In today’s Wall Street Journal Europe, Gareth Harding does a nice job describing the frustration of a UK citizen who has lost the right to vote as a result of long-term residency outside the UK — a feature that only dates from 2002 legislation.Â It’s little consolation, but the Irish voting regimen for its many emigrants is even harsher, with voting eligibility gone as soon as you’re off the register in your former home county, and that happens once you no longer live there.Â Â As Harding points out, the situation leaves emigrants without a vote in either their country of citizenship or residence.Â Of course the counterarguments are well known, ultimately relating to whether someone living abroad is truly a participant in domestic politics.Â It certainly tests the notion of what the European Union is supposed to mean to the citizens of its member countries.
Who can forget it?
I spent the day driving from Bosnia to Austria with an American colleague. We were on a mission to the IKEA shop in Graz, to buy furniture for our office. But we spent the evening discussing the collapse of the Conservatives and the imminent change of government; the constitutional reforms for Scotland and Wales, any possible changes in foreign policy. My colleague asked me how I thought the Lib Dems might do. Heart in mouth, I said that I hoped for a gain of five or six seats, to within striking distance of 30 MPs.