Posts Tagged ‘Expats’

When Ed Miliband protested in Sheffield that one million voters had disappeared from the electoral roll due to a switch from household registration to individual registration,  he was undoubtedly referring to students and young voters who would naturally vote Labour. One million voters equates to a large UK city, or 11 constituency MPs! Those numbers could swing a general election result. Little wonder the Labour Party are interested. So just imagine if six million voters disappeared! Well, they have! Yes, the equivalent of 70 constituency MPs have simply vanished…HOW? Expats (UK voters living and working abroad) are entitled to vote in general elections. But hardly any of them do. It takes effort and paperwork and like Labour’s lethargic students,  they either can’t be bothered or simply don’t engage. Although there are 6 million of them, around half of all UK expats tend to stay abroad for over 15 years, after which the 15 year rule kicks-in. You cannot vote in a UK general election after 15 years. Many attempts have been made by expat political activists to have the 15 year rule repealed, the current Conservative/LibDem coalition are at best ambivalent to it. That still leaves the equivalent of 3 major cities,  or over 30 MPs up for grabs! expats_2243327c The fringe parties like UKIP could capitalise on these 3 million disappeared, especially as many expats escaped the UK citing disillusionment with the state of the economy, immigration, or any number of reasons that could be addressed by a savvy political operator. Keep-Calm-and-Vote-Full-sizeThe first political party that pledges to overturn the 15 year rule, thus courting our expats by offering them a re-connection to the motherland, could, one day, galvanise the diaspora into the most powerful voting block in British Political history.