Sunday, 18 April 2010

Seriously Britain, seriously?

Since I am officially (but not in practice) an adult, the nice people of Great Britain have entrusted me with a vote. I have never voted in anything very important before, having only been given the chance to express my opinion on things like parish elections. But this year. This year there is a


and I want to vote in it. I remembered something vaguely about my mum having put me on the electoral register, but then taken me off it because I emigrated, and then I got really annoyed because I can't vote in Finland and I have to feel like I make a difference somewhere (right?) and then she put me back on. At least she thinks she put me back on.

So I got down to business and went to the UK electoral register site thing some months ago and decided to apply for postal voting. They sent me a nice, hypocritical form.

Here's the form.

Anyway. The form wants me to go and find some other British person to confirm that I'm British and not in Britain. That would be okay, except I live in Finland which has about 6 entire British people in the whole place and I don't know any of them. There was a lecturer at uni, but I'd feel weird asking him to prove I'm an upstanding citizen and should be allowed to vote. And how would I know anyway that HE is an upstanding British person who has already registered to vote? How did this process work when there was only one British person in Finland? What did that person do? Who am I supposed to ask?

So sod that, I thought. I'm going to explain the dilemma. They are nice, reasonable people. And they were very nice and reasonable. They sent me a letter to Finland saying I'm very welcome to pop into their office at any time to discuss the matter. Except that their office is 1,412 miles (that's 2272km) away from me. Here are the google map route finder instructions for you to understand how impractical this would be for me.

Näytä suurempi kartta

See that? Three ferries and two massive bodies of water to cross. In case you're wondering why I didn't put in driving instructions it's because I can't drive and nor do I own a car. I'm just being realistic here.

So then I forgot about it for a couple of months and then Gordon Brown went and called an election and I was reminded of my unfounded desperation to vote for something and so I went and found out from a government website that you can vote by proxy. The form was neither hypocritical nor overly-optimistic of my social network. I filled it out and now I'm waiting to hear if my mum is allowed to go and vote on my behalf. Everything should be sorted.

Should. I felt confident. Everything is going to be fine. I totally owned this voting procedure.

But then I thought how do they know that the proxy voter is dutifully carrying out the vote I want them to vote for? What if I have some crazy nationalist tendencies and I want to vote for a horrible evil party and my mum feels the need to change my vote to a nicer and more sensible party? Who regulates that stuff? No-one's going to ring me up and ask if I actually meant to vote for that party, right?

The voting system makes me nervous.


  1. Maybe you can check out the International Students Org/Asso. at your uni and find another Brit there. I just had one visiting me these past few days but he's left via the route on your map now!
    Good luck!