19th February 2012

So many opinions about British expats are stuck in the dark ages.
For some time a small group of British expats have been campaigning to get the Winter Fuel Allowance for British pensioners who don't qualify, like me. One of them, Brian Cave who lives in Gourden, reports how at long last the plea has reached parliament via a House of Lords debate from Lord Lexton.  They need to know what conditions are like for some of us. Truth is, there's 54000 of us here in France, many having moved because of the cheaper house prices, many existing solely via their British old-age pensions. 
What does citizenship mean? Shouldn't working and paying taxes all your working life guarantee payback at pension age (wherever you subsequently live?).  If I take out insurance from a private insurer, country of abode at payout time is irrelevant. It's clear that the citizenship of British expats is recognised by paying the basic state pension, so it's therefore illogical to discriminate by withholding add-on benefits enjoyed by pensioners still resident in Britain. Other countries, like France, even give their citizens living abroad their own government representatives.  
How to change the way the resident British public view the Briton Abroad?  We all should follow the lead of 90-year old veteran Harry Shindler in Italy, who has a case before the European Court of Human Rights.  He's visiting England in May to meet some MPs. Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!' 

(Olga needs to take a break:  see you all again in 3 weeks).

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