’t you as a concerned British expatriate who might return also ensure that you can help decide who runs the Country?
You can find out more about registering as an overseas voter by clicking on the Electoral Commission website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.