Written evidence submitted by David Burrage |
1. I write to you in the above referenced matter,
not only as a loyal British citizen who has been disenfranchised
of my national right of suffrage, but also on behalf of the British
Expats Association (Spain), www.ukgovabusesexpats.co.uk of which
I am the co-founder and legal adviser. We are the largest association
of its kind in the world, including at least one member resident
in the Republic of China, although the overwhelming majority of
our members are currently resident in Spain, which is where the
largest community of British expats can be found anywhere in the
2. We founded the Association with the primary
objective of advising British citizens of both their rights and
obligations under the law. To keep them together as one people
in the bond of our national identity and to fight abuse. We take
no money when assisting our fellow British citizens and fund our
Association from our own pockets.
3. There are many others who have made far greater
sacrifices for our nation, including the hundreds of thousands
who gave their lives in order that we could be free and live under
a democracy. What I set out here in no way detracts from the many
sacrifices made by those who still survive, not least their own
depth of feeling in this matter of national identity and suffrage.
4. As a British citizen who grew up in London
during those dark days of oppression in Europe during WW11 I consider
that I have earned the right to address the Select Committee which
is to sit on 13 October 2011 to hear views on the above matter.
Had time and circumstances permitted I should have been pleased
to attend upon the Committee.
5. As one who survived the blitz on London as
a child and having suffered all those indignities which accompanied
that period of our history. Sleeping under the stairs and never
knowing whether we would survive the night, we also served our
country, even though we were too young to take up arms to defend
democracy in Europe. In those dark days we pulled together as
one nation and had I been somewhat older, I too would have been
part of that force of so many of our gallant fellow men who liberated
Europe from tyranny.
6. Further, I spent almost my entire working
life in the service of the Crown under a sworn allegiance to Her
majesty our Queen. I accepted the Queens shilling with pride when
enlisting in the Regular Army during the "cold" war
and was on stand-by to be airlifted to that Suez debacle in 1956.
7. Following my military career I served almost
30 years in the Metropolitan Police Force, attaining a senior
rank. During my early police service I performed duty at electoral
polling stations. As a young policemen on the beat and later as
a detective I patrolled the streets of London at night in order
that our fellow citizens could sleep comfortably in their beds,
often removing our shoes in order to do so with stealth, walking
through dark back alleyways where the public would fear to tread
apprehending criminals, who were often violent. Later when a Detective
Sergeant I was advised I was to be put on the IRA death list following
arrests in a terrorist incident. I have been threatened with assassination
by an armed robber. I fought deranged persons when they were armed
with knives. I have had a knife held to my throat by a blackmailer
seated behind me in a car when I had accompanied the victim to
a meeting with him, although at that time I was more concerned
about the armed officers surrounding us. Even after my retirement
I have had a pistol pointed at my face and touching my nose when
detaining a notorious burglar. We performed our sworn duty without
a thought to our own safety.
8. I moved to Spain in my retirement.
9. I was active in the run up to the Political
Party's Voting and Referendum Act 2000 and during the passage
of that Bill I took very great offense at the fool who awoke from
his slumber in the Upper House and declared that British citizens
who absent themselves for more than five years can have no interest
in the United Kingdom. Whereas nothing could be further from the
10. I have been disenfranchised of my right to
a national vote, even though and despite of my devotion to my
homeland. I am also required to pay income tax in the UK on my
police pensionThe Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income)
(Spain) Order 1976. Not only am I bound by UK fiscal law, including
certain of the laws of testacy, I am also bound by certain of
the UK's criminal laws as a British citizen. I am also in receipt
of my full basic UK state old-age pension and have absolutely
no say in how my income taxed is used.
11. Taxation without representation is tyranny.
12. The United Kingdom along with Denmark are
the only two nations within the EU which disenfranchises its citizens
of their right to suffrage. This is not something for the British
nation to be proud of when at the same time boasting to be the
cradle of democracy. Even the F.R. of Germany, which disenfranchises
its citizens of their right to suffrage after 25 years of absence,
do not do so where their citizens have re-located to elsewhere
within the EEA or Switzerland.
