Sunday, 16 December 2007

Passionate about politics and without a vote

This Autumn saw the 16th anniversary of us living outside the UK. To be able to vote in UK parliamentary elections you must have been resident and on the electoral register in Britain no more than 15 years previously. I'm still a member of the Labour Party - yes I know boo hiss - though given the recent funding scandals and general mess I'm not sure how much longer overseas members will be able to continue having some kind of voice.
As an EU citizen I have a vote in local elections in France and also in Euopean elections but no say in national politics either here or in the country I have a passport for. I'm beginning to realise that I find this quite disabling. Campaigning politics was part of my life until we moved to Geneva. We've been away from Britain for all of the Labour years and now as it all goes pear-shaped I can almost not bear it. I still do not understand how a Labour government could have taken us to war in and with Iraq. The delusion of Mr Blair "I believe I did the right thing"... And yet where politics in my home country are concerned I am completely tribal. I suppose I might just manage to vote Green one day, or Lib-Dem perhaps but I could only consider voting Tory if it meant keeping the BNP out or something like that and even then I'd probably abstain. The sort of choice French voters faced in 2002 when Le Pen was up against Chirac for the presidentials, not quite sure what I'd have done if I'd had a vote, the French Evangelical Mennonite Church - where I was preaching on the morning of the second round vote - issued a strongly worded statement saying that Monsieur Le Pen's views were in complete contradiction with the message of the gospel and calling the faithful to vote.
Anyway on Friday we registered again at the Mairie in Ferney to vote for the municipal elections, next year I'll have a vote again. Of course those I vote for normally lose...