Monday, August 12, 2013

The Winter Fuel Payment and why you must have the Vote

The justifiable fuss over the Winter Fuel Payment arises because the British Citizen in EUROPE has no vote!  Yes? or No?
[By no 'vote' is indicated no adequate democratic voice- The needs of the British Citizens  in Europe - nor anywhere in the world - are not considered by the British Government. It is the worst failing of democracy in Europe! And not commendable world-wide]
Yes it has.  Imagine if the citizen in Europe had some form of Representation in the House of Commons.  Pause and consider.   Would the Conservatives – Iain Duncan Smith - have put forward this absurd  plan of removing it from those of us living in his definition of ‘hot’ countries?  No of course not. 
Thanks to the European Court of Justice upholding the EU Law to which Britain has agreed by treaty,  Britain was forced to pay this Old Age Benefit to all elderly Britons within the EU.  If Britain seceded from the EU, the British pensioners and many more British Citizens would be drifting without the protection of the EU -- or any law.  In the last few decades, since 1973, it is EU law which protects us - NOT British law.  And, in whichever European State you live, are you confident that the local State laws will give you enough protection of your income, savings, residency? Whether that be French, Spanish, Cypriot, Italian, Portuguese (or wherever) law? Do you trust them without the umbrella of EU Law?  British Law does not protect you.
The petition on the Government site to retain the WFP is gaining signatures more rapidly than the petition to have Representation (the VOTE) [See below at end >]- But the petition on Representation is way out far more important! It is fundamental.
If the British Citizen in Europe had some form of Representation at Westminster, the Conservatives would not have proposed cutting this benefit, having only just a few months before granted it!  They would not, because they would know that at the next election we would all vote against them.  But then, the Labour Party is equally uninterested.  If we had that Representation they would be making overtures to us. Wouldn’t they?
Do you imagine that the matter of the WFP is an isolated instance?  You must know of the hike in passport fees. Would they have done do this if they got a glimmer that we might vote against them?  If Britain separated from the EU, is your pension safe? Laws and Regulations are not chiselled in stone. They can be changed.  Our friends and compatriots in other lands have their State pensions frozen.  It could happen in Europe.
Consider the economic scene.  The Sterling and Euro currencies are different economic systems. Lord Lipsey was eager to observe to me in a radio interview** that the European British pensioner does not contribute to the economy of Britain and therefore should not be represented in Westminster. It is a simplification and not entirely true. The Civil Servants in the British Treasury perceive the pensioner expat as a drain on the economy.   That is a blinkered viewpoint.  We are most decidedly ambassadors for Britishness. All expatriates are ambassadors.
But if Britain & the EU split apart, the negative view in Britain towards us could cause our pensions to be hit. 
[**The Lipsey interview on Expats Radio can be heard via the following link. (It can take a while to download)   The Exchange on Radio.]
Take another example - Under EU law the British Financial institutions should treat Citizens in Europe as equally as those resident in the UK. They do not!  Has anyone, as a non-resident, opened a new account in a British Bank within the UK?  It would be interesting to hear that someone has.  Will they accept your investments as easily as if you lived in Britain? No.  But EU law says that there should be freedom of movement of financial services and capital. It is a fight that needs to be fought.  British expatriates want to invest in Britain. It is mighty strange that Britain makes it difficult!
The fall in the value of the £ against the Euro is related to the same economic scenario.
The British Citizen has been encouraged to get integrated in Europe by the development of the EU but now is blown by whatever economic blast without any real shield.  Their finances have  no real protection.
The issue of the relationship between the British Citizen and his/her National Government is worldwide.
The Protection that the British Citizen should have is the protection that the British Government should achieve through treaty arrangements and reaction to the needs of the British Citizen abroad – everywhere. It should nurture the British Citizen abroad not ignore him.

The British Citizen abroad is ….
  • The Businessman trying to win trade for Britain. 
  • The Citizen who lives abroad for his/her welfare or/and that of their children, hoping for freedom from strife.
  • The Pensioner who wants wider horizons and more living space.
All of us are fostering Britishness beyond the shores of Britain.
In Europe we need to be represented for the sake of Britain in Europe- not just for ourselves. 
We need to be listened to.  We need to be heard.  We need to be understood. We need to be Represented in the seat of our Government. So that we work together for the good of Britain and ourselves.
We demand the vote!
Please forward the above  to your colleagues/family/friends  and to some MP you know –
Grant Shapps MP – Chairman of the Conservative Party - He has said it is important that people affected by the Referendum have a say in it.  Will you have a say in it?
James Wharton MP – who tabled the motion on the Referendum
for the rest…. Visit…
> petitions And if you have not done so …. Sign up to the petitions here – we need 10,000 signatures. - another 8,000 plus! Circulate to Accumulate!
If these petition sites fail to accept your foreign post-code, then use the last one you had in Britain or that of a close relative.
and leave a comment here…

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