Monday, April 30, 2012

The Extraordinary thoughts of Mr. Clegg

An assistant to Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party wrote on April 25th this year (2012)

“Nick appreciates that there are some British expatriates who have lived abroad for over 15 years and who want to vote in British elections. However, as you may know, Nick supports the existing legislation on this issue, including the removal of the right to vote after 15 years of living abroad. If a Briton has settled in another country, it is intuitive that they would know about and be directly affected by the issues of that country. If they want to become politically active, then they should register to vote in the country they have settled in.”

It is easy to pick holes in this statement.  To vote in another country means taking out the nationality of that country and in some cases thereby renouncing British citizenship.  Is Mr Clegg suggesting that British patriots should become less British?  Let us quietly reflect on these thoughts, in Europe and throughout the World.

In 1973 Britain joined the European club, which perhaps should be more appropriately labelled the European Association of Nations, rather than the European Union!  Since then there has been a tardiness in the evolution of the British domestic fiscal and political regulations supporting the tenets of this Association.  They tend to be fossilised in a fashion which would be considered more appropriate to the early 20th century, before the second World War than to the current age.  The regulations within the ‘Association’, which stem from the EU and have been adopted (it would appear rather grudgingly) by the British Government, enable Britons to survive on the continent. I and others could not live in France if these arrangements collapsed.  Further, I and others hold dear our families and friends resident in the United Kingdom with whom we communicate on an almost daily basis.  Whatever happens to the NHS, education services, the police and passport controls and of course the management of the finances, on which I and all British pensioners depend wherever we live in the world,  most certainly affects me and mine, just as much as if I still lived in Gloucestershire!   Of course such links vary according to the individual, but all British citizens are always linked in some measure to the triple countries of Britain and Northern Ireland, whether they live in Normandy or New Zealand.
The world has become (as they say) a global village.  Europe is changing into an association of States, none of which can stand alone. EU regulations affect us all- if at times imperfectly implemented.  Everything in the 21st century world is connected. Particularly in Europe we have a network of  nations – held together by the webs formed  of  its citizens and communicating (hopefully) with the Governments of  their Nation States.
Politicians often use phrases  such as ‘It is good for Britain that’.. ‘It is in the interest of Britain that’  …   What, one must ask, is this ‘Britain’ of which they speak? It is clear that they are not  thinking of the geographical entity of hills, and rivers.  They are considering the welfare of the citizens.  Are the only British citizens of concern to the Government, those who reside amongst the hills and valleys and the towns and villages of the United Kingdom?   Is Mr. Clegg prepared to answer ‘yes’ to that question?  Or will a shadow of guilt pass across his mind.  Is the Citizen Abroad of little value? Is the answer from Mr. Clegg – ‘quite so’?
If all the Citizens of Britain disappeared, then so would the Nation of Britain.  The Citizens ARE Britain.  The ‘good’, the ‘interests’ of Britain, is and are, those of the British Citizens.
Why does a Government exist?  Does it exist for the sole benefit of the members of the Government?  No. That is dictatorship.  It exists for the benefit of the Citizens.  All citizens!  There cannot be a ranking of, ‘they are all equal but some are more equal than others’.
A Government exists to serve the Citizens,
The Citizens do not exist to serve the Government.
The policies of any Government must ensure the welfare of the Citizens wherever they may be living, at home or abroad. Not just those who are resident within the geographical State.
In the global village or more narrowly, the Association of Europe,  the British Nation is widespread and British influence is spread by these very same Citizens. 
Every British Citizen epitomises British culture.  Their attitudes, the way they think, and act, appear to their host country neighbours as a reflection of the British way of doing things.
The good (or evil) that they do, affects the image of all British citizens, and thereby the image of this entity called ‘Britain’.
For the good of all Britons, at home or abroad, would it not seem sensible, imperative even, to engender a feeling of mutual support between them, of affection one with another.
As things are now, we have British citizens abroad denigrating the British Government, despairing at the blindness of British politicians and the civil servants.  They despair at the tepidness of respect for their efforts in promoting British business or culture.
Would it not engender pride and mutual loyalty to be warmly recognised?   The sense of pride is of huge importance.  The notion that one is no longer to be considered a full citizen – for that is the effect of the law - after fifteen years - is insulting.
The answer is Representation in one form or another at Westminster.
Perhaps the House of Lords could accept elected members from the wider world of British Citizens.  Most expatriates are desirous to be patriots and not ex-patriots.
A full exposition of my arguments on the matter of Representation of Britons Abroad can be viewed here:-
**Please view also (More in depth analysis of the position of Britons Abroad and voting/Representation). ***
You can leave comments on that site or this one (see the link below).
Author ---  Brian Cave
Email addresses for Mr. Clegg are:-