Monday, April 6, 2015

General Election 2015 - Brit expat stands at Uxbridge & S.Ruislip.




The Parliamentary Constituency of Uxbridge and  South Ruislip
Votes for British Citizens Abroad

James Franklyn Jackson.

 Parliamentary Candidate.          
James Franklyn Jackson is an accountant and former Treasurer of Colwyn Borough Council and later the Falkland Islands Government.  He now lives in Carcassonne (near Narbonne), France and has recently published a book  on the escapades and voting practices of various European Mayors entitled 'BOUND BY CHAINS AND SASHES'.

He explains his motives in standing for Parliament.
  My action was brought about by my interest and disgust in current and often corrupt voting systems and loss of my voting rights after 15 years abroad. Here in France, I have spoken to many about the absence of a vote and frankly, many are apathetic. I can understand this on the present need for annual registration in your last registered area when links diminish, MPs change, and often your vote makes no difference in a stronghold constituency. I have two concerns. Firstly, a possible EU referendum. It would be inconceivable to me that we should not have a vote. As Dominic Grieve, a former Attorney General said recently - exit from the EU could mean UK citizens living and working abroad becoming illegal immigrants overnight. And what would be the reverse effect of the position of millions of migrants living and working in the UK? I do not think this has been thought through.Secondly, there is the potential loss or reduction of personal income tax allowance. In a consultation paper, the UK Government estimated it could save some £400m. This really is small change in the overall scheme of government spending and just a sound-bite for political purposes. If you calculate from that figure the actual sum of income tax paid by these British citizens abroad into the UK coffers, it is disgraceful that the majority do not receive a right to vote. I and several others did respond to the consultation paper pointing out the likely effects of loss on income tax relief - return to the UK of many British citizens who could not afford the loss of up to £2,000 each per year, with the consequence of more pressure upon the already overburdened housing market and even more significantly, the creaking national health service.
For our efforts, we have received no reply, not even an acknowledgement!
I also supported the 10 minute rule Bill sponsored by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and thank him for his efforts. However, there was insufficient time for the second reading on 6 March and a revised date of 29 March thwarted by the Easter recess. Now of course we have the election. It has raised awareness of the situation, but we need continuation of this process to abolish the 15 year rule.
I have had excellent articles printed by the Uxbridge Gazette; my own professional body, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountants and now The Telegraph has given the campaign further coverage at national level. The Big Issue has promised to cover the story when space allows.
In selecting Uxbridge and South Ruislip, I thought the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to be the charismatic personality capable of obtaining media attention for our cause. He has already actively encouraged those British citizens abroad who are able to vote, to register to do so. He should be a great asset
in support of obtaining a lifetime vote for Britons abroad and eventually representation in the British Parliament similar to the system where Mme Axelle Lemaire became an elected representative in 2012 in the French National Assembly for French citizens residing in North-West Europe (outside of France).

To become a candidate, I required 10 subscribers - ie registered electors in Uxbridge - to support my nomination without any commitment to vote for me. Contrary to my expectations, it proved to be an easy task. I could have got a hundred if required. I just chose an area from Google Earth, went door-to-door and had 10 signatures in 90 minutes. Once the objective of overturning the 15 year rule was explained, most residents were very supportive and signed without hesitation. One commented that it was disgraceful that British citizens and taxpayers were excluded from voting when the Government was considering giving the vote to prisoners (who incidentally are excluded from standing as Parliamentary candidates)! After paying £500 I became a candidate.
I am not at all concerned with obtaining votes. Indeed, it would be a shock if Boris Johnson were not elected with a thumping majority. My objectives are to both raise awareness that many British citizens, passport holders, and tax payers, are denied a vote and to have some ammunition in the event of the Government pursuing the restriction of income tax personal allowance to its very own people.
Agincourt (1415) and Waterloo (1815) are revered dates in British history and will be commemorated this year -2015 - as examples of promotion and defence of British interests and citizens abroad. It is about time the now inward looking Britain remembered its history and began once again to support all its citizens. Returning the vote to them and stop punishing them for living in Europe of which Britain is supposed to be a part, would be a worthwhile achievement in 2015. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO ----
If you have any connection with Uxbridge or Ruislip – use it!  Influence people there to at least discuss the issue of Votes for British Citizens Abroad.
Write to the local paper in Uxbridge/Ruislip – The Uxbridge Gazette. A number of letters to that paper will raise the profile of the matter.
Online Editor- Amy De-Keyzer
Email: amy.de-keyzer@trinitymirror.com
Telephone: 01483 508904
News Editor- Steve Bax
Email: steve.bax@trinitymirror.com
Telephone: 01483 508774 / 07909 532436

Mr. Jackson’s contact telephone number is 0033 (0) 468 478537.