Friday, January 1, 2016

INDEX and beginning

 The latest Posts of importance.
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 

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. 
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. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Referendum Bill

Harry Shindler writes --- If there is an 'out' vote, then it will affect personally every expat and every expat family. It's very serious indeed. LETS GET ALL OUR EX-PATS INVOLVED.  We must win the right to vote in the Referendum - it's up to us all .... as the man* said "Never Tire - Never Weary".             *Winston Churchill
For those who live far from Europe the vote may yet affect you - Please support.

The Referendum Bill  - Update
   Lobbying has already had an impact: see here ITV's report on the debate during committee stage on 2 Nov:---      and also the report on the debate below this email.  However, we need to keep up the pressure!

1.  The Report Stage takes place in the House of Lords from Wed 18 November.  Baroness Miller (Lib Dem) will introduce an amendment to give all British Citizens in the EU a vote in the Referendum.  Those resident outside the EU will not be included as this is unlikely to be accepted.  When Baroness Miller presents her amendment, it is likely that the Government will tell (whip) its members not to vote for it, and may even urge them to vote against it.  Labour might also whip against it. Baroness Miller's amendment is thus likely to fail unless Labour & Conservative peers are persuaded otherwise by our lobbying. 

2.  Keep Lobbying Peers pleaseAs mentioned previously, peers' email addresses can be found at  They are often given as a general     Individual mail addresses are usually (but not always) the surname with an added initial.  Thus for example, Baroness Altmann is  

3.  Which peer should you contact?  Some advice from Baroness Miller follows.
Baroness Miller urges -----
“The essential thing now is to get all your friends and family to lobby members of the House of Lords - either ones they know, or just pick someone, but choose people who didn’t speak, rather than those who are already on board. We suggest especially writing to Baroness Anelay (Con), or who is in charge of this bill in the Lords." 
NB absolutely essential that a mail to Baroness Anelay is of a very personalised nature - if not, the clerks will bin it.  Read more in the article from The Connexion  >>>>  :
Lord Faulks (Conservative spokesman) spoke against for the government - a personalised and well argued letter to him would also be useful (note that he is a barrister by training).
Baroness Morgan (Labour spokesperson) clearly needs persuasion. Labour does not support the repeal of the 15 year rule in general but it is worth trying to make the argument that the EU referendum is a distinct case as expats are directly affected.   Labour supports the franchise in the EU referendum for 16-17 year olds and has referred to the impact it will have on their futures.  Her email address is
Please check Hansard below to see who did speak in favour - so that you can then target those peers who did not speak.
4.  How to write?  A personalised letter is preferable but here is an example for inspiration.  
Dear [Lord] [B/ness] xxxxx
I have lived outside the UK in [country or countries] for xx years.  As a result I can no longer vote in British general elections and currently would not be able to vote in the EU referendum, although I will be seriously affected [both] personally [and professionally] by its outcome.  Thus the outcome of the referendum is naturally very important to me.  Please vote in favour of any amendment at the Report Stage of the Referendum Bill tabled by Baroness Miller  to give me the vote. 
Hansard report on the Committee Stage of the Referendum Bill  2nd November 2015

During Committee Stage, two amendments were proposed by Lord Hannay (cross bench)  and B/ness Miller (LD). A good deal of cross-party consensus seemed to be building during the debate.  Only Lord Trenchard spoke against, while Lords Dobbs was ambivalent. He was for the principle but raised the practical difficulties.  It was also not entirely clear whether Lord Grocott was supportive.
Fourteen members of the Lords spoke firmly for the proposals:-
[Cons -Lexden, Spicer, Hamilton, Flight, Bowness, Tugendhat, Garel-Jones; Lab -Royall, Liddle, Anderson; LD - Wallace, Tyler, Shipley;  Cross-Bench - Green
Unfortunately, B/ness Morgan of Ely's statement set out Labour's official view as being against repeal of the 15 year rule, and Lord Faulks [], speaking for the Government was also quite clearly against.  The full debate can be found at:- 
Starting at Column 1409 at 3.09 p.m.
                             Brian Cave                              Jane Golding

