Thursday, 25 October 2012


We approach the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when we will remember our relatives who died that we may have liberty, and freedom of thought and speech, and yet some of our own politicians are in the process of fighting not to give us that freedom. Shame on them.
Recently there has been a campaign by ex pats to win back that democracy in the form of the right to vote for all. A leader in that campaign and an example to all is a 91 year old ex soldier – Harry Schindler. He fought in the battle of the Anzio beach-head in Northern Italy in 1944, and lives in Italy to this day. He alone, has mounted a case for Democracy before the European Court of Justice, whilst most of the rest of us have sat on our hands. Harry has the spirit of Churchill. The spirit that got us through that awful War, when our relatives waged a War   - to defend our democracy in the UK and help the return of Democracy in Europe.
Lord Lexden will introduce an amendment to the electoral Registration Bill to grant voting rights for life to all expatriate citizens. Please support him by simply writing a short e mail to any or all of the following Lords. They are only human and don’t bite.

Leader of the Labour Party in the Lords -- Baroness Royall  -

The Liberal Democrat leader Lord McNally -

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay  -
Lord Wallace of Tankerness -
Lord Tyler -
Lord Norton of Louth -
Lord Jones -
Baroness Byford -
Lord Bates -
Lord Astor -
Lord Lothian -
Lord Rennard  -
Lord Patten -
Baroness Betty Boothroyd -
Lord Garel-Jones  -

Please urge the peers to support Lord Lexden on October 29th. when he tables an amendment to the Electoral Registration Bill to give the vote for Life to ALL Britons, even those of us who live abroad.
Find a peer here....

Chloe Smith
Not all MPs are against ex pats having the right to vote. I have written many letters and I have had constructive help from Norman Baker, MP (liberal) who wrote to Mark Harper, MP., Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, and who has since been replaced by Chloe Smith. 
Chloe Smith is very much the new 'girl' on the block. She has been an MP for only three years, and on a vertical learning curve.
There is a growing group of people in Europe who are actively trying to change the anomaly of ex -pats being denied the vote. 
We have all had different contacts, and I understand that Geoffrey CLIFTON-BROWN, as Chairman of the Conservative International office he tabled an amendment to the Electorial Reform and Administration Bill in the House of Commons to abolish the 15 year rule for expatriate voters and argued for a change to allow electronic registration of voters, an end to the annual attestation, and finally to allow electronic voting online
He spoke constructively on these matters at the Conservative’s Abroad Conference on 11 October, and encouraged Lord Lexden to table amendments 25, 26, 27, 28 & 54 to the above bill which will be debated in the House of Lords after questions at 3pm on Wednesday 31st October. He has said he will be encouraging as many Peers as possible to come and support Lord Lexden.
There may be other MPs and Lords who are giving active support to this problem and I would wish to thank them and ask their forgiveness me for not mentioning them.

Unfortunately the over riding impression is that many other MPs are frightened that there might be some ex pats who would actually VOTE!

A short time ago the Prime Minister, David Cameron agreed the structure for a referendum on Scotish independence.

More and more there appears to be also a consensus on holding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, and for many of the 5.6 million British ex pats there will be no right to vote.

Sixteen and 17 year olds are still classed as children and their interest is looked after by the Children's Commissioners. They cannot legally drink,smoke drive a car or go to war, but will be allowed to vote in the forthcoming vote on Scotland's independence 
The Tories gave the SNP this concession, but are reluctant to give the vote to its own citizens who have chosen to live elsewhere in Europe. Why?

A referendum on Britain's ties with the European Union would be the best way of agreeing a fresh settlement with the 27-member bloc, says Prime Minister David Cameron, but a large group of its citizens who have chosen to live in Europe are denied the vote because of the removal of the right to vote after 15 years.

For the ex pats living in Europe, many of whom are pensioners, a vote on membership of the EU can have life changing consequences. If Britain pulls out of the EU the “right of abode” is called into doubt, and health cover will become a large problem.
Is it right that a constituency of 5.6 million Britons (an estimation of Brits living overseas), many of whom still pay their taxes to the UK government, and larger than any constituency within the UK, has no vote.
LETTER FROM Nick Clegg,MP. Deputy Prime Minister


Thank you for contacting Nick Clegg MP about the voting rights of expatriates. I am replying on his behalf.
Nick appreciates that there are some British expatriates who have lived abroad for over 15 years and who want to vote in British elections. However, as you may know, Nick supports the existing legislation on this issue, including the removal of the right to vote after 15 years of living abroad. If a Briton has settled in another country, it is intuitive that they would know about and be directly affected by the issues of that country. If they want to become politically active, then they ought to register to vote in the country they have settled in.
Thank you for contacting Nick on this important issue.
Best wishes,

