Wednesday, January 1, 2020

INDEX and beginning

 The latest Posts of importance
*   http://pensionersdebout.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/british-pensioners-in-europe-and-beyond.html March 2016
The effects of a Brexit February 2016
The Winter Fuel Payment February '16
EU justice & protection  February '16.
Messages from The Political Parties to expatriates March 2015
* The Manipulation of Statistics by the Dept. of Work and Pensions, IMPORTANT
* The British pensioners abroad - ignored October 2014
* The Migration of the British Pensioners August 2014
* The British Citizens in Europe - Referendum. June 2014
* Who needs the vote? Government and/or Voter? Feb 2014

Health costs and democracy in Europe
*  The Referendum in/out Europe 
Anger-amongst-britons-abroad.

Correspondent list -- An 'update'  email is frequently sent  to all who email the site.  All email addresses are 'hidden' and anonymity is hoped to be always achieved. If you wish to be on this correspondent list,  please email.  Nothing is asked of you, other than your goodwill. 
 IF ONE DOES NOTHING _ NOTHING GETS DONE!
Numbers count when petitioning politicians. When letters are sent to politicians it is immensely helpful to say that one has the support of xxxx expatriates. So please give support. Encouragement is also a great boost to morale! Nothing will change without your support!
One should not expect fast movement but please keep in touch and never surrender.
Short Biography of the Organiser *Brian Cave*
Your thoughts on everything would be welcome. One relies on feedback to improve this site. No contribution is an unnecessary contribution.

And please make a nuisance of yourself in Whitehall and Westminster.
Constant dripping wears away stone. Do not underestimate the value of the constant drip!

Please disseminate information about this site, inform your friends and media outlets, and keep watching!
If you do not stand up for yourself, others will surely keep you down!

Remember - Please tell others about this blog - and please write to the politicians - you must do this if anything ever is to change. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Letter to the Cabinet Office

To the Cabinet Office, with copies to the various Boundary Commission bodies, and certain other concerned politicians etc.
          
I write as the administrator of the Pensioners Debout! site, and even more as an active supporter of the campaign www.votes-for-expat-brits.com and of the campaign for Expat Citizens Rights in the EU.
Further I have frequent communication with Harry Shindler, the 95 year old campaigner for Political Representation for the British citizens abroad.
Harry draws attention to the words of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 21 (i)
1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. 
The British Government is a signatory to that Declaration.
Yet the British Government refuses to bring forward a long promised Bill present in the last Election Manifesto for 'Votes-for- Life'.
In contrast France and Italy have long understood the need to recognise the value and the need to recognise the Citizen Abroad. They have constituency ‘deputies’ or assembly members to represent them at a National level. 
Britain cuts off our representation after 15 years.
When I first retired to France at the age of 69 (I am now 84) I had the chance to vote for up to 20 years. That was cut dead by the Blair Government without any reference to my opinion  – thus taking away quite arbitrarily my Right to vote, notably important in the Referendum–
The Citizen abroad has huge ties to the United Kingdom – Socially (family), Culturally and Financially.  I and my wife are in all three ways so linked, that the current Brexit approach could seriously harm our way of life.

But these are incidental to the urgent need to be represented in our National Government – The Government of the Nation. The Nation is the assemblage of Citizens, wherever they live.  The Government has responsibility for all citizens,  and should have a sensitivity towards them, as the expatriate should have  towards the Government. Currently this dialogue and mutual interest is severed.
That severance can only be healed by creating overseas constituencies.
Understand the following points.
1.  The Overseas Citizens have strong links with Britain.
2.  The Overseas Citizens  are often immensely proud of their British roots.
3.  The Overseas Citizens have little interest in the minutiae of management of any on-shore constituency, but they most surely often have an interest in the standing and activities of Britain in the World, and the particular part that they themselves play in these.
4.  The existing MPs, conscious of their own parochial interests  are reluctant to extend the franchise of their  localised constituency to overseas voters. They would probably vote down a simple extension of the principle of Votes-for-Life.
5.  The Overseas Citizens have various  problems which relate to British Government deliberations – pensions – treaty arrangements  affecting ..health .. work permits.. investment/savings opportunities.. bank accounts … cross border movements.., for example. 
6.  At the last General Election & Referendum  more than 250,000 Citizens abroad registered to Vote. Remember many including myself and my wife were prevented from voting.

