Thursday 23 June 2016

About Those Voters Who Couldn't...

I rarely get political on this blog. In fact, the last time was the Scottish referendum, so I suppose I only get political when there's a referendum...

If you're outside the UK, or inside it but bored to the back teeth of the Brexit/Bremain debate, John Oliver gives an entertaining overview above.

If you have been following the debate and would prefer a gritty review spat out in a tone that matches your gut-burning desire to punch someone in the face, watch Jonathan Pie below.

Either way, take five minutes to peruse #dogsatpollingstations, a very British response to the stress of pretending we know what the fuck we're doing when we clearly don't.

I'm currently fairly pissed off.

Months ago, I started the process to register as an overseas voter. 

Because I thought I'd completed this process, I didn't go to my local embassy's open day for voter registration.

I then had a panic when I looked again at the letter I assumed was an acknowledgement of my right to vote overseas, only to realise it was yet another form to sign and return, and the deadline had passed!

So, I wrote off being a voter.

Then I received an e-mail telling me the deadline had been extended and I still had time.

To be extra, extra sure of being able to vote, I not only scanned the form back to my district council, I even sent a copy home to the UK with a friend who posted it from Bristol Airport.

I received another e-mail congratulating me on being registered as an overseas voter and telling me I'd receive a postal vote...

...which I didn't.



When I e-mailed, I was told this was 'always a risk' with postal votes.

Really? Nobody told me this. Absolutely nothing on any of the literature I signed said: Yeah, good luck with this, you probably won't receive your ballot paper anyway.

I'm finding it hard to comprehend, in the twenty-first century, why we don't have an online voting system? Anyone who's ever had to use Government Gateway login to file self assessment or renew their road tax can attest to its level of security. It's so secure, even you can't log into your own account. 

I can review my pension, set up a child trust fund, even register a charity online, yet I can't tick a sodding box?

This isn't about people who don't register. This is about people who go out of their way to try to vote, and still can't.

If you feel this is unfair, please take a moment to sign this petition to introduce online voting options.

Not that my vote counts, but I am for Bremain. 

It may seem a little odd that I'd vote independence for Scotland, but unity for Europe. 

Mostly it's a human rights angle for me. Scotland's record on human rights (no privatisation of water, you can't intentionally make someone homeless etc.) is better than England's, and that level of socialism would probably flourish outside the burning sun of England's rampant capitalism. I'd happily apply for Scottish citizenship.

For a similar reason, the anger and awfulness that's come to the surface during this campaign reinforces my belief that it would be dangerous for the UK to self-govern with absolutely no external mediation. Human rights cannot be self-governed effectively by any country. They always require external, objective mediation. That's the nature of human rights.

I have never been a huge fanatic for sovereignty or nationalism. I find it tends to be a distraction from more important things in life - like living.

As an expat and a globetrotter, I also have the standard concerns about what leaving the EU means for freedom of movement. I already have friends - a couple - who are forced to live in Spain because they are barred from the UK. The reason they are barred is because he, a UK citizen, had the audacity to marry an American citizen.

In a country that boasts of freedom, why should this matter?

Well, because they aren't rich.

If you don't earn a minimum of £18,600 per annum, who you marry is not up to you if you want to build a life in the UK. 33,000 people are already affected by this. Husbands and wives separated, parents separated from children.

How many might this apply to once we leave? Brits who married EU residents. 

And, as John Oliver pointed out, even if we leave the EU, we're still going to have to abide by its laws if we want to trade with them. 

That's just my reasoning. And, luckily for me, I really don't have to deal with the aftermath. At least, not for a little while longer. 

My friend ‏@tattooed_mummy made a really good post, worth a read:  I want my country back.

Instead of talking about who gets to come to the UK, who's in, who's allowed, I reckon everyone should get out of the UK. Looks like it's about to implode. A bit of distance offers a different perspective on things. There are so many lovely places to live in the world. I don't know if it's the weather, our Neanderthal genes, or just that we hate our jobs, but for a country that has so very much, we're in danger of doing very little with it. We really are not the be-all and end-all of anything but our own adventures. Whether we're in the EU or not, we'll remain as divided as we are every time a referendum widens the fissures. There has never been a golden era of unity, any historical fiction author could tell you that. All we have is a golden opportunity to make life interesting, enjoyable and heartfelt. So we'd better get on with it, because time is running out. Every second of every minute of every day. 

Let's face it, if #Operationcroissant couldn't win us over with crumbly, buttery goodness, we're dead inside.



  1. That's exactly what happened to us. All the forms were completed and sent back on time (even more so, since it was only a matter of extending our Postal Vote right from the general election just a year or so ago). But no postal ballot paper arrived. Inefficiency or was it those sneaky French post offices trying to sabotage us?

    1. I have a friend is Australia says he didn't receive his either. It would be interesting to know how widespread this is.

      Worse than that, my friendly local Elections Officer simply wrote 'Unfortunately this is the risk sending postal votes overseas,' and told me 'As today is election day, unfortunately we cannot do anymore.' When what she should have said is 'Although it's election day, it's not yet 5pm and you are entitled to nominate an emergency proxy to vote on your behalf.' I only learned about this from my cousin, but it was too late by then.