Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Monday 25 May 2015

Tories Want Taxation Without Representation

The Mail spelt out the suitably patriotic message: “1.5million migrants barred from voting on EU: David Cameron blocks newcomers from having say on Britain's future … David Cameron barred most EU citizens in UK from voting in referendum … He’s also ruled out giving 16 and 17-year-olds opportunity for say in ballot … Details will be published in a European Referendum Bill on Wednesday”.
You over thyah! Johnny Foreigner! Sit quietly at the beck and do as you're told! Jolly good sheow!

And why did that matter? “Overwhelming majority of EU migrants were expected to vote to stay in EU”. But what about “Thousands of Commonwealth citizens and 800,000 Irish will be permitted”? Does anyone need to guess which way most of the Irish citizens will vote (clue: Ireland is a long-term net beneficiary of EU funds, it’s part of the Eurozone and Schengen area, and has embraced metrication)?
So what are the Tories up to, apart from spinning a line to their press pals that all those chaps and chapesses who talk foreign can keep their noses out of Young Dave’s jolly good Referendum? Those less kindly disposed towards Cameron and his fellow yah-boo boys might conclude that someone was trying to indulge in an act of gerrymandering under cover of it all being totally legal and above board.
After all, all those Commonwealth and Irish citizens who get to vote - as they do in General Elections, and have been able to do for decades now - are given that vote because they have been given leave to remain in the UK, or because they have living and working here for some years. That means they pay their taxes in the UK, a test that students of the US Constitution will immediately recognise.
Those who have read books like “Free To Choose” by Milton Friedman will also recognise the test: that of Taxation Without Representation. The chant of “No Taxation Without Representation” drove the movement that led to conflict between the then American Colonies and Britain, and Independence. It speaks to common sense and fairness: those who live and pay taxes here are allowed to participate in our democracy.

That thought does not seem to enter for the right-leaning press, whose headlines - “1.5M MIGRANTS BARRED FROM VOTING ON EU”, “EU VOTE BAN ON MIGRANTS”, and “Migrants barred from vote on Europe” - are the stuff of crude jingoism, and viewing those citizens of other EU member states as “other”. The parallels with the attitude towards those from outside the country shown here, and in, say, Australia, are interesting.

Likewise the move not to extend the practice established in the Scottish Independence referendum where the franchise was extended, for the first time, to 16 and 17 year olds. On the one hand, we are told that the the EU referendum is about the UK’s future, yet those who will play a major part in shaping that future are being denied a say. It is all that a slick, polished and cynical PR performer might have wished for.

Some might say that is exactly what Cameron is. I couldn’t possibly comment.


deiseach said...

Does anyone want to tell the Mail that British citizens living in Ireland don't get to vote in referendums in Ireland? This is because there is no formal referendum system in Britain like we have in Ireland. This is also the reason British citizens living here don't get to vote in Presidential elections.

No one wants to tell them? Okay...

Arnold said...

I wonder what would have been the result if English people living in Scotland had been excluded from the Independence referendum?

Hotel Europhobia said...

Last thing he remembers, he was
Running for the door
He had to find the passage back
To the place there was before.
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!"

Unknown said...

Ireland isn't in the Schengen area.

SteveB said...

So, people who can't vote in Parliamentary elections won't be able to vote in the referendum. Next breaking news? I predict the referendum will be on a Thursday!

But what they've missed is that ex-pats living in the EU will presumably be allowed to vote because they can vote in Parliamentary elections. They outnumber EU citizens living here and have just as much vested interest in the outcome.

Ireland wanted to join Schengen but would have needed to introduce proper border controls with the (non-Schengen) UK. Since their only connections to the rest of Schengen is by air/ sea with security checks which negate a lot of the "borderless" benefit it was more practical to stay as they were.

James said...

But what they've missed is that ex-pats living in the EU will presumably be allowed to vote because they can vote in Parliamentary elections. They outnumber EU citizens living here and have just as much vested interest in the outcome.

They won't. Certainly not all of them: anyone who has been out of the UK for more than fifteen years gets no vote, even when HMRC are still taxing them. The good people of Boston tipped tea in their harbour over that issue in 1773: why is justice denied to British citizens nearly 250 years later?