Sunday, July 8, 2012

Democracy in Britain - disappearing down the tubes?

British Overseas Still Denied Vote and Yet British Democracy in Terminal Decline!

by right2vote4xpatbrits
British citizens resident overseas wanting to vote are still denied such rights after 15 years abroad and yet British democracy is in terminal decline, as Corporate power,  unrepresentative politicians and apathetic voters leave the UK 'increasingly unstable', says study.
Surely this is when additional barriers to participation in the political process such as the 15 year rule should be removed and British citizens encouraged to vote including those resident overseas?
If you agree we would appreciate you adding your vote in support of  Votes for Expat Brits in our Sign-up poll here.
"the depth of public disillusionment and the range of ways voters are turning away from politics revealed by the latest study could shock even those involved"
 UKs weakening democracy
"The reality is that representative democracy, at the core, has to be about people voting, has to be about people engaging in political parties, has to be about people having contact with elected representatives, and having faith and trust in elected representatives, as well as those representatives demonstrating they can exercise political power effectively and make decisions that tend to be approved of," said Wilks-Heeg.
"All of that is pretty catastrophically in decline. How low would turnout have to be before we question whether it's really representative democracy at all?" The UK's democratic institutions were strong enough to keep operating with low public input, but the longer people avoided voting and remained disillusioned, the worse the problem would get", said Wilks-Heeg.
"Over time, disengagement skews the political process yet further towards those who are already more advantaged by virtue of their wealth, education or professional connections. And without mass political participation, the sense of disconnection between citizens and their representatives will inevitably grow."
Membership of political parties and election turnout has fallen significantly in the last decade, with only 1% of the electorate belonging to a party, and just over six out of 10 eligible voters going to the ballot box in the 2010 general election and barely one in three in European and local elections. But the depth of public disillusionment and the range of ways voters are turning away from politics revealed by the latest study could shock even those involved.
Sadiq Khan, shadow justice secretary and former chair of human rights group, Liberty, said: "What I find really troubling is there's no shortage of big issues which we must get to grips with – the economy, the future of our health, education and social care systems, our environment – many of which grab the attention of the public, but there's a disconnect when it comes to party politics."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Winter Fuel Payment - Latest news 8th August 2012

This item is updated on the 8th August 2012.
Since writing the piece below on the 6th July some movement has taken place.
 A correspondent aged 80+ and who retired to France before 1998 and who has up to now not received the WFP has been informed by the DWP that they are eligible - as long as they can demonstrate  an established relationship to the British Social Security system. 
I am informed that more information is available on the Spanish Expatriate Association site.

The SUN published the following recently.

Is this item correct?  Though it would seem certain that the Winter Fuel Payment should be available to all elderly Britons in receipt of the State Pension and who are totally dependent on the United Kingdom for their social security - wherever they live in the European Union or EEC, the consent by the British Government is still not clear.
The Direct Gov. web site  is still saying that one has to have received the WFP in the UK before one can receive it abroad in Europe.  The EU law seems to say otherwise.
I am asking questions in Westminster as to the present position. I have searched the EU judgements to see if anything more clear has been said but have so far got no information.  
It would seem to be the case that Whitehall is dragging its heels.
Any person who is in the situation, that they would be qualified to receive the WFP were they to live in the UK should claim it now, and keep note of all correspondence.