Newsbytheway's Blog

December 5, 2009

I’ve a right to vote in UK… But WHY??!!

A phone call has never been so significant in my life.  It gave me a right. It was from the British Electoral Registration Office.

Copyright: Mongo; Source: Flickr

A woman asked for my details to update the electoral list.  Surprised I told her, I don’t think I am allowed to vote. I am not British. She ignored my ignorance and replied impatiently,

“ Yes you are allowed to vote, you are from a Commonwealth    country. Can you please spell your name now.”

I obliged reluctantly, still not sure why am I allowed to vote. Is it because Britishers ruled India and now they are returning the gratitude by letting us vote? But I seriously doubt that the guilt feeling has anything to do with it.

Not only does it sounds strange, it’s dangerous as well.  I have been in this country for only few months. Before I landed in London, I didn’t even know who David Cameron was. I still don’t know much about Nick Clegg. (It’s a different story that he is non-existent for many Britishers as well.)

I am not aware of the history of the political parties here.  On what basis am I expected to decide whom to vote for?  It’s not a beauty contest where I can just pick someone on the basis of his or her cuteness. If that’s the criteria, David Cameron will win my vote, hands down.

And it isn’t a local council election where I can judge the candidate on the basis of his development plans for the county.  It’s a national election for God sake’s! My vote will decide who will the next PM of United Kingdom. The man will play a crucial role in international politics for the coming years.

Bias on nationality basis

And why exactly I have been given the right to decide? Just because I am a UK resident for a year belonging to a Commonwealth country I would have enjoyed the same right if I were from one of the European union countries.  But not USA. That means if one happens to be American, and has been working here for even 4 years, he/she can’t vote, unless he is a UK citizen.

Why such partiality? What are the basis for allowing some countries and not the others?  I am yet to find a reason. To have good relationships with these countries can be an argument but not a very good one. Will you give the ownership of your house to a guest who has just come for a night stay? No sane person would.

No other country gives this right to outsiders, unless they have the citizenship. Residency can’t be good enough.  Not good enough for me at least.  That’s why I am yet to cast my vote on whether I should be voting in the elections next year.

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