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Referendum Bill

October 13th 2015 the 2nd reading of the Bill was debated in the House of Lords.
Many members spoke about the lack of a democratic voice for those who have lived beyond the UK for more than 15 years.
Relevant extracts are included in this *** digest ***.
Read what Lord Shipley said
If we left the EU, work permits could return, more people could have to apply for skilled migrant visas, reciprocal health schemes could be reduced, the operation of UK state pensions could be affected and the general ease of mobility for UK citizens across the EU would become much more complicated and uncertain. I wonder whether the Government have calculated the impact if large numbers of UK citizens decided to return to the UK in the event of our exit from the EU.
 The full Hansard report is here

 The Liberal Democrat Party intend at the Committee stage to introduce an amendment to widen the franchise (the voting) to include at least ALL British Citizens in Europe.  This concept was supported by at least some members of all parties. Baroness Royall, who was in the last parliament leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords, approved.
Neil Kinnock (Lab) -at one time leader of the Labour Party- and Paddy Ashdown(LD) - similarly a previous leader of the LibDems- have said that they will vote for any such amendment.  Lord Lexden (Cons) has pushed for the life-time vote for years.
The Lib Dem announcement on this is here……………..

Those in countries beyond the EU who receive this item should grasp the thought that voting rights will add force to the claim for pension parity.  They may not get the vote in this amendment, but if they lobby for support for this amendment – it should hasten the Votes-for-Life Bill.
After that may well follow a true and full representation of the Citizens abroad.  But moreover you may want to live in France or Italy later on or may be your family will – Remember all British Citizens are also European Citizens.
What should be done now…. Lobby a likely Lord!
In the following link you will see lists of the members of the House of Lords. 
It can be difficult choosing which member or members to contact – By scanning down the list you can see names who you feel may be supportive e.g. Bakewell, Blunkett, Boothroyd etc.. and you can see also how active they have been as members.  Lobby those who have not spoken in the ***digest*** above.
In sending a mail please modify the following - This is important because the HoL clearing room for emails will not forward perceived identical mails - nor multiple addressed copies of mails.
So personalise it.
“Dear (enter the members name),
The Referendum Bill
Do please support the amendment which will be placed at Committee Stage to ensure that British Citizens abroad who have lost their right to vote and have a sincere interest in the outcome of the Referendum can have a voice in this Referendum.  I understand that leading members of all Parties intend to vote for it including members Kinnock, Ashdown, Lexden and others such as Royall, and many Liberal Democrats and also cross-bench Peers.
Extracts from  Hansard of the debate on October 13th can be read here
        Obviously you can invent your own letter or add material to this one.  And when you get a good response do please acknowledge.

FOR those (all British Citizens) who are also European Citizens – this should interest you….. 

To Register  to vote (if less than 15 years abroad) --

Friday, October 2, 2015

An Upgrade for British State Pensioners.

Important News for British State Pensioners.

Pensioners who were born before 6 April 1951 (6 April 1953 for women) now have a limited period in which to boost their entitlement to their current state pension.  They will be able to buy extra entitlements to their state pension of up to £1300 a year, for life. This will be achieved by making a lump sum payment in the form of voluntary class 3A NIC, between 12 October 2015 and 5 April 2017.

The exact amount that needs to be paid to receive each extra £1 per week of pension depends on the individual’s age at the time they make the payment. There is a table on page 5 of the state pension top-up factsheet, and an online calculator on to help with this calculation.

The ability to top-up the state pension may be particularly useful for women who have taken breaks from employment during their working lives, and for the self-employed with similarly patchy NIC records. Married couples will need to decide which person should make the top-up payment, as an income will be paid to a surviving spouse (or civil partner) of at least 50% of the topped-up amount.

Note the paragraph about customers (they mean pensioners) living overseas on page 3 of the factsheet.
State pension top-up factsheet

State pension top-up calculator for class 3A contributions

The first condition for the top-up is that the pensioner must already be in receipt of a UK state retirement pension.
  To register an interest:
email: or
tel: 0345 6004270

It will be important to register an interest as there will be no doubt an online system to make the payment that may require a person to prove identity. That might be more tricky for someone who lives outside of the
[Example - A male at the age of 83 could pay £11,350. IF he lives 15 years he would receive back a total of  £19,500 plus inflation increases on top. 
If his wife lives on, she would continue to receive at least 50% of the sum. The lump sum payable goes down as one ages and is also related to one's sex.]

