Over the next few months we will be bombarded with in/out arguments over BREXIT. In Wednesday’s Viewpoint Jason Moore worries that if the UK leaves the EU we expat Brits won’t be able to vote in the local council elections. Who will note the difference? Not the politicians – losing the 400 who voted last time in Calvia is of next to no importance. Not we expats - we’re already barred for all the others votes - National, Regional and Provincial. This one democratic crumb may seem miserly but the UK treats us worse as Jason noted on Friday. Like most of my countrymen here I am disenfranchised 100% - from each and every election. Rather than fermenting a movement to register he should encourage the opposite with us colonists pushing “no taxation without representation”. Sounds familiar? It started the American Revolution!
Way back in 1994 when Dr Kate Mentink was instrumental in forming the apolitical group Ciudanos Europeos both main parties were impressed by the number of foreigners on the island. If only half registered to vote their effect in a constituency like Calvia could be disproportionate. With national membership rumoured at 55,000 the group was a magnet for both main runners. When the leftish PSOE linked Ciudanos to the earlier Institute of Foreign Property Owners they started to lose interest believing that Owners tend to be Capitalists and that Capitalists tend not to be Socialists. For the PP the opposite occurred and a closer link between them and Ciudanos was forged in the belief that Ciudanos could deliver this expat vote. This political bond removed the neutrality of the formerly apolitical group leading to the first fragmentation of the group with the birth of Circulo Europa.
While the PP was in power they supported Ciudanos but as Kate noted in her interview with Vicki McLeod in Sunday’s MDB this evaporated when the Government changed. When the PP returned there was another reprise for expat voters when Angie Guerrero joined. Initially she was highly placed on their candidates list but the myth of expat voting power was starting to crumble. In the last election she dropped some places on the list and in the election missed the cut and lost her place on the council.
I’ll let Jason into a secret - referendums in the UK are not used to assess public opinion that’s what MPs are paid to do. They are actually used to resolve internal party politics. This year’s in the ruling conservative party to silence their anti EU faction - the other way back in 1975 again to silence the anti EU faction in the ruling party this time labour.
Playa de Palma
I am a UK pensioner and I live in France, have done for 12 years. I worked all my life, paid taxes, contributed to the NHI, and chose to live here due to lower living costs so I would not be a burden on the state, having never claimed any benefits whilst living in the UK, unlike others. I still have a vote and shall be voting for the UK to stay in Europe. Those people who have commented that we do not have the right to a vote as expats are wrong. We may live in the EU but we are still British. This isn’t like “Benidorm” which some people may assume, all sangria and suntan lotion, and unless you have lived and worked abroad, and experienced the difficulties of earning a living in a foreign country, you have no right to condemn others.
We do not claim any benefits, not even winter fuel allowance, even though the average temperature here is minus 16, yes minus 16 degrees C in winter so your smug comments fall on deaf ears. I have to pay for health care here even though I am credited for my 40 years of contributions in the UK, there is a shortfall. So it isn’t all holidays here. It’s a choice made by individuals for various reasons, work, family, health, but whatever the reason we are still British passport holders, living in Europe, just like Polish passport holders living in the UK, same difference. We should still be able to indicate our preference to the status of our birthright country within that region by voting accordingly.
You chose to abandon the UK to live in Spain, what gives you the right to ask to change the lives of those still living here. There were people living perfectly happily in Spain before we joined the EU so it shouldn’t impact on you, except you all could lose your winter heating allowance if you claim it.
I’m an Irish citizen, who lived in the UK for 20 years, now living in Majorca. As a non-resident of Ireland I can’t vote there. As a non-citizen and non-resident of the UK I can’t vote in the UK, and as a non- citizen of Spain I can’t vote in General elections here. My main assets are UK and Irish pensions, and how they are managed are determined in Ireland and the UK.
Not having a vote there gives me no control over my pension schemes. I will also get a small government pension in Ireland, taxable only in Ireland, and I have no vote to control that. I will be taxable on my UK pension in Spain but have no vote here. Unfortunately that’s life!!!!
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