Michael Cushing who regularly comments on these blog postings, quite rightly added the following comment to last week’s posting:
“Why [just] state reason for continued interest in UK affairs = “expat who might return”? UK citizens overseas ( expats) I think in the majority of cases have many VERY IMPORTANT issues re day to day happenings in Westminster – pension values, pound value, health rights , taxation , RIGHTS TO REPRESENTATION when one has a UK departmental issue.”
There is also the reluctance on behalf of successive British governments to grant full democratic voting rights to its expatriate diaspora as demonstrated by the current 15-year-limit on their voting rights. This reluctance is shared by the Canadian federal government which has now launched an appeal against the recent Ontario Superior Court decision to strike down parts of the Canada Elections Act , that barred Canadian citizens who have lived abroad for more than five years from voting.
Further, despite the best efforts of the Electoral Commission to encourage more expatriate participation in the recent European Elections in advance of the UK’s General Election in May 2015, the chart and linked article below reveals for the total British electorate (estimated 64% non-voters) and EU member states in general ( 43.1% non-voters) a traditionally low turnout and a steadily decreasing level of interest overall (average 56.67% EU voter turnout in 1994 declining to 43.09% in 2014).
However as suggested above, there are still many reasons (add your own such as the rise of UKIP and a possible EU referendum in 2017 or earlier?) why British expatriates should make sure that they are registered to vote in the next General Election in May, 2015.
If deprived of your right to vote by the current 15-year-limit, we would also appreciate you adding your support here for repealing this rather undemocratic law. With such low turnout rates generally, it doesn’t seem to make sense to ban law-abiding British expatriates from voting in UK national elections, after a rather arbitrary 15 years abroad. When those British citizens who can vote choose not to or cannot be bothered to vote, why ban from voting those resident abroad with a continuing interest in their country of origin, even after 15 years? The UK is in a very small minority of EU member states in depriving its expatriate citizens of their right to vote in this manner.
Click on http://neweuropeans.net/article/302/2014-european-elections-4309-achievement-or-failure for more details.