EU Referendum: Questioning the Current Franchise.

This informed comment received from Frenchman Stephane Catelain sums up very well the key issues and raises the right questions concerning who is impacted and , therefore, who should be able to vote in the EU Referendum on Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union:

“I am French and have lived in the UK for 29 years. My wife is English and so is my daughter. I have always worked and paid my taxes. I have never been able to vote for MPs which I would like to but understand I cannot do as I am French. However this time the decision of the EU referendum similarly to UK citizens living outside of the UK has a direct bearing on me.”

“What annoys me the most is that Commonwealth citizens that live in the UK have the right to vote on an issue that really does not concern them. So for instance someone has just arrived from Sri Lanka , has no real understanding of what the European Union means, is not British nor European and yet has the right to vote on this issue and I cannot. Why are Commonwealth allowed to vote on this issue? Especially when there is no reciprocal agreements. For instance a British person living in Sri Lanka would not get the right to in any Sri Lankan elections. I have picked Sri Lanka as an example but this could be any other Commonwealth country.”

“I also find it wrong that somebody who is British but has lived away from the UK for more than 15 years has no right of vote. The amount of time that you have lived abroad should make no difference to your right of vote on this matter. At the end of the day it will affect you and you should be entitled to vote.”

“Yet at the same time someone who is from Gibraltar has never lived in the UK has right of vote. Surely they should not be entitled to vote because they have lived outside of the UK for more than 15 years and they are not part of the UK. They are a British Overseas Territory and in that case if they can vote then to be logical to the extreme then so should the Pitcairn Islands, the Cayman islands, Bermuda etc…. I find the whole situation completely absurd and am very disappointed at all these arbitrary nonsensical eligibility rules.”

“Having lived for so long in England, I guess I could apply for British citizenship in order to vote. Only problem is I was brought up French with republican ideals. I could not do the bit where you swear allegiance to the queen (and I am sure she is a lovely lady) as this is against my principal that the head of state should be voted in rather than through birth.”

“Anyway I am French and will remain so, so sadly will not get to vote. I do feel for all of you, that are going to be excluded because you have lived outside of the UK for more than 15 years.”

The Frenchman

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This entry was posted in EU Ref Votes for Life Response, EU Ref. & Votes for Life Bills, EU Ref. excluded British Expats React, Harry Shindler: Why Stiil 15 yr limit for EU Referendum?, Queens Speech: Expat Votes for Life, Voting Rights and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to EU Referendum: Questioning the Current Franchise.

  1. jaboz55 says:

    The UK Government’s deliberate refusal to enfranchise Europe-based British ’15 Year Plus’ Expatriates for the In/Out EU Referendum is so irrational – since those who have lived in Europe for that length of time probably know more about the EU’s pros and cons than anyone who has never left the UK except for brief holidays – that it almost invites the notion of a covert conspiracy against the UK remaining within the EU.
    A serviceable, if flawed, voting system for Expats already exists and can be used by those Expats who have lived abroad for fewer than 15 years; so the Government’s published reasons for excluding the others is at best patently specious and at worst blatantly dishonest.
    That a majority of MPs and Peers refuse to challenge this situation in their respective Houses at Westminster is one of the factors that explain why they – collectively – are so despised and distrusted by the British electorate.

  2. Grahame says:

    The logic of the franchise in terms of the EU referendum has a lot of holes including adding Gibraltar citizens to the franchise but not because of the reasons mentioned above.

    Gibraltar citizens’ rights as EU citizens are affected as their partial membership of the EU depends from the UK membership, that increases the strength of the arguments for ALL UK citizens having a vote and for allowing permanent residents in the UK from elsewhere in the EU having a vote.

    Of course that does not stop any of us who are disenfranchised in the referendum for helping with the “Yes” vote campaign. Given that there is a majority in the UK in favour of saying “Yes” to remaining in the EU we have a good place to start the campaign from. What we need is grassroots support particularly from those people who have first-hand experience of the benefits of the EU.

  3. nickiwi says:

    Absolutely right. The contradictions and anti-democracy of our country are absolutely breath-taking. The Frenchman has hit on the head several of these insults to those of us who fall outside HMG’s criteria, yet many of whom are THE MOST concerned (Brits abroad for more than 15 years, EU citizens living in the UK) remain excluded while as he points out Commonwealth citizens and Irish citizens living in the UK, and Gibralterians (indeed why not the Cayman islander etc.?) would be able to vote in the referendum.

  4. Lenox says:

    True enough. Those with (potentially) the most to lose won’t be able to vote on this key issue. Can Europe do anything? Give us (thirty million or so) EU citizens who live in other EU countries some representation in Brussels? Who speaks for me? Who is my champion?. And secondly, how about creating a full European passport for those of us who ask for/need one (including me, if the UK leaves the EU. I’m a long-time resident in Spain and don’t fancy having to get a new work-permit, visa and convertible bank account just to please the faragistas).

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