Rory Belcher
Office of Nick Clegg MP

Nick Clegg
Clegg was born in 1967 in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. His Father is Nicholas Peter Clegg, CBE, the chairman of United Trust Bank, and a former trustee of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation On his father's side of the family Clegg, is related to Kira von Engelhardt, daughter of a Russian baron of German, Polish, and Ukrainian origin, Ignaty Zakrevsky, an attorney general of the Imperial Russian senate,the writer Moura Budberg,and his English grandfather Hugh Anthony Clegg, was editor of the British Medical Journal for 35 years.
Clegg's Dutch mother, Hermance van den Wall Bake, was interned, along with her family, by the Japanese military in Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) during World War Two. She met Clegg's father during a visit to England in 1956, and they married on 1 August 1959.
Clegg is multilingual: he speaks English, French, Dutch, German, and Spanish. His background has formed his politics. He says, "There is simply not a shred of racism in me, as a person whose whole family is formed by flight from persecution, from different people in different generations. It’s what I am. It’s one of the reasons I am a liberal, but not when it come to voters right for his own people.

We have fought throughout the world to give democracy, and yet it is denied to our own citizens who choose to live outside the UK. I find it offensive that Nick Cleggs idea of democracy is that, our own citizens should take out a different nationality to be able to vote. I am British and will remain British to the day I die, despite living in France.

Letter to Lord Lipsey
 25th July 2012

 Lord Lipsey
Lord Lipsey
House of Lords

Dear Lord Lipsey,
                               VOTES FOR EXPATRIATS

 I was a Police Officer with the Metropolitan Police until my retirement in 1985. During my service I worked for the final 8 years with the Diplomatic Protection Group. For two and a half years I was posted on the inside staff at No 10, and my final three years were in the Palace of Westminster. I keep a close interest in UK politics. Upon retirement I took up my right to move elsewhere in Europe, and moved to France. I have therefore lost my right to vote for any politician in the British Parliament.

 Our troops are fighting for democracy in other countries, and yet our own politicians refuse the rights of their own citizens. Where is the logic in that?
 I quote paragraphs from an article written by Lord Ashdown in the Daily Mail on the 7th July, 2012 'On streets worldwide they're pleading for democracy. We can't sit in our golden chamber resisting it': ‘We send our young soldiers to other people’s countries to die for democracy – and kill for it too. Yet we haven’t got it in our own country’.
 Nick Clegg is totally opposed to democratic representation for overseas Britons. This is unfathonable as I understand that Mrs Clegg, retains Spanish nationality, with a lifetime’s right to vote in Spain’s elections.
 Here are the views of Nick Clegg – as expressed by his assistant Rory Belcher. “Nick appreciates that there are some British expatriates who have lived abroad for over 15 years and who want to vote in British elections. However, as you may know, Nick supports the existing legislation on this issue, including the removal of the right to vote after 15 years of living abroad. If a Briton has settled in another country, it is intuitive that they would know about and be directly affected by the issues of that country. If they want to become politically active, then they should register to vote in the country they have settled in.”
Rory Belcher suggests that I should register to vote in the country where I have settled. This means taking up French Citizenship and giving up my nationality of birth. I am sure that is not the meaning of free movement within Europe. If he had researched the matter he would have known that his remark about registering to vote in the country to which I had settled was impossible. Although I can vote in the European and local elections for Mayor of my village. As a British citizen, I am barred from voting for the French Parliament, and rightly so.
 Why should we have ‘Representation’ and thereby the Vote at Westminster! The average expatriate Briton in Europe does not understand that their ability to live in Europe depends on the UK Government. If the European Union were to collapse, or the UK withdraw from the EU as the result of a referendum, as so many in the UK would foolishly wish, then many of us would be in an uncertain condition e.g. health cost support for pensioners could collapse if the EU fails. Representation means having an MP who cares for you, and who speaks for you in Parliament, and can intervene for you with the bureaucrats in Whitehall or elsewhere. The UK Government represents the expatriate – even if the expatriate is unaware of it. It represents us in treaties, and relationships with our host countries But, the UK bureaucracy is largely unaware of our needs. It has no means of listening to us! It has no ears! Those needs range from matters of local social support - to government taxation, and conflicts or confusion between UK, and host country regulations. Expatriates in difficulty.
 Residents in the UK can visit or write to their MP if some particular issue is important to them. Expatriates may well have issues with a UK bank, the UK tax office, local authority, payment of pensions or social care payments, or a problem relating to a near relative – perhaps a child at a school in the UK or a relative in nursing care. Finally The principle of Democracy - that constant vigilance supports freedom. Does not the concept of ‘citizenship’ mean a binding relationship between the governing body and the people? - Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says 'nationality is the legal bond between a person and a State'.
 I fear we have moved into a form of dictatorship of Government, which, has chosen to prevent the voice of millions of its citizens being heard. They in turn do not speak, because they know that no one is listening. Many British expatriates feel ALIENATED from the governance of their mother country, because of the indifferent attitude of the British Government. To establish a permanent vote would be a first step to redressing this alienation. If the expatriate does not have a democratic voice, the Government is free to take any action which it distantly believes to be in its interest. That is not necessarily in the interest of the expatriate citizen.

