The number of voters who live abroad, who polled at the General Election was about 25,000 according to some sources. As 6 million Britons are now dotted around the globe, most of whom are still entitled to vote, this seems to be a very low figure. Labour reduced the time spent abroad to fifteen years, as the permitted maximum to still qualify, but that would still be 3 million people.
No effort was made to make voting easy by Embassies in 2010, which could have helped to increase the numbers considerably from 25,000, if they had done. If there were polling stations set up in major conurbations, and meetings held, it is not inconceivable that perhaps 500,000 lost voters could be regained in the future. That would easily be enough to change the result of a British election.
If it was imagined that these voters would be mostly Labour supporters, you can bet that Blair and Brown would have insisted these voters were brought back in before, with sufficient organisation put in place. You can only conclude that overseas voters would be mostly Conservative, from the fact that Labour let these voters stay out of it, and took steps to limit their numbers.
The new initiative taken today by Nick Clegg to find overseas Lib Dem voters is the first sign that this sleeping yet potentially explosive electoral battlefront is going to be opened up. Labour election planners will not be pleased.
EXTRACT – “In response to requests from our many supporters overseas and reflecting the Party’s internationalist outlook, we have decided to set up a new organisation called Liberal Democrats Abroad to connect with our members and supporters living overseas.”
Today Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched Liberal Democrats Abroad, a network of branches for party members living outside of the UK.
Commenting, Nick Clegg said:
“In response to requests from our many supporters overseas and reflecting the Party’s internationalist outlook, we have decided to set up a new organisation called Liberal Democrats Abroad to connect with our members and supporters living overseas.
“Our aim is to ensure that Lib Dems living overseas can stay in touch with the Party in the UK and make certain that, in return, the Party understands the concerns of its members overseas.
“We will also encourage our members and supporters to register to vote in the UK.
“To this end we will set up a network of Lib Dems Abroad branches in as many countries as we can. We will then give them our continuing support.”
What with proper voter ID, equalised consituencies, and good overseas voter organisations being estabished, Labour might be lucky to get elected ever again. That would need the coalition to survive though.