Thursday, January 25, 2024

I can vote! Well, not in Japan, but at least finally in the UK...

In 1982 I was too young to vote, you had to be eighteen in the UK. In 1987 I happened to be out of the country so missed that one too. By 1992 I was in Japan and we'd never heard of a postal vote (nor had any ability to sign up for it in the first place). By the time of the Brexit referendum I'd been overseas for more than fifteen years and so was disenfranchised under UK law. And although I've paid all my taxes in Japan (and we're talking a lot) the chances of me ever receiving the right to vote here could be compared to the survival opportunities of a gnat in a rather large volcano (and yes, I know I've used the polite version of the saying).

Until today. The UK rescinded the fifteen year overseas limitation recently and I've just signed up to join the electoral role. I know it's just one vote, which won't make a difference in any shape or form, but it's the principle for me. I can vote!! Might get it wrong but I can actually vote... Too bad I missed the referendum but there is a little bit of schadenfreude coming into play. Am hearing less and less about "it's all about freedom", but too late guys, past history. But I can vote now! Europe is not going to let the Costa Del Sol back in any time soon by the way. 

Now the next issue is a vote in Japan. I know I could change my nationality and have the right to do so, but it would also be a much longer queue at Haneda Airport. And I'm kind of proud of being British (for all out faults) and don't really want to go down that route. Maybe one day Japan will change to allow those who've been here a while, followed the laws (paid taxes as mentioned) but to be honest, the noise you can hear in the background is, proverbially, a certain hot place freezing over. Baby steps, but I can actually vote. And that is worth something as a first corner on the course.