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If Britain leaves the EU ?

If Britain leaves the EU ?I was sent a copy of an article in the September edition of The Central Brittany Journal (www.thecbj.com) by James Bell – “So what happens if Britain leaves the EU?”

After the Corbyn election as leader of the Labour Party (*see note at foot), and the migrant crisis which is seriously affecting sentiment in the UK, the verdict in the Referendum becomes yet more problematic. The pendulum of the decision is swinging violently.

A number of British Citizens abroad close their brains, and do not want to think about it. Yet the tendrils of the British State affect all British Citizens – the so-called expats wherever they live. The word ‘expat’ is not the best. It is too often misspelled expatriot which indicates a rejection of links with one’s homeland. The word expatriate simply indicates that one lives outside of the borders of the homeland.
But few of us would be living in other countries of the EU if it were not for the treaties signed between the UK and the EU. James Bell observes that there are as many French living in SE England as Brits living in France. A ‘Brexit’ would affect both. The French in the UK are financially dependent on the UK, being young and active. But the Brits in France include a large contingent of pensioners (>63,000) also financially dependent on the UK. We expect the British Government to ‘act in our name and in our interest’ when treaties and laws are framed. How the hell can they do that when there is no adequate representation of our interests in the Westminster parliament?

Writing to MPs. If you do write to an MP too often your message is passed to some Department which replies with a standard repetition of policy which gets sent back to you. It is impossible to change policy unless a dedicated politician has YOUR interest as a citizen abroad at heart. Your MP could be different but many seem to care not a fig.

By default, the Westminster politicians, in effect directed by the Whitehall bureaucrats, act as they see it – ‘in the interest of the Nation!’ What, one asks! is this Nation? Is it the rivers, the hills, the towns and villages? Or is it the people, the men women and children who have an affinity with the State of Britain – The British People – wherever they live. Those of British nationality.

The Citizen or the Treasury? The affair of the Winter Fuel Payment is just one example of how the bureaucracy has become twisted to not care for the British citizen, but for the British treasury. Balancing the books is essential, but it must be achieved in the fairest manner without discrimination e.g. all British pensioners should be treated the same. The State pension affair is a further deplorable instance, where it is frozen for those who desire to live with their children in Australia and could well be frozen for us in Europe if the Brexit should arise* see note. Health support is part of the treaties for the British pensioner in France and other EU countries. [see EU regulation 883/2004 on social security]. That could collapse.
If Brexit came about, we would be foreigners in Europe and no longer EU citizens. That could open ways for the French State (and the rest) to invent other impositions – An uncertain world would lie before us.

Our Need for Representation. The above is why we need Representation at Westminster. For many of us who have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years we have not a chance of getting our voice heard. For those who left the UK more recently you can vote.
The VOTE is not full ‘representation’. For that a reform of parliament is necessary. The total number of MPs needs to be reduced, but in that re-organisation some space must be found for a few MPs who understand the life of the citizens abroad in the same manner as have the French and the Italians. They, who are resident in England, all have political representation in Paris or Rome!

But for now – our voice, such as it is, must be heard loud and clear in London. We must vote to stay in the EU. There are amongst us turkeys who would vote for the Christmas carve up. But the younger as well as the older citizens will suffer uncertain times if the UK leaves the EU.

Mr. Cameron has promised us the VOTE-for-LIFE this session. We still await that Bill to be tabled for debate. There are MPs who will say that we do not need it, do not want it, and that it is ‘inappropriate’. We certainly need it. We need it as a first step to full representation, any representation.

Register to Vote

If you register to vote NOW, you will have a vote in the EU referendum. You will also be able to vote in the next general election. You may get the right to challenge any position of the Government.
There are those in France who say ‘I do not want to vote for a UK MP, I want to vote for a French député’. That is a strong argument. But why does it have to be an either/or choice? Whilst you remain British the tendrils of the British bureaucracy stretch towards you. You need to have a say in any treaty obligation that affects you. You need the chance to express your views to Government about anything that affects you as a British Citizen beyond the shores of the UK.

To claim your right to vote go to this link. It takes 5 minutes to complete it. But remember if you have resided beyond the UK for more than 15 years you cannot register - for now!


And when you have an MP – keep him/her occupied and argue with them by mail. You can find your MP’s contact details here:


You could send him/her this item.

*NOTE - Mr Corbyn has made various controversial statements but he has said that he does not see the Labour Party campaigning to leave the EU but to work to change it from within. Further it is said that he believes that the State pension should be paid equally everywhere to those who qualify.

Brian Cave

The Central Brittany Journal - www.thecbj.com

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