3 Million British Residents Will Be Disenfranchised in Brexit

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23rd June 2016 is just four months away, and the question will finally be put to the people, should we stay or should we leave the EU?

While everyone is currently debating away, one particular group of people who stand to be most affected by the outcome of this referendum have been pushed to the margins; whilst free to debate, they will be barred from having a real say through the ballot box. European residents in the United Kingdom.

European residents in the United Kingdom will be the most disenfranchised group of people in the continent this summer. Many of them, despite having lived in and contributed to the United Kingdom for decades, will nevertheless be unable to have any say as regards the question of Brexit. This may well be a perfectly appropriate course of action – after all, they are not allowed to vote in general elections and may also account for rather large sum of predisposed voters.

Nevertheless, it goes without saying that this lack of franchise will leave a huge swath of people across the kingdom, numbering over 3 million, vulnerable come June.

Hector Goasguen, a Computer Science student here at Southampton, and French citizen said he considers the UK his home as he’s lived here for 10 years.

He shares the view of many that “I believe it is a good idea, but it needs some reform.” Yet while he believes the referendum is a good idea democratically, he fails to “understand why the UK is having such high doubts [about its membership in the EU].”

Notwithstanding all the rancour surrounding this debate, Goasguen retains a positive outlook.

I don’t believe they want to leave the EU because of the Europeans in the UK, at least I hope not. Most of them don’t see us as a threat, or as not contributing enough. Rather, other reasons including their ability to make laws and take decisions independently [seem to be the prime factors]. I’d vote to remain, but also make sure to be more informed than I now am. If anyone thinks there is a problem [with the EU], they should try to be at the negotiating table to make the necessary reforms rather than to quit and call it a day. I’ve never found the British prone to shy away from a challenge.

When asked if he’d vote differently if he were British, he shares that given the amount of time he and his family have lived in the UK (10-14 years) he could well have become a citizen and that he would have still voted no.

The Prime Minster, David Cameron is in one corner, while in the other, we have Mayor of London and prospective Tory Party leader, Boris Johnson. The former advocates remaining within a ‘reformed’ European Union while the latter believes the reforms the PM has mustered inadequate to merit continued membership. We’ll not know exactly what a Brexit will truly entail until well after the fact. Nonetheless, there are no shortage of personalities engaged in boisterously presenting their arguments as gospel truth.

 

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Kokulan Mahendiran FRSA is a passionate and entrepreneurial law student at the University of Southampton, with especial interest in politics, development and sustainability. He has completed graduate coursework at Harvard University, in addition to undergraduate studies at McGill University. Mahendiran has worked at the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust in Colombo, Sri Lanka and the House of Commons in London, UK. Highly active in civic life, he has been interviewed by various media outlets and has himself published op-eds in publications including the National Post, the Montreal Gazette, and the Huffington Post. He currently sits as a voting member of the University of Southampton's Senate. Mahendiran was recognized for his "outstanding service to the community" in 2013 with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and in 2015, awarded the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award, for his efforts "to help others and to build a smart and caring nation," by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, and nominated an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

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