Written evidence submitted by Brian Cave,
Pensioners Debout |
A PLEA FOR PERMANENT
1. I am Brian Cave, organiser of an internet
site (a so-called "blog") which is concerned with the
impact of rules and regulations, largely originating from the
UK Government and Whitehall offices on the lives of British
pensioners who have retired to the continent of Europe. This site
2. There are now about 430,000 British pensioners
in the EU. I concentrate on those in France which number about
54,000. The numbers increase yearly, even in these recessionary
3. You should understand that we pensioners all
have considerable interests in the UK. These usually have a background
of centuries of family history.
4. To understand this interest I will recount
my own connections.
5. Though my own immediate family was poor, I
have a history of the family Cave traceable through centuries.
On my mother's side one ancestor was a sawyer near Tunbridge Wells
and cut oak for the 19th century restoration of Westminster Hall.
6. I was born in the 1930's recession. My father
attempted to run a photographer's shop, which failed and he was
bankrupted. My mother then obtained charity from the Roman Catholic
Church to support her three children.
7. In 1939 I and my two brothers were evacuated.
I, the youngest, returned to London because my mother wanted me
close to her and I was there throughout the blitz. Our house and
yet another requisitioned house in which we lived were blasted.
8. Later I managed through scholarships to reach
Oxford where I read Botany.
9. I served for two years National Service as
a 2nd Lt. in the army.
10. I recount all this to demonstrate that these
British antecedents mean much to me. No way at all have I cut
myself off from my antecedents, my British backgroundnor
could I ever do that.
11. Later I established on behalf of the Gloucestershire
LEA an Environmental Studies Centre in the Forest of Dean.
12. Mark Harper is at this time my MP (Forest
of Dean). But if current absurd rules hold I will lose that representation
in August 2013. I will be dis-enfranchised.
13. Mr Harper is well aware of my activities
to attempt to achieve social justice for the expatriate pensioner.
I have exchanged correspondence with him for some years.
14. Today, naturally, my family ties to the UK
remain strong. I have two daughters who live in the UK and one
grand-daughter who is at school in Bradford. I am greatly concerned
for their welfare. My eldest brother is in a home in Northfleet,
Kent with dementia. It falls to me with the great support of my
oldest daughter to manage his affairs. I phone the home each month
to see how he is.
15. In short, I have a deep personal concern
for the way the UK is managed.
16. So many of the correspondents to my "blog"
have similar concerns.
17. Whether I myself will return to live in the
UKI am at present verging on 80I cannot say. So
much depends on the relationship of the UK with the EU and family
interactions. Many readers of "Pensioners Debout" will
return and want to know that it is a country which they would
be proud to live in.
18. This last point touches on my (our) awareness
of Britain on the world stage. I and my wife listen every day
to the British news on TV and radio. We watch Prime Minster's
Question Time every Wednesday. We are probably better politically
informed than the average person resident in the UK.
19. I and all expatriates in Europe have (or
should have) an enormous concern with the relationship of the
UK with the EU. It is vital to our welfare.
20. If you read the comments on the website [www.votes-for-expat-brits.com]
developed through the initiative of Christopher Chantrey, you
will see a large number of impassioned pleas for representation.
Yet many others are apparently just not interested.
21. Frankly, it is hardly surprising. It is an
extension of the reason why so few residents vote in UK elections.
But there is more one can add. If a law exists that you can only
vote for 15 years, it indicates that the politicians are really
not interested in us. Many constituency MPs are not interested
(I have recorded instances) in those who live outside their constituency.
Most constituency MPs have not the time to really analyse the
concerns which we have and which are the responsibility of Whitehall
22. This has been examined by me in an article
on my blog.
I urge you to read this. It firstly demonstrates the great importance
of representation for expatriates in Europe to the Westminster
Parliament and then explores the world-wide significance of British
23. The international regulations that affect
the expatriate which are passed by Westminster, do not have the
interests of the expatriate at heart but reflect the views of
the professional civil servant of the interests of the Statenot
ours, who nevertheless are bound by these rules. Never is the
question asked in the corridors of Whitehall "What is the
effect of this treaty/agreement on the lives of the British expatriate?"
I have covered these aspects in the above reference.
24. It is my view that we need representation
of the expatriate for the expatriate preferably by an expatriate.
In my view our own representative MP/MPs would serve us best.
That issomeone who knows our special concerns as British
Citizens abroad (especially in the EU) and will do his/her best
to represent us at home.
54 http://pensionersdebout.bspot.com/2011/08/to-abritish-expatriates-everywhere.html Back