Highlighting our fresh programmes (see Podcasts) and our comment piece of the week:
EU residence in the UK, & vice versa - the democratic deficit
We've heard a lot over the last few days about the rights of EU nationals to stay in the United Kingdom and vice versa: but no mention of the democratic deficit that accompanies these arrangements.
Migration within the European Union is not accompanied by enfranchisement. Someone who has lived in the United Kingdom - perhaps for many years - but understandably wishes to retain their original nationality, is denied a vote in every General Election and, indeed, was denied it in the Brexit referendum. It’s the same all across Europe too. Of course they could vote in the country they’re from, but if you’ve lived somewhere else for over 5 years it’s natural that you’d rather vote there.
There are over 3 million non-UK passport holders from countries in the European Union living in the UK who are disenfranchised in this way, and this is multiplied many times over across Europe as a result of freedom of movement, whether caused by will or economic necessity. The irony is that if these 3 million people had been allowed to vote in last year's referendum it is very unlikely that we would be spending the next couple of years negotiating Brexit.
Affluent Europeans treat freedom of movement as if it’s a lifestyle choice, rather than an economic necessity. They can therefore be remarkably unsympathetic to the stress that it causes, not only for the migrants themselves but also for the migrants' new neighbours.
We should all be pleased that France has secured political stability, probably to be followed by Germany later in the year, but the strains in the Eurozone will only grow unless it introduces a directly-elected Head of State with a mandate to spread wealth and eliminate the democratic deficit.
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