Who should elect a national government?

Migration Watch UK wants Commonwealth citizens removed from the UK franchise restricting it to British citizens and to the citizens of the Republic of Ireland and the small number of Commonwealth countries that provide reciprocal voting rights. They argue this group accounts for nearly a million voters, large enough to effect an election result. Iain Dale wants to go further and bring the Irish into line with other EU citizens and remove the right from Irish citizens resident in the UK to vote in a general election (regardless of the reciprocal arrangements).

  • joeCanuck

    If you are a legal resident and liable to taxes, you should have the vote.

  • kensei

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this only apply to people who are properly resident in the country and pay taxes etc? Then the present reciprocal arrangement seems not just sensible, but desirable.

  • “… remove the right from Irish citizens resident in the UK…”

    What of the hundreds-of-thousands of residents of NI who exercise their right to claim Irish citizenship (e.g. by acquiring an Irish passport)? Under Dale’s ‘scheme’, are they to be denied a vote in the UK general election despite having been born and raised within what is technically the UK? That’s hardly ‘democracy’.

  • Magnifico

    “… remove the right from Irish citizens resident in the UK…”
    Sounds like a Unionists wet dream.

    two votes said…

    I’m an Irish citizen living in Edinburgh and have enjoyed the dual mandate for 10 years now. I even vote SNP to try and break up the union from within!

    Clever boy.

  • Ziznivy

    No, because whether they acknowledge it or not they are also British citizens.

  • No, because whether they acknowledge it or not they are also British citizens

    Not true actually

    Under the 1981 Nationality Act a lot of Irish people in the North, myself included, may be entitled to British citizenship but are not so automatically.

  • Dec

    No, because whether they acknowledge it or not they are also British citizens.

    Ziznivy

    Of course, by that logic you’re also an Irish citizen, whether you acknowledge it or not.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    IIRC MigrationWatch are an insidious little bunch of xenophobes who’ve realised that a bit of clever branding can make you appear to be some sort of official quangoesque body, as opposed to a highly vocal pressure group (and in doing so appear to have simply copied Mary Whitehouse’s NVALA which rebranded as MediaWatch) – in which case – regardless of the validity or otherwise of the point – is anyone in power likely to pay them the slightest bit of attention?

  • kensei

    Also – if it was decided that they wanted to interfere in each others elections, by deciding Plantation was a actually a great idea or something, who is coming off worse in that bargain – the UK with a population ~ 60 million, or Ireland with ~ 5 million?

  • GavBelfast

    If you are a legal resident and liable to taxes, you should have the vote.
    Posted by joeCanuck on Apr 18, 2007 @ 11:24 AM

    That seems fair enough.

  • Dev

    If you are a legal resident and liable to taxes, you should have the vote.
    Posted by joeCanuck on Apr 18, 2007 @ 11:24 AM

    Indeed, if a government is willing to take tax from you then of course you should be allowed to have an influence on how that money is spent and by whom.

  • George

    Chris,
    Under the 1981 Nationality Act a lot of Irish people in the North, myself included, may be entitled to British citizenship but are not so automatically.

    Not quite. The way I read it is that you are not automatically entitled to British citizenship but once you are entitled, you are automatically a citizen.

    From the 1981 Act:

    s 1 Acquisition by birth or adoption.
    1) A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement, or in a qualifying territory on or after the appointed day, shall be a British citizen if at the time of the birth his father or mother is —

    (a) a British citizen; or

    (b) settled in the United Kingdom or that territory…

    Note the use of the word shall, which means that as you are entitled to be a British citizen due to the facts your parents either qualify under (a) or (b), you therefore are one.

  • eranu

    el mat, that NI people with irish passports thing is a bit of a weird one alright. in my opinion its a bit silly and only humours the make believe world of irish nats/reps in NI. the make believe world is where people never call the state they live in ‘northern ireland’. they say all sorts of other names if they have to refer to it. they like to pretend it doesnt exist. they also pretend they live in a country called ‘ireland’ with their capital being dublin. as if the island was a single country. you know the mindset im talking about?
    usually people who are a citizen of a country are born there, or they have lived there a sufficiently long enough time. the loop hole that allows northern irish people to claim irish citizenship just doesnt make sense in the real world. i mean, they werent born there (the republic), they dont live there (the republic), how can they think they’re a citizen? weekend visits to a country doesnt make you a citizen as far as i know !

  • eranu-

    ” in my opinion its a bit silly and only humours the make believe world of irish nats/reps in NI.”

    It’s not make believe- we are Irish.

    “the make believe world is where people never call the state they live in ‘northern ireland’”

    See my previous post- note the use of term ‘NI’.

    “they say all sorts of other names if they have to refer to it. they like to pretend it doesnt exist”

    See my previous post- note the use of the phrase “what is technically the UK”.

    “they also pretend they live in a country called ‘ireland’ with their capital being dublin. as if the island was a single country.”

    It is a single country. The capital is Dublin. The imposition of a false, geographically and historically unjustified, border by a foreign parliament after WWI does not change that one iota.

