Brexit or Brremain? – The Referendum is just around the corner.
In or Out? That’s for you to decide, not for me to tell you. [As if I knew]
And whilst the newspapers and media are full of punditry and comment, one perhaps under-reported news item that has struck a nerve with me, from a legal point of view, is the issue of who can actually vote.
Can you tell me which of these individuals gets a vote in the referendum:–
1. A citizen of Pakistan, living in England, with right to remain visa?
2. A citizen of the Irish Republic, living in England?
3. An English citizen living in Scotland?
4. A citizen of Malta living in England?
5. A citizen of Gibraltar, living in Gibraltar?
6. A citizen of Rwanda living in England with leave to remain visa [nb, Rwanda is a member of the Commonwealth but was never part of the British Empire]?
7. A citizen of France, living in France
8. A citizen of France, living in England
9. A Citizen of England, living in Italy for the past thirty years or so
Answers 1 – 6 – YES
Answers 7- 9 – NO
Seem a bit random to you?
How about case 9 – Harry Shindler, a Citizen of England and an MBE, now aged 94, who as a young British Army soldier in World War 2 fought in Italy to free the world from fascism, fell in love with Italy, and has lived there for many years. No vote for him, no.
Here is the link to the report of the decision of the High Court which refuses his application to be allowed to vote and upholds the present rule of the referendum,
Basically the rule is that EU citizens, other than of Malta and Cyprus, who live permanently in UK, and UK citizens who have lived outside UK in mainland Europe for more than 15 years, will be excluded from voting.
And yet, are these persons not the most likely of all, to be personally affected by the result of the vote? At present they live in a country which is probably not the Country of their birth, but which is part of a Union in which they are more heavily invested than any of us. The referendum is upon the question of whether the country of their present home, and the country of their nationality should stay together or part. And yet, they can only sit and watch.
Harry will seek to appeal the decision, but time is running rather short! And if he should be successful, this will enfranchise so many additional voters that the logistics of arranging a referendum by the appointed day would surely be chaotic.
Given that the likely vote of these disenfranchised people would be for Britain to remain, maybe there is scope here for the conspiracy theorists. As usual with Government and politics, it is the cock-up theorists who are more probably correct.
Link here, Should we stay or should we go. We shall soon see.
As always, whether in Europe or further afield, Please do contact me or Louise whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)