I am not here suggesting that at this time one proposes as many overseas constituencies as has France.  But one could start with TWO minimum, one for Europe and one for the rest of the World.  As the years pass, and the notion becomes accepted as normal, then the number could increase.
At this time one detects a  resentment on the part of many expatriates of all ages. towards the British Government   Many would raise the two fingers to it. That attitude is picked up by our foreign neighbours.  By fulfilling the promise to grant the vote-for-life in the manner proposed here, this could be turned about, so that the expatriate takes a pride in their Government.
Yours respectfully,

Monday, May 23, 2016

Europe since 1945

Why give up our voice, influence and opt for an uncertain future? I shall vote IN on 23rd June

I copy this here because I can remember everything which Grahame White describes.

By Geoffrey White a member of one of the “SY2E – Remain in the EU” groups.
I grew up in a time of post-war austerity. My country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was broke and virtually in ruins. Germans were still “the enemy” in children’s games. Bomb sites and abandoned air-raid shelters were our playgrounds. Nine years after the war ended butter, meat and sugar were still rationed. One couldn’t buy sweets without coupons issued by the government.
Portugal and Spain were fascist dictatorships. In Spain unauthorised gatherings of more than 3 people were illegal. A military junta later seized power in Greece.
Half of Europe was sealed off behind the Iron Curtain. I remember lying in bed at night, in my parents home, and hearing the roar of American warplanes flying overhead on their Cold War missions. We were told that, if the Russians unleashed their missiles, we would get 4 minutes’ warning of Armageddon.
In Britain our currency was weak. We had exchange controls. Travellers were allowed to take only £25 sterling out of the country plus a limited amount in foreign currency. On return, any left over had to be sold back to an authorised trader. The details were entered in one’s passport. (See photo.)
The UK still had the death penalty despite some obvious and irreversible miscarriages of justice. In France they still executed condemned prisoners by cutting their heads off. In Spain they used strangulation.
The press and the BBC, (there was only the BBC), were not free from government interference and books, films and plays were censored. Women were paid less than men for equivalent work and landlords could turn away black and Irish people with impunity. For private acts of “gross indecency” gay men were sent to prison.
During the 1950s, six similarly devastated European countries were determined that the catastrophe of war between them should never be repeated. They decided to work towards creating a single European economy. The result was never “just a trading agreement” as some detractors now suggest. The Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957, provided for free movement of goods, services, people and capital, with the stated aim of “closer relations between the States”.
The UK was invited to participate from the outset, but Prime Minister Attlee rather scornfully declined, thus missing the opportunity to influence the future development of Europe. However, by 1961 it had become obvious that the economies of “the Six”, (France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg), were growing faster than ours, so we applied to join. It took 9 years of negotiations, (and 2 vetoes), before terms were agreed. The United Kingdom officially joined the European Communities on 1st January 1973.
In the 1980s many of our skilled workers took advantage of the free movement of people and migrated to West Germany, whose economy had already overtaken ours. These British ” migrants” were the inspiration for a popular television series, “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”.
Since 1945 there have been wars in Europe, but none between countries that were members of the European Union. Despite global economic storms, the EU’s citizens in 28 independent countries enjoy greater prosperity and greater freedom of movement, freedom from discrimination, freedom from conflict, freedom to trade across borders and freedom of expression than at any time in history.
So far no country has ever applied to leave the EU. There have always been candidates to join but to succeed they must have democracy, the rule of law, a market economy and guarantees for the protection of minorities and human rights. They also need the support of ALL existing members, including us, without which they cannot join.
In my opinion it would be a shame if Britain were to turn its back on Europe, give up its voice and influence, and opt for an uncertain future. So…I shall vote IN on 23rd June.
13239173_10154075261987347_6965273189001813548_n

Monday, April 11, 2016

Five Tales of a possible Future – after Brexit.



Five Tales of a possible Future – after Brexit.
All these conjectural tales are based on knowledge of real people and events. 
Plainly, one cannot ask people of their experiences of the future.
 The composition, the names of people and their locations are entirely fictional.
Many people have not the information at hand to imagine what the future may hold. These tales are written to bring into focus what is known about the EU regulations and what the effects of their end might entail. The Tales cover five different age groups and backgrounds.
1. The small entrepreneur who took advantage of the EU freedom of movement.
2. The young student.
3. The mature professional
4. A young retired but active couple.
5. Two very elderly and very ordinary single women.