    “usually people who are a citizen of a country are born there, or they have lived there a sufficiently long enough time”

    And most of those in the north have lived in Ireland for perhaps all their lives- note the name of the the place: ‘Northern Ireland‘.

    “the loop hole that allows northern irish people to claim irish citizenship just doesnt make sense in the real world”

    It is not a loophole. Have you heard of the Good Friday Agreement?

    “weekend visits to a country doesnt make you a citizen as far as i know”

    Again, one living in the north does not have to visit the southern countiesd to be in Ireland- one already is in Ireland.

    I really don’t know why I bother responding to such rubbish.

  • eranu

    el mat, im not saying we’re not irish. ofcourse everyone in ireland is irish. unionists who say they’re not irish are completely round the bend in my view. ‘not irish citizen’ is however completely correct. NI is not ‘false’ as you say, it exists. trying to call it false is part of the make believe reality that i was describing. im just saying that it doesnt really add up to allow people citizenship when they arent from, or live in, the country (country being defined by its borders).

    heading home now so cant reply.

  • kensei

    “not irish citizen’ is however completely correct.”

    Except it is entirely wrong, because my passport says otherwise. If you are going to make a claim, try not to make it possible to prove it is false.

    “NI is not ‘false’ as you say, it exists”

    As I stated on a previous thread, the state does not define identity.

  • Ziznivy

    The ROI can confer citizenship on whoever they please. That conferral doesn’t negate the stated fact that those who were born here are automatically British citizens whether they have a passport or not. That passport is merely a document to prove citizenship, not having a British passport doesn’t prove squat.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    What if John from Belfast turns up in the British embassy in say, Paris asking for help and when asked for his passport produces an Irish one, aren’t HM’s diplomatic service going to send him down the road to the Irish Embassy?

  • Cahal

    Again being lectured on our identity. Yawn. Each to their own.

  • IJP

    El Mat

    It is a single country.

    Who says?

    The capital is Dublin.

    Who says?

    Cahal

    Who’s lecturing you on your identity?

  • hotdogx

    eranu, Norhtern ireland is quite a recent and unnatural invention borne only out of a rag tag of colonialism and an unwillingness to accept the democratic wish of the Irish people. The fact that there might be a border today does not mean that people who were born north of it are any less irish than i am. In fact anyone born in ireland with at least one parent who was born here is irish at least to some point, be it anglo irish or just irish. This is in the constitution of our country and also in the proclamation. So people in what today happens to be NI are just as irish as me if you dont believe me ask your buddies the brittish, they’ll call you paddy/irish no matter where in ireland you are born. I dont mind if the brits reduce our status of voting in the uk, but in NI an exception should be made since it is on the island of ireland it is only natural that there are a lot of irish people…………
    logical dont you think!!!!

  • Cahal

    IJP,

    I really, really cannot be bothered having htis conversation again. But here goes…

    You believe that a unique six county Northern Irish identity exists.

    I don’t. In fact I believe many unionists would like to manufacture such an identity as a way of justifying the seperate existence of the northern state.

    The fabrication of a seperate identity to the rest of the country has been the implicit goal of media outlets in the north for decades; it has failed in my opinion and continues to fail.

    I think your motives are a bit more benign. However what you descibe as ‘Northern Irishness’ sounds more like ‘East of the Bann Unionist’ to me.

    Anyway, I really don’t give a fying fluck what people ‘feel’ they are so long as they don’t try to tell me what I am. Surely as a ‘liberal’ you can understand that.

  • IJP

    Cahal

    Surely as a ‘liberal’ you can understand that.

    You’re quite right.

    But even Liberals can’t deny reality!

    Northern Ireland has common but unique issues, many but not all are a legacy of a social division and a conflict which our neighbours do not share.

    Frankly, there are things you and I have in common with people in South Tyrol or Transylvania (socially divided with different national affiliations), which we do not have in common with the Republic or England.

    There are three big political groups in NI – Unionists, Nationalists, and Realists…

  • kensei

    “You’re quite right.

    But even Liberals can’t deny reality! ”

    Well, you seem quite happy to it by suggesting there is some unified “NI” identity.

    “Frankly, there are things you and I have in common with people in South Tyrol or Transylvania (socially divided with different national affiliations), which we do not have in common with the Republic or England.”

    Social problems do not an identity make. The state does not define identity, the identity defines the state

    “There are three big political groups in NI – Unionists, Nationalists, and Realists… ”

    As pointed out before, you are Unionist, IJP. Even ignoring your bases, your policies etc for a second – we are not far off he point where if the Alliance came out and said in whatever flowery nonsense language it liked that a UI was the best bet for the future then it would move it to being a much more realistic prospect, as traditional Unionism is very shortly going to become a plurality and not a majority. Would you do it, even if there were strong arguments for it? No, why would you – your entire position rests on controlling the balance of power between traditional Unionism and Nationalism. that power base disappears in a UI.

  • Chesney Hawkes

    “It is a single country. The capital is Dublin. The imposition of a false, geographically and historically unjustified, border by a foreign parliament after WWI does not change that one iota.”

    Yeah and the Taiwanese government is the true government of China.