Brian Cave

le Fourquet, Gourdon, 46300, France
-Votes for Britons  -     

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The BREXIT, the VOTE and you.

I was sent a copy of an article in the September edition of The Central Brittany Journal ( by James Bell – “So what happens if Britain leaves the EU?”

After the Corbyn election as leader of the Labour Party, and the migrant crisis which is seriously affecting sentiment in the UK, the verdict in the Referendum becomes yet more problematic. The pendulum of the decision is swinging violently.

A large number of British Citizens in Europe (i.e. the EU) and elsewhere close their brains, and do not want to think about it.  Yet the tendrils of the British State affect all British Citizens – the so-called expats wherever they live.  I dislike the word ‘expat’. It is too often misspelled expatriot which indicates a rejection of links with one’s homeland. The word expatriate simply indicates that one lives outside of the borders of the homeland. 
But few of us would be living in France if it were not for the treaties signed between the UK and the EU.  James Bell observes that there are as many French living in SE England as Brits living in France. A ‘Brexit’ would affect both. The French in the UK are financially dependent on the UK, being young and active. But the Brits in France include a large contingent of pensioners (>63,000) also financially dependent on the UK.  We expect the British Government to ‘act in our name and in our interest’ when treaties and laws are framed.  How the hell can they do that when there is no adequate representation of our interests in the Westminster parliament?
If you do write to an MP they generally pass your message to some Department which replies with a garbage repetition of policy which gets sent back to you.  It is impossible to change policy unless some dedicated politician has YOUR interest at heart. Most care not a fig.
By default, the Westminster politicians, in effect directed by the Whitehall bureaucrats act as they see it – ‘in the interest of the Nation!  What, one asks! is this Nation?  Is it the rivers, the hills, the towns and villages? Or is it the people, the men women and children who have an affinity with the State of Britain – The British People – wherever they live. Those of British nationality.
The affair of the Winter Fuel Payment is just one example of how the bureaucracy has become twisted to not care for the British citizen, but for the British treasury.  Balancing the books is essential, but it must be achieved in the fairest manner without discrimination.  The State pension affair is a further deplorable instance, where it is frozen for those who desire to live with their children in Australia and could well be frozen for us in Europe if the Brexit should arise [Corbyn is against the freezing!].  Health support is part of the treaties for the British pensioner in France and other EU countries. [see EU regulation 883/2004 on social security].  That could collapse. 
If Brexit came about, we would be foreigners in Europe and no longer EU citizens.  That could open ways for the French State to invent other impositions – An uncertain world would lie before us.
That is why we need Representation at Westminster.  For many of us who have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years we have not a chance of getting our voice heard.  For those who left the UK more recently you can vote.
The VOTE is not full ‘representation’. For that a reform of parliament is necessary. The total number of MPs need to be reduced, but in that re-organisation some space must be found for a few MPs who understand the life of the citizens abroad in the same manner as have the French and the Italians. They, who are resident in England, all have political representation in Paris or Rome!

But for now – our voice, such as it is, must be heard loud and clear in London.  We must vote to stay in the EU.  There are amongst us turkeys who would vote for the Christmas carve up.  But the younger as well as the older citizens will suffer uncertain times if the UK leaves the EU.
Mr. Cameron has promised us the VOTE-for-LIFE this session.  We still await that Bill to be tabled for debate. There are MPs who will say that we do not need it, do not want it, and that it is ‘inappropriate’.  We certainly need it.  We need it as a first step to full representation.
If you register to vote NOW, you will have a vote to stay in the EU. You will also be able to vote in the next general election.  You may get the right to challenge any position of the Government. 
There are those who say ‘I do not want to vote for a UK MP, I want to vote for a French député’.  That is a strong argument.  But why does it have to be an either/or choice?  Whilst you remain British the tendrils of the British bureaucracy stretch towards you.  You need to have a say in any treaty obligation that affects you. You need the chance to express your views to Government about anything that affects you as a British Citizen beyond the shores of the UK.
To claim your right to vote go to this link. It takes 5 minutes to complete it.
And when you have an MP – keep him/her occupied and argue with them by mail.