All British Citizens in Europe to have the vote for LIFE
Firstly – All British Citizens in Europe should have the right to vote in the UK Elections as a RIGHT for life. This has been debated for years. Francis Maude in October 2007 (in the Riviera Reporter) siad that the next Conservative Governemnt should review this issue. The Blair Government placed a time limit of 15 years, reducing it from 20 years. But even if such an argument ever held any justice (which it did not) it most certainly does not now.
Secondly – the annual confirmation of this right should be reduced to a simple pre- stamped postcard. The present multi page form is absolutely stupid and puts everyone off the process unless you are very determined.
Thirdly – the current UK constituency sytem is a bit daft for Europe based citizens and does not appeal to them. A first stage towards change would be the institution of a Minister for the European based Citizen (the MEC).
Why does this idea matter?
A new 'politic' in relation to the role of the Britsih Citizen is long overdue. A nation is its body of citizens, not its goverment nor its land mass. Since 1973 when the UK 'joined' Europe numbers of Britsih people in mainland Europe have rocketed. The numbers of elderly Britons have soared in France and Spain. These citizens have grandchildren in the UK. Theiir income is hugely dependent on the UK. Their culture remains that of the UK. They listen to the BBC. They can phone and travel to the UK more easily often than from the North of England. Some even commute weekly and even daily from France. They develop links locally in their new homes but in so doing are ambassadors of Britain. Their link to the UK is powerful and is NEVER extinguished. Unfortunately the governments of Britain seem to ignore them and even (dare one say?) despise them. The 15 year limit itself indicates this attidude.
Nearly all other countries in Europe have a different attitude. The Italians and the French particularly, honour each of their citizens. We are citizens of Britain.