• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'We will win like the Suffragettes'

Rosie Scammell · 20 Sep 2013, 15:07

Published: 20 Sep 2013 15:07 GMT+02:00

“We had a war to bring back the vote to the people of Europe,” says Shindler, who was at the liberation of Rome in 1944.

The 93-year-old emigrated to Italy nearly 40 years later. As a European citizen he has the right to live in Italy, but he cannot vote in the country’s national elections without becoming an Italian citizen.

Many foreigners living in Italy face the same restriction and vote in their home country.

But for British people, once they have been living abroad for 15 years they are effectively cut off from the country’s democracy as they lose their voting rights.

Shindler has spent the past 12 years fighting to get his vote back, taking the case to British MPs and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

He lost his case at the ECHR in May and saw his appeal rejected earlier this month, but Shindler is determined to fight on and argues that the British government’s view is outdated.

“There’s no question that we’ve loosened our ties to the country. We have family and friends in the UK, we go backwards and forwards. I can get to London quicker by plane than an MP can from [the English city] Carlisle,” he tells The Local.

Furthermore, Shindler says that decisions continue to be taken by the British government which directly affect him - and other citizens who have lost their voting rights - over which he has no control. The 93-year-old draws a British pension, for example, while other expats pay tax in the UK.

Although he cannot get his vote back through the ECHR, Shindler has been busy campaigning in Brussels. On September 5th he and a number of other British expats met Viviane Reding, the EU’s justice commissioner, to discuss the issue.

“There are Brits all over Europe campaigning for this; at the end of the day, we will get the vote,” he says confidently.

Meanwhile, Shindler has been preparing the case to present to the UN. The British government’s law goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he says, which declares that everyone has the right to participate in their government.

Story continues below…

Shindler likens the expat campaign to that of the Suffragettes, who won women the right to vote in 1918. “Ladies organized and won the right to vote. We will do the same.

“The small men who deny us the vote will be forgotten, but we will have the vote.”

Shindler hopes he will have his voting rights back in time for the UK’s general election in 2015, almost a century after the Suffragettes won their battle.

Don't want to miss a story about Italy? - Then join The Local Italy on Facebook and Twitter.

Rosie Scammell (rosie.scammell@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Stress tests to show extent of problems at Italy's oldest bank
The ancient headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace

Stress test results for Europe's top banks come out Friday and all eyes will be on Italy's embattled Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) - the world's oldest bank.

Video
Tourists blame Google for drive in car-free Venice
Cars are not allowed to enter Venice. Photo: Screengrab/La Nuova Venezia

“Google Maps sent us this way.”

Italy launches hard-hitting campaign to put off migrants
Migrants arriving in Reggio Calabria, in southern Italy. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

People thinking about making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean are being encouraged to "make an informed decision" by a shocking Italian campaign.

Filthy Rome's rubbish problem 'fixed within a month'
Rome's new council say the city will be clean 'by August 20th'. Photo:Andreas Solaro/AFP

The heaps of rubbish on Rome's streets will be consigned to the dustbin of history next month. That's the plan, at least.

Pope aide investigated over child abuse claims: Australia
Vatican finance chief George Pell is being investgated by police. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Australian police said on Thursday they are investigating child abuse complaints against Vatican finance chief George Pell, but had not yet decided whether to press charges.

20 KG ice 'meteorite' destroys car in central Rome
Experts think the ice fell from the undercarridge of a jet. Photo: Olivier Cabaret

Investigators say the huge piece of ice probably fell from a passing jet plane.

The Local List
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
Photo: Alberto Fava/Flickr

When you move to Italy, you're bound to make a few mistakes before you settle into la dolce vita. Here are a few to look out for...

What we learned from Theresa May’s first visit to Italy as PM
UK PM Theresa May met Italian PM Matteo Renzi in Rome on Wednesday, Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

UK Prime Minister Theresa May was in Rome on Wednesday for a lunch meeting her Italian counterpart, Matteo Renz. The pair discussed Brexit, the migrant crisis and the terrorist threat facing Europe.

Two arrested over WhatsApp terrorism probe
The two men had been living in Italy for years. Photo: Raffaele Esposito/Flickr

A WhatsApp message mistakenly sent to a woman in Liguria sparked a full-blown terror probe.

Italian team finds vaccine against western diet's ills
An Italian team have discovered a vaccine that could protect against illnesses caused by the typical western diet. Photo: Alpha/Joe Flintham/Flickr

The vaccine could reduce incidences of type 2 diabetes and heart problems commonly associated with obesity.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
Travel
Escape the heat at one of these beautiful Italian lakes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Why the UK is now officially crazier than Italy
Culture
How you can stay cool like an ancient Roman
Lifestyle
Food for thought: fight on to save Med diet from extinction
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
From asylum seeker in Italy to organic yoghurt entrepreneur
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Fifteen maps that tell the story of Italy
National
Why Italy might be the next big threat to the EU's future
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Politics
Post Brexit, less than a third of Italians want to leave EU
Politics
The bright side of Brexit: the 'good news' for Brits in Italy
Culture
Eight wonderful things to do in Italy in July
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
British business owners in Italy feel Brexit jitters
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
2,579
jobs available