Saturday, 14 March 2015

The UK ... Quo vadis?

It is sometimes difficult to know where my place of birth is going, especially when viewed from two thousand miles away. Whilst we are now legal residents of Cyprus, and don't regret that for a moment, Ann and I take a close interest in what is happening back there. But the are times when words fail me and - to be brutally honest - if I hadn't emigrated, then I would be seriously considering it.

Politics has always been an interest of mine, and the current crop of self-serving "nose in the trough" breed of career politicians of all parties leaves me wondering whether - if still resident in the UK - for the first time in my adult life I would not vote. Even more significantly I can honestly say I would not know who to vote for.

I have always voted for the same party and, like a lot of people, that was down to upbringing and self-interest. Of course I always considered what was best for the country but it had to coincide with my own interest. Having spent most of my career teaching in independent schools, that meant that I could never have voted for the Socialists whose avowed intention was to abolish them. That would have been akin to turkeys voting for Christmas. The bearded sandal-wearing brigade never seemed to have a policy worthy of the name, and the "fringe parties" promised a wasted vote.

With the rise of UKIP, although a joke party in many ways, the complete demise of the Liberal Democrats (almost sure to disappear without trace this May) and with Labour's meltdown in Scotland, the prospect of a hung parliament is very real. Very few people will forget the thirteen years of Labour's borrow and spend, which left the UK in dire financial peril, but - to be brutally honest - the Tories have managed to alienate whole swathes of the population. So, if I was back in sunny Bexhill, for the first time in my life, I would be looking for the option on the ballot paper to vote for "None of the Above."

We are still entitled, in theory, to vote in the 2015 General Election. But the postal vote is seemingly biased against expat voters, and with the postal service in Cyprus as it is, our postal votes would never reach us and be able to be returned in time. Of course, as expats, we are concerned with the economy of the UK, and would hate to see the current strength of the pound against the euro reverse (self-interest again), but that is outside of our control. The debate about the Winter Fuel Allowance seems to have been decided and Ann will lose her allowance next year, unless the much-maligned EU steps in.

So UK where will you be this time next year? We care but cannot do anything about it.

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