Brexit—what have they done?

Note the third-person form of this post’s title. That’s because I didn’t vote in the recent referendum. That’s not because I couldn’t have voted, if I had truly wanted to, but to do this I would have needed to become a British citizen first, and this takes some advance planning. I never, truly, deeply, felt that I needed to become British officially. I am British in all but name—I’ve lived and worked here for nearly 30 years; this is my home—but I am also European because I’m French, and with British people being also European (still so, for the time being), I felt that we all belonged in the same place.

Should I have been able to vote? That’s a bit of a moot point now, but it’s arguable that as a long-term permanent resident (and productive member of society), I should have been able to. I have as much at stake as any other resident, citizen or not. I have at least as much at stake than citizens who are not resident, yet they could vote and I couldn’t.

To people who might object by saying that it was a British matter, concerning the UK, and that only British citizens should vote, I will say that I cannot entirely disagree. Yet, how long do you have to live somewhere to be able to participate? With my track record, shouldn’t I have been given the right to vote too? All the UK citizens who have made their home somewhere else in the world were entitled to vote (ok, technically, only if they had been away less than 15 years), even though they might never come back. Sure, they may well be directly affected, for instance because they are drawing a pension from the UK, but conversely they might not be affected whatsoever, but could vote, yet here I am being directly affected, but couldn’t vote.

I suppose I can only blame myself: if I had really wanted to vote, I should have become a British citizen a long time ago. Living here and being European turned out not to be enough after all.

About Philippe Lasnier

A French- and British-educated professional software engineer with over 33 years of broad experience and a solid history of developing high-quality software for large and small companies across a range of applications and different industries; particularly experienced in C, C++; the development of middleware, internal components, core code, and APIs; solo, in a team, or as lead of small teams. Recognised for high-quality development, great attention to detail, keen analytic and investigative skills. Bilingual, English and French, just in case you were wondering. Philippe currently works for Spirent Communications, but in any case, the opinions here are his own.
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