Chasing the Wrong Target?

Considerable efforts have been devoted in recent years to obtain the right to vote for those who have been expatriates for more than 15 years, although most of these may be thought to have lost their links with any constituency back home and the ability to choose between the candidates for election there.

A far more important problem is this. There are estimated to be about 5 - 6 million British citizens living abroad, of whom 1.5 million or 30% are not eligible to vote. Let us suppose that half a million are underage, leaving 1 million deprived by the 15-year-ruling.

According to a recent Parliamentary Commission, of the 3.5 million entitled to vote only 20,000, yes 20,000 , are registered to vote. Surely this is the real problem. How to get those who have already the right to do so to exercise that right rather than seek it for those who have been expatriates for countless years.

Michael Webster