Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Winter Fuel payment and the Vote for BRITISH ex pats.

George Osborne said during his Financial statement of Wednesday 25thJune.

“EU law now says that people living in the European Economic Area can claim Winter Fuel Payments from us even if they didn’t get it before they left the UK. Paying out even more money to people from all nationalities who may have worked in this country years ago but no longer live here is not a fair use of the nation’s cash. So from the autumn of 2015, we will link the Winter Fuel Payment to a temperature test. People in hot countries will no longer get it.“

The nature of Osborne’s phrases are disgraceful.  This is not truth, the whole truth, but it is ‘propaganda’.

He has chosen loaded words which are meant to colour the thoughts of the British public. A famous propagandist of the last century said “The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think is right.” 

Read and note…..
‘people from all nationalities’.  The overwhelming majority of recipients of the Winter Fuel Payment in Europe, are like myself, British people descended from generations of British people. This phrase is used to suggest that the money is not going to British people. Would he have dared say ‘British Citizens’?

‘who may have worked in this country’  They receive a State pension, thus they most certainly worked in Britain.  The word ‘may’ is used to imply a sense of idleness. Would he have dared  omit the word ‘may’?

‘Is not a fair use of the nation’s cash’  Why is it not?

‘In hot countries’.  The word ‘hot’ suggests what? Searing temperatures all the year round?   It is an exaggeration and suggests to the listener warmth all the year round. Which is of course is George Osborne’s intention. Would he have dared say ‘the southern countries of the EU?’
He desires the resident population of Britain, to believe that what he says is the truth.
The BBC web site says that the Climatological Unit at East Anglia University in Norwich compiled figures to show that 7 EU countries are warmer in winter than SW England.  Spending Review documents revealed, that the seven countries where ex pats will lose the payment, are: Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain.”

Tell that to the expatriates in  Brittany, or in The Auvergne, Lille (France) and Tournai (Belgium), and the towns of the Spanish hinterland or of Italy. The continental climate is characterised by hot summers and cold winters.

The attitude against the pensioners is further hardened by articles in the press illustrating the pensioners sunning themselves on the sunny summer shores of Spain.  In Barcelona it was minus 7 overnight this February. Most of Europe freezes every winter, this year worse than is usual.  In Central Italy eighty centimetres of snow fell.  In Central France in February 2012 it suffered successive nights of temperatures  minus ten. 
The summer sun does not allay the winter's frosts.

True - the Winter Fuel payment is a stupid payment - but it should be administered equably everywhere. If it was incorporated into the State Pension (incorporating the equally bizarre £10 Christmas bonus!), making the whole taxable.  In that manner the better-off would lose some of it.

Should the British Government have any concern for British Citizens Abroad? Yes of course.  For those who live in Europe the principle of ‘freedom of movement’ should prevail.  But the British Government resists supporting the retired Briton Abroad.

Governments and tyrannies will not change unless they are forced to do so.  We all imagine that we live in a democratic society in Western Europe. It is more fondly felt than fact. Democracy does not exist for the Britons Abroad.  The British Government denies it to them.

The British Government, which we all would like to perceive as a bastion of democracy, is as stubborn and as deaf as any. 

Is it not apparent that a certain dictatorial element remains in the thoughts of the party-politic in Britain.  The expatriate has no vote. Antipathy is raised against the expatriate in Parliament, and in the press.
We have no effective voice. Is it not time that we had a political voice?

In the eyes of many in Britain today, the Briton who dares to live abroad is considered to be almost a traitor.  We have Lord Lipsey who dares to say that the Briton Abroad should never be represented in Parliament.  We have governments who sign to treaties in Europe which guarantee that the elderly Briton who retires to Europe will receive the same consideration from the British Government as those who remain at home.  But in the outcome, they are deprived of income and support which those who stay at home might enjoy.  The winter fuel payment which all the elderly enjoy in Britain has not been received by the most elderly of  the British Citizens in Europe.

The Pensioner in Europe cannot make his feelings felt through the ballot box because the government has not granted to him the permanent citizen’s right to vote.

Lord Lipsey again says that such pensioners have no part to play in the economy of Britain.  Yet their pensions and much of their expenditure is demonstrably part of the British Economy. 

I accuse the British Government of indifference towards its citizens abroad. We are open to abuse by our own government, because they deny us representation.
In the newspapers today it is reported that the British government  is preparing to pay out, up to £5000 to prisoners who have gone to Court as a result of being denied the vote, and yet lawful British pensioners who have taken up the option under EU law to move elsewhere in Europe are denied the vote with no suggestion of recompense. The world is going mad around me!

The cold heart of Britain’s Governments is felt most severely by those who have given so much for Britain in their working lives and still remain ambassadors for British grit and determination.

If you have not already done so, send en e mail to the Parliamentary Committee which one sincerely hopes is seriously considering the Representation of  Overseas electorate………….
Send to Jonathan Blades at the Palace of Westminster

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