  REPLY from LIPSEY, Lord 

Thanks for your letter. You have of course been able to retain your vote for some time after you left Britain for France. I am afraid I think that your residence should now be the basis for your rights - and in any case I think it would be quite wrong to have an MP for expats who would naturally be concerned only with advancing their particular interests. But I do see the arguments the other way and am grateful to you for troubling to write to set them out.
Best David Lipsey

  THIS IS HOW LORD LIPSEY HAS VOTED on key issues since 2001:
Voted strongly for more EU integration.
 Voted very strongly against laws to stop climate change.
 Voted very strongly for equal gay rights.
 Voted very strongly against greater autonomy for schools. 
Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards.
 Voted a mixture of for and against the hunting ban.
 Voted very strongly for a stricter asylum system.
 Voted for allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.

Freedom of Movement in the EU, but not VOTES.

Lord McNally
Freedom of Movement in the EU, but not VOTES. Since the 1980s there has been freedom of movement within the EU. In other words you can move to any other country of the EU to live, to work, or retire. Unfortunately that does not mean that you can always still vote in your country of origin – especially if you are a British citizen. After 15 years abroad you are stripped of your right to vote. Political Representation and Voting is a major route to justice. It is the bastion of a free society. Great numbers of Britons who live abroad have considerable links with Britain and its governance. In Euroland - countries, about 3.5% of all British State pensioners, aproximately 450,000, have moved to live out their retirement.. Elsewhere beyond the UK there are another 1 million. In total over 9% live outside the UK. They all are dependent on the UK for income. Nearly all carry strong ties with UK and are dependent on the Government, and its decisions, but allows for no form of consultation with them. There is no Representation.
Baroness Royall
After 15 years abroad, the Briton Abroad has no opportunity to vote for any MP at Westminster. Before that time limit, the expatriate can vote for an MP in the constituency where he last lived. . The Representation before 15 years is at least an embryonic form of political representation. Registration to vote can be cumbersome and difficult. The registration form to be filled each year is several pages long, and failure to register makes it appear that the Briton Abroad does not care. Of course they care. They run parties on the Queen's Jubilee. They argue the case for Britain with their neighbours. They are Ambassadors for Britain. Thanks to modern communications in today's wired-up world, British citizens overseas, despite being disenfranchised, can remain as well informed on national and international issues impacting the UK as the Briton who has remained within the UK. A European at heart, who is fluent in Dutch and Spanish, Nick Clegg, our Deputy Prime Minister, considers that if the expatriate wants to be politically active then he should take out the nationality of his host country, and vote there. He can't be serious! But he is. A passionate debate is almost certain to commence in the House of Lords on 23rd October, in which it is certain that Lord Lexden (Conservative) will table an amendment to remove the 15 year limit on the voting rights of all expatriates. When the Bill was before the Commons, a very similar amendment was introduced by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP (Cotswolds) Pressure from the Liberal Democrat leadership, caused him to remove it. What are they frightened of? For many years our politicians have said that they are worried that voters are lacking interest in politics, and yet here are voters who want the vote, and are being constantly denied it. Lord Lipsey (liberal) being one of the loudest in his “long held view” that ex pats should not have the vote. Contact some peers. – Tell them what you think. Send them an e mail with your feelings. Here are your contact points. Leader of the Labour Party in the Lords -- Baroness Royall - 
The Liberal Democrat leader – Lord McNally - To locate the email addresses of ALL Peers --- go to…. Britons around the world have expressed their feelings – Read the comments of the web site