The younger generation of British citizens has traditionally a much lower turnout rate in national elections compared with the older generation and the major parties need to find new ways e.g. via social networks, of engaging them more fully in the political process. It’s refreshing then to read the thoughtful and persuasive article below on the campaign for full voting rights for British expatriates, independent of how long they have lived abroad, from Harry Scoffin writing in Nouse the University of York’s student newspaper.
It’s also a lesson for those resistant to change in the political establishment, from a member of the younger and much more internet-literate generation, that today’s technology allows British citizens to socially network together and inform themselves where ever they might be in an increasingly globalised world.
Let’s hope that the Labour party will not be left behind the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in responding to the demands of their many potential voters abroad who are currently disenfranchised after 15-years away.
It’s already so much easier to register on-line to vote where ever you are.
“With trust in politics so low, why have our politicians until now been reluctant to widen the franchise to those Britons who are genuinely keeping abreast of political developments in their home nation and have UK interests? There hasn’t even been a debate. The argument that overseas UK nationals have deserted the UK in search of a better life and so therefore should not have a say in the future of their country simply does not bear scrutiny in these times. It is quite normal to know of expatriates who pay UK tax on their earnings, pensions or properties. And it goes beyond financial ties. Our increasingly globalised and technological world makes it easier to maintain family (and home country) bonds through regular contact, such as video calls, and travel. Fundamentally, people don’t give up their roots or where they came from. Today, expats’ links with the UK are far less likely to diminish.”
It would not be so bad if the requirement to pay UK Income Tax also had a 15 year limit, but disenfranchising people who are still required to pay tax simply is not right. ‘No Taxation without Representation’ always has been a valid battle cry.
Harry Scoffin’s comments need to be sent to every PM and Peer at Westminster as a matter of priority.
As we are currently in one of those rare periods propitious for Electoral and Constitutional change, the opportunity to regain lifetime voting rights for all UK nationals – irrespective of where they live in the world – should not be missed.
It is a relatively simple matter to include the abolition of the 15 Year Rule – and the inclusion of an Inalienable National Right to a UK Vote – in the arrangements currently being made to settle the Scottish situation.
This reaffirmation of the principle of Universal Adult Suffrage would be supported by the European Union and bring the UK back into the ranks of truly democratic nations.
Repeat ; Fundermental requirements of democracy is Citizens Right to Representation . Loss of that right = loss of Identity ( UN / ECHR )