13. My current situation is that as a Union Citizen
(Article 20 TFEU), with a right of free movement within the EU
(Article 21 TFEU), I do not have a national vote anywhere in the
world and cannot even take part in any referendum, even if it
is called to determine our future in Europe. Whilst Union citizenship
does not replace one's national identity, but rather compliments
it, such Union citizenship, where one's state of nationality does
not recognise a citizen in its democratic processes is meaningless.
14. I refer to my country as including all of
the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, especially since during
my working life I served and worked alongside men/women from all
parts of the UK.
15. I have voted at every election since I attained
the age of majority, save that I was not allowed my overseas vote
at the last election as I had exceeded the 15 year rule.
16. My birthright has been stolen from me and
I have been outlawed by the country I love and have served so
loyally all my life. Those responsible for taking away my birthright
have made me their enemy.
17. The situation in which I currently find myself
also breaches my basic human right of suffrage.
18. I have attached a petition
I had lodged with the European Court of Human Rights and it serves
as an indictment against the British Government that its citizens
have to look elsewhere in an attempt to seek justice.
19. There were those in that place who expressed
indignation over the proposition that serving prisoners should
not re-gain their suffrage rights. Those sounds we heard coming
out of that place represented a very ill informed response. If
you strip a prisoner of his basic right of representation then
not only does society de-humanize the prisoner it also de-humanizes
itself, it also reduces the likelihood of re-habilitation. It
also exposes prisoners to abuse, particularly where the majority
of prisoners are not serving time for violence. The outcry represented
the lynch mob mentality. Why do I say so? Well, I put many of
them there and make no apology for that. My work brought me in
daily contact with criminals, including a number of murderers.
In fact there are currently a few still serving. It may interest
the Committee to learn that I was the CID prison liaison officer
for the entire UK to HM Prison Wandsworth (1965-67). I do know
what it is like to spend a day up on the wing, but once they got
to know who I was the cat calling stopped. If you remove a person's
hope, you remove society's hope.
20. I should also remind this Committee of the
prophetic words of the late Sir Winston Churchill, who despite
many of his faults led our nation to victory at a time in our
history when we came so near to defeat. In October 1942 he wrote
to the British War Cabinet, "Hard as it is now to say, I
trust that the European family may act united as one under a Council
of Europe. I look forward to a United State of Europe." Further,
in 1947 the European Movement formed a committee and the following
May (1948) they organised a Congress of Europe at the Hague. This
Committee included members from 16 countries and the President
of Honour was WINSTON CHURCHILL. After that meeting a communiqué
was issued which read, "We desire a united Europe through
whose area the free movement of persons, ideas and goods is restored."
This is the opening sentence of the Treaty of Rome. It was from
the Council of Europe that the European Court of Justice emerged.
Not to be confused with the council of ministers to the EU Parliament.
21. Currently we are proposing a monument to
those merchant seafarers who gave their lives in two world war
conflicts. It is right that we do so, lest we forget, but at the
same time our Parliament has dishonored the memory of the late
Sir Winston S Churchill, whose effigy looks upon our Palace of
22. In two world wars, it was not only British
residents of our islands who took up arms in the defence of democracy,
it was also the many thousands of other British citizens who returned
home to defend their motherland.
23. Like so many of our fellow British citizens,
who have sought to spend some last years of our lives elsewhere
within the EU, I am now hoping to be able to sell up in Spain
and to return to my country of birth. Spending a few years in
another country can never replace the ties and depth of feeling
one has for one's homeland. Further, I have family in England
and visit regularly and on every visit I travel up to Westminster
and gaze at the office I once occupied at New Scotland Yard overlooking
our Parliament. I have also shown many visitors around London
with pride. It is my home and always will be.
24. I have attached a copy of my appeal,
on behalf of our Association, to the European Court of Human Rights
and I would be most grateful if you could prepare copies before
the meeting for those who are to sit on that Committee.
25. I have not addressed the fundamental principles,
as enshrined within the consolidated Treaty on the Functioning
of the European Union (TFEU), as I know you will already have
considered the proper effects of this treaty.
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