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Sally's Journal -
April 2nd, 2008
09:11 pm

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I'm feeling so disenfranchised by the London elections.

Over the past two years it's been becoming my city. By far the majority of my waking hours are spent there. I've cycled the length of it from Lewisham to Archway. I've become the sort of person who tuts if people stand on the wrong side of the tube escalators. I shop in its shops, walk its streets, gaze from my office window at the London Eye, get nearly killed by bendy buses on a daily basis. I can give people directions to places, and often they're right. I even sleep there about twice a week. Every morning I cycle over Waterloo bridge and am hit with the great sprawling mess and glorious splendour that is my London.

But I don't get to vote. Because I live in Coventry. And it's just another way of the world pointing out to me that it's not my city.

[Oddly, the other day I was in a talk about Civil Service in the West Midlands, and the speaker asked people to put their hands up if they 'worked in London', 'worked in the regions' 'worked in the West Midlands'. And I wanted to scream 'I live in Coventry, isn't that good enough, they're my West Midlands too'. But it obviously isn't]

The moral of this cautionary tale is that living in two worlds just doesn't work; you end up not really living in either. Although you can have a lot of fun along the way.

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From:ashfae
Date:April 2nd, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
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I'm a legal resident and have been for years and will be for years, and I can't vote, and never will be able to unless I gain swear fealty to the queen and the like. Even though in day-to-day life I'm no different from any other person. Heigh-ho.

You can live in two worlds and belong to both. You're just divided, that's all. It's a balancing act that goes on for a long time.
From:yrieithydd
Date:April 2nd, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
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Interestingly, if I understood the implication of the nomination papers I saw today (for local council, but I'm presuming similar rules for London), you might be eligible to stand there by dint of having worked there as your principal only job for the past twelve months.
From:yrieithydd
Date:April 4th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
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Going to the Electoral Commission website, I find that I can download the guidance for London candidates which gives the qualifications which are indeed the same as those for Wales (mod certain changes for London not Wales)

2.3 The candidate must also meet at least one of the following four qualifications on the day they are nominated and on polling day:

  • they are registered as a local government elector for the Greater London area,

    or
  • they have been an owner or tenant of any land or premises in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day they are nominated, or

  • their main or only place of work during the last 12 months has been in the local authority area, or
  • they have lived in the local authority area during the whole of the last 12 months


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From:atreic
Date:April 4th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
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That would be great if I wanted to stand for Mayor of London, but less helpful if I just want to vote for Mayor of London.
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From:ringbark
Date:April 3rd, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
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I feel your pain: I live on Merseyside, but work in London full-time, sleeping there four (occasionally three) nights every week, travelling on the tube, complaining about the problems at Bank station...
The other day, I was handed a leaflet by a Johnson man with the words "don't forget to vote on May 1". But I can't vote for Boris on May 1. I can't vote against him, either! By now, I can probably talk more intelligently about the issues in London than the issues in Wirral. But that isn't the way it works...
Your last paragraph is completely right. Both halves of it.
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From:piqueen
Date:April 3rd, 2008 09:13 am (UTC)
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Out of interest, why aren't you registered to vote in the place you stay 4 out of 7 nights a week. Is it that it isn't always the same place?
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From:ringbark
Date:April 5th, 2008 10:45 am (UTC)
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No, I stay at a veriety of hotels across London, so I don't have a "permanent" address in the city. I may look at finding someone to "adopt" me as suggested elsewhere.
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From:naath
Date:April 3rd, 2008 10:32 am (UTC)
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My possibly incorrect understanding of the matter is that it is permitted to be registered to vote in two places so long as you never vote in the same election twice (that is you can't vote twice in the General Election but you can vote in both sets of council elections) - I never did this because I had no interest in politics in Chelmsford so I just voted in Cambridge, but I think I was probably on the electoral roll in Chelmsford and Cambridge for a bit.

So you should find someone who lives in London who doesn't mind you claiming to be part-time resident in their house and register to vote (although presumably it is too late to do so now for this election).
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From:midnightmelody
Date:April 3rd, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
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Not yet - deadline for registration is 16th April.
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From:atreic
Date:April 4th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
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I don't want to lie to the electoral role. a) because I think it's a bad thing, and b) because even if I didn't think it was a bad thing, it is a very very stupid thing for a civil servant or politician to ever do.
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From:robert_jones
Date:April 5th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
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Out of interest, if you did have a vote, how would you use it?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 5th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Go to a polling station and make an X on a piece of paper, is the usual way.

S.
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