ONE - YEAR 2031 Bill Jarrold is a 60 year old man British born in Norwich. His parents were tenants of a small farm but have retired within the last few years and are feeling the affects of age.
Their son lives in Ginsac and married a French girl 28 years earlier.  In 2002 Bill had come over to France to set up a plumbing business1.  A fair number of British people live around Ginsac and he saw that it could be a thriving business, firstly with the Brits but hopefully also with the French people.  He knew he could undercut the French competitors by buying stock from the UK.  As time went by his trade expanded and he established a shop called ‘Kitchens-pour-tous’.   The ‘half English’ added a ‘cachet’ for the French.  He, and his wife Angeline did well, his two children grew up bilingual.  His own French, aided by his wife  became practically perfect.
Then in 2018 Brexit occurred – Nothing changed, he was well assimilated into the community.  But as the next five years passed, British clients became fewer2.  That was not much of a problem.  But the French government imposed an import duty3 on the materials he previously imported from the UK.  The paper work to deal with this increased and became an irritation but no great problem. He had to hike his prices but his French clients were not too disturbed. His work was top-notch.
But he became worried about his parents. “Why don’t you come and live near us?” -- “That’s lovely Bill. We will try to do that.”  - They got their visas4 from the French border check and visited Bill and Angeline and their two daughters, At the Mairie they completed forms for Cartes de Séjour 5. Later a letter arrived from the Mairie, saying in French “We regret that your request for residency cards has been refused because you do not have enough funds. And also we need to know that you will have health insurances.”
Notes –
1. Bill could do this because of ‘EU Freedom of Movement’.
2. Elderly British Citizens are tending to go ‘home’ or die and fewer arrive.
3. After Brexit, Governments can impose any rules they like. Free trade arrangements will not be in place.
4. Visas could be imposed. The EU could introduce tighter external border controls administered by each border State. They would probably be of little concern for UK citizens
5.  One has to demonstrate that one would not be a burden on the French State.

TWO - YEAR 2028  Julie Spinks is a lecturer in marine biology at the Brittany college of Marine Biology at Brest.  She was born in Hailsham. When she was eighteen in 2008 she went to study at the university at Exeter. She learned that she could study on a European Erasmus scholarship at Marseille.  She is a very intelligent girl and took advantage of that chance and not only got a high degree and doctorate but also became fluent in French.  So she got the job of her dreams. 
Her cousin Susan is ten years younger than her. The two families were very close because their mothers are sisters and they went on holidays together to Brittany.  Susan idolised her cousin and said ‘I am going to that as well!” .  When Susan was of an age to go to University in 2018,  the Brexit had happened.  She could no longer apply for an Erasmus scholarship because she was no longer a European Citizen.

Notes.
Erasmus grants are available to young Europeans citizens to obtain degrees at universities in al EU States.  The scheme has recently been extended  by 16 million euros per year. Students can receive 300 euros a month  to study abroad.


THREE - YEAR 2019  Sheila Crabb is a professional international lawyer.  She began her career after qualifying in law in London by going to work for an international team in Bruges, Belgium.  That being close to the Centre of activities in the European Union she was attracted to working for  the European Centre in Brussels.   She became skilled in many aspects of Euro law.  She moved out to work in Trier, a vigorous German City just close to the Luxembourg border.  She acquired clients in Germany, Belgium and France, for by this time she was trilingual.  Brexit came.  Her professional status fell away, because she was not permitted to function in the European Courts as her qualification  was no longer that of a European State.

Notes.
EU Directive 98/5/EC enables qualified  solicitors to work in any EU State.
There are similar opportunities for dentists, teachers and other professionals

