London – Undemocratic, this is the right word describing the British electoral system which excludes its citizens living abroad and EU citizens in UK from general elections. Look at the electoral register and see people from Antigua, Bahamas, Botswana, Zimbabwe and all the Commonwealth countries can have their say on who rule the UK.
The ‘post-imperial’ electoral system gives ex colonies citizens the right to vote in the country which once exploited their own, and this is absolutely right and fair. But it is utterly unjust citizens from the neighbouring countries living in the UK and the British abroad (who lose the right to vote after a number of years) are excluded from the democratic process by the law since 1969. Why? Is it just for chance or this is the result of the British crossparty establishment’s ‘domestic defence policy’?
The answer is complex and touches the very founding process of democracy. Every political establishment, in every country, defends itself from whom considers, and wrongly classifies, as defector. This means those who flee their countries of origin are perceived as potential political defectors able to detect the structural, systemic failures of political systems in the countries they left: people emigrate when understand there is no hope for change. But why then Indian or Pakistani, for instance, living in the UK take part to national elections and have MPs representing their communities in the House of Commons while European origin and British expats don’t?
Firstly because they are from former colonies and Commonwealth citizens, secondly because nearly all Commonwealth countries (except for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and perhaps few others), are not democracies comparable to the EU ones (exceptions here as well starting from Hungary) therefore people from Nigeria or Malawi have de facto a different political awareness and might not be able to promote changes in the structural system of an advanced democracy such as Britain.
Today the campaign to give British citizens living abroad and EU citizens in UK full political rights launched by Another Europe is Possible, The 3 Million and British in Europe marks a radical change in support of democracy in Great Britain, and goes far and beyond Brexit. The fight is for a fair and just society representing all and for a political system no longer allowed to hide and perpetrate exclusion in the name of a dead ‘post-imperialist’ establishment.