Monday, July 01, 2024

The joke that is UK democracy

I could go on about the obvious whole first-past-the-post voting system that according to this interesting graph, published recently in the Financial Times, gives voters the least level of satisfaction in their democracy. Having lived both under the Danish and the UK system, I would say this graph more or less tallies with my lived experience of things. 

In fact I am sure there is a whole list of things about UK politics I could rant about but I'll keep this short and to the point, as I did last GE too.

What is the point in defining the franchise of an election and then not making it possible for those people to vote? You can argue the franchise should be different, if you are so inclined, but currently UK citizens living abroad have the right to vote in the UK General Election. I feel that seems fair given I am not eligible to vote where I actually live, not being a citizen of that country, and on paper there is nothing to stop me to returning permanently to the UK during the next parliamentary period (well apart from my sanity and the kids' schooling perhaps) so I feel I should vote. I moved because the government of my country became intolerable to me and my EU family and therefore would not consider returning unless it reverted to a saner standpoint on its relations with Europe and European people, ie my 6 closest relatives! So, I have the right to vote and I want to vote. Moreover, my son turned 18 last year, so this is first general election. That should be a real right of passage. And he too would like to gently nudge the UK back in a direction he could find more tolerable.

But just like in 2019, when I desperately wanted to vote against that unspeakable buffoon and his desire to destroy the country I once held dear by getting Brexit done, whatever that was meant to mean, I am sitting here at lunchtime on the Monday before the election with no polling card as yet. So, the earliest my polling card can now turn up is tomorrow morning, ie July 2 at 9am. The next uplift from the post office where I live after that is 7am on July 3. And it needs to arrive back in Newton Mearns no later than July 4 to be counted! What are the chances of that then? Zero.

If they are never going to send out polling cards on time to vote, why can't they come up with some other method of voting. Danes living abroad can vote at the consulate, French living abroad can vote online, but I have a choice of postal, when they never send the cards out on time, or proxy, when I know no one who votes in the polling station I used to use back home, so I'd need find a trustworthy friend to inconvenience who already has their own job and vote to fit in that day.

In a way I would feel less offended if they told me I had no right to vote than the current carrot dangling followed by the let down. But whatever the outcome on Friday morning, it looks once again like neither me nor my son will have any say in it. 

Addendum: Any thoughts I had that the late sending problem was unique to East Ren, or that the Danish postal service was to blame have been hit on the head this evening when my older daughter, who is registered to Glasgow North constituency but living in central Madrid, mentioned she too hadn't seen any sign of her UK polling card, though as a French citizen had easily been able to vote yesterday.😡

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