FOUR - YEAR 2022 Roland Giles  likes the clothes he buys from John Lewis.  He lives in Spain a few kilometres in from Valencia on the Coast.  In England he worked in John Lewis’s clothing department.  He moved to Spain on retirement in 1999, so has been there for 23 years.   Every so often he places an order for some clothing.  His wife also used to buy ‘stuff’ from Britain by mail order, such as pots and pans from a Lake District supplier when they changed their cooker to an ‘induction’ type.  They paid by their credit card.  After the Brexit vote in 2016, nothing much changed.  Then the UK began re-negotiations with various EU States on commercial activities.  There followed much argument reported in the popular English papers in Spain and the other countries.  Spain and France first, protecting their own industries, imposed duties on goods imported from abroad1.  Then British shops increased the  restriction on the use of credit card payments from within the EU2. The goods increased in price.  The Spanish Government then, feeling a need to increase the supply of funds to their treasury, imposed an extra tax1 on properties belonging to foreigners.
Notes.
1 After Brexit any State can impose any taxes where they will.
2. As it is now, some British companies refuse payment on Credit Cards where the registered address is outside the UK.  Such restrictions appear to flout EU existing regulations  and need correction. After Brexit, there is no possibility of the freedom of movement of services being fully implemented.


FIVE - YEAR 2024 Mary Ellis was born in 1936 Wanstead, London.  She never married. Her working life was spent as a typist. She is now nearing ninety years old and lives in Normandy.  She moved when she was sixty two with her dear friend Rosemary (aged 56) in 1998.  She and Rosemary felt they could enjoy their retirement years in more comfort than in the UK.  They bought a house together for far less than they could afford in the UK.  Their two pensions could give them a reasonable standard of living. Rosemary had retired early because she had phlebitis which made walking difficult.  Their health care costs were partly covered by the British Government through the EU agreements. Not that they fully understood that at the time.  They knew that others had retired to France and it seemed alright for others, so it ought to be O.K. for them. The Brexit vote came in 2016.  Nothing much changed. They were aware of the fuss on the BBC TV and radio, easily received in Normandy.  Their pensions arrived on time, they received the Winter Fuel Payment and Rosemary had, she thought, her Disability Living Allowance.  They had had a worry when for a time Rosemary was not granted the Disability Allowance1, and were grateful when through the protestations of other younger Britons abroad, it was restored.  They had a shock in 2015 when the Winter Fuel allowance1 (as they called it) stopped.  After Brexit all such benefits stopped across the EU.  They still are worried about their State pensions.  The Conservatives were considering bringing in a Statutory Instrument to limit the annual increases.2 The current Labour Government since 2020 is still discussing arrangements with the EU States.  Trouble has arisen over matters of ‘mutuality’ and whether mutual arrangements have to be made with each of the 27 States or collectively via the EU Commission3. The Commission argues that the UK is now a foreign power. The French State is still covering their health costs as though they are French nationals – as an act of humanity, but is arguing with the UK Government about funding.   France does not see why the British elderly should be a drain on its funds4,  “Why should the French tax payer find the cost!”
The argument between France and the UK5 and the European Commission goes on and on and Mary and Rosemary hear much via the TV but philosophically say ‘whatever will be, will be’. They are pawns in a game between the Governments.  The Prime Minister argues with the French President. The EU Commission more or less says ‘You voted out!’ – The EU has troubles6 enough with the other States, particularly the Netherlands, and Denmark, and then Putin is still putting pressure on the Baltic States, which include a Russian population.  The EU can’t be bothered about Rosemary and Mary. They are foreigners.
Notes.
1. The WFP was stopped for pensioners in France by Iain Duncan Smith on spurious grounds.
The DLA was only allowed after the EU made representations to the UK.
2.  The outflow of sterling could force the Government to find various austerity measures. The Pension Act of 2014 enables them to freeze the State pension to those living abroad -  The release of EU protective regulations now permits this for the EU States.
3. The EU Commission has the role of co-ordination between the EU States and between those States and outside . If the UK wishes to agree to any EU regulations it cannot at the same time be entirely outside the EU.
4. There were in 2007 only 85 French pensioners in the UK benefiting from the NHS as a free health service.
In 2007 the French demanded 4162 euros per head from the UK for each of the 34,000 British pensioners in France.  There are now 69,000 such pensioners. Assuming that now the cost for health care is likely to be over 4,500 euros/head at the very least, the global sum will be now exceed 310,000,000 euros per year.  Seriously, would France ask the French tax payer to pay this sum?
But those pensioners are not using the staff nor the physical structure of the NHS in the UK.
5. Not dissimilar problems would arise with Spain (particularly) and other EU States
6. The right wing parties in other EU States are pressuring their governments. Russia will see the Brexit as a weakening of the EU.  A certain amount of political discord would follow a Brexit.
.