Franchising Ulster Scots in Scotland?

There’s a remarkable likeness between David Hume’s call for Ulster Scots to have a vote in the upcoming Scottish referendum and Sinn Fein’s standing call to extend the southern franchise to Northern Ireland’s elective Irish citizens.

And they have even less chance of succeeding for more or less the same reasons. It would be seen as a rather disingenuous means of ‘packing’ the electorate in both place. Having said which, the question of who might constitute this electorate is fuzzy.

Do I get to vote, because of my Grandma, who was certainly Ulster Scot, though not a member of Dr Hume’s Orange Order)? Or is it just the descendants of those who signed the Ulster Covenant. Whatever else it may have been it was also a giant lobbying exercise.

Granny may have been pleased to have extended a Scottish franchise to her grandchildren, but Scotland will certainly lump this proposed democratic intrusion into the same historic bin where Irish governments have filed those sovereignty-bending proposals from SF.

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  • grandimarkey

    I had a quare chuckle over this when I read it.

  • Rory Carr

    Trimble is asking that the most staunch unionists in these islands be awarded a franchise simply fo determine whether or not Scotland become an independent nation or remain within the United Kingdom.

    I’m sure Alec Salmond will be delighted at the prospect of the inclusion of those who denied sovereignity to Ireland now having the bonus of denying sovereignity to Scotland in the decision making process.

  • The Gaels of Ireland have at least as strong a claim on a Scottish franchise as the ‘Ulster Scots’ – they actually speak a common language.

  • Dec


    A more accurate parallel to Hume’s nonsense would be inviting the worldwide Irish diaspora to have their say on any future border poll.

  • seal

    Like most Scots I find this story amusing to say the least. As a comparison would hard line Afrikaaners in Apartheid South Africa turn up one day in Amsrerdam expecting support due to ethnic links? Think not

  • seal

    Amsterdam even !

  • SK

    The Irish government legally recognises northern nationalists as citizens of the Irish republic. Does the Scottish government legally recognise northern unionists as being Scottish?


    Well therein lies the difference.

  • JoeBryce

    Underlying this is the simple basic reality: there is never going to be a United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK without Scotland is an empty husk for Ulster prods. Some serious thinking needs doing. This particular contribution may not be serious, but is at least indicates awareness of the need to contemplate big changes ahead. My view is that we should all start exploring in the new more relaxed post-GFA atmosphere what we would like to see in a new Ireland, in terms of consitutional change and northern devolution. Separation of church and state; a new flag and constitution; retention of consocial arrangements in a possibly 9 country Ulster devolved from Dublin. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

  • Mick Fealty

    Therein lies the reason they are less likely to win an external franchise.

  • JR

    Does this mean the world gets a vote in Kenyan/Tanzanian and ethiopian elections?

  • andnowwhat

    I’m just thinking of the documentary with Laird and Mc Elduff. Maybe Hume should check it out?

  • Dec

    ‘Does the Scottish government legally recognise northern unionists as being Scottish? ‘

    Don’t tell the Scottish Universities!

  • Paramo

    The comparison between Hume’s claim and that of Sinn Fein is a specious one.

    Firstly Sinn Fein have largely campaigned for northern Nationalists to be allowed to vote in the Presidential election. It should also be noted that the SDLP also wants this extension of presidential voting rights to northern Nationalists, something Mick doesn’t mention.As the Presidency is largely a meaningless, ceremonial role, this seems a resonable request. It is even moreso given the constutional recognition of anyone’s right in the north to be part of the “Irish Nation”. As the President is the representative of this Irish Nation why should they not be allowed to vote?

    Secondly, even if such a constitutional recognition didn’t exist, most other nations allow an absentee ballot to be cast by overseas citizens. That the south doesn’t have this is already an archaic arrangement and one which is going to be reviewed. If this review were to come into place then it would obviously need to involve some sort of reorganisation regarding voting in the north.

  • John Anderson

    The OO is the Frankenstein’s monster which the No campaign would like to keep locked up unless they have no other option to unleash it upon the world. Such ridiculous interjections based on some notion of a cross-territorial protestant blood lineage (if they have any impact at all, which is doubtful) can only help the Yes side. Regarding your remarks about the Presidential franchise Mick, surely a fairer comparison would be if a party called for people in the US/Canada of Irish origin to have a vote in that election. Irish citizens in Northern Ireland aren’t calling for a franchise based on any historical or genealogical linkage to the Irish state, merely because they are actual legal citizens of that state due to the location of their birth.

  • galloglaigh

    I wonder is he asking for Ulster Scot Protestants only, or can a fenian Ulster Scot like myself vote?

    I’d gladly vote for the SNP… Bring it on!

  • lamhdearg2

    galloglaigh is an Ulster Scot, noted.

  • qwerty12345

    Scots blood on both sides of my family too. One more independence vote here 🙂

  • qwerty12345

    I’d love to hear if the orange order would be for an extension of the referendum franchise to “Ulster Scots” of a non unionist persuasion.

    Is an “Ulster Scot” only an “Ulster Scot” if they are a protestant or Unionist? Serious question.

  • I think the key point here is the utter stupidity of the idea in the first place on the part of Hume.
    The counter arguments are entirely predictable, and correct.
    If his brainwave is extended to it’s logical conclusions, Unionism in general would be the loser.
    Did he not think this through at all?
    Did he not at least sound out colleagues?
    If this is the quality of the pro union campaign management Alex will be a happy man

  • qwerty12345

    Dr Hume said Ulster Scots “provided the first unifying force in Scotland in the 6th Century AD and we later extended Scottish influence to Ireland in the 17th Century”

    This is one very confused statement.

  • Reader

    lamhdearg2: galloglaigh is an Ulster Scot, noted.
    To be fair to them, ethnic nationalism isn’t an official part of the republican agenda, and no-one will be making galloglaigh uncomfortable about his ancestors.
    It’s just that some republicans are a bit less likely than others to go on about 800/300 years of oppression. Because there are additional nuances when you start to wonder what one G-G-G-Grandfather was doing to another G-G-G-Grandfather in the 1800s

  • IJP

    Hume’s call is so ridiculous, it’s even dafter than people who say they’ve always supported a “United Ireland” on geographic grounds admitting they support partition of Great Britain…

  • roadnottaken

    Mick, maybe in an effort to counter-balance one side’s argument against another’s, you could have perhaps put more thought into just which parallel you would draw.. Unfortunately the parallel you draw is just as ridiculous as Dr Hume’s initial proposal.

  • JR

    Anyone with a brain knows that going back 15 generations to the 1640’s each of us have 32,768 ancestors.The chances of anyone not having either a planter or a gael in his ancestory is practically zero.

  • JR

    Or indeed those who oppose the breakup of the UK on geographical grounds but support partition here…

  • Old Mortality

    David Hume’s intervention may well be fanciful but it does draw attention to the matter of who should be permitted to vote on national sovereignty.
    Launching the referendum campaign, Salmond referred to ‘the people to live in Scotland’, hardly a stirring call to arms, rather than ‘the Scottish people’, or just ‘the people of Scotland’. Was his choice of words a recognition that the people who live in Scotland are not all equally Scottish? Does the Pakistani shopkeeper think of himself as Scottish or the English couple retired to the Highlands? Salmond may have been trying to avoid the debate being poisoned by arguments about ethnicity but he may also have had in mind the thousands of Scottish-born living and working south of the border, many of whom may wish to return to Scotland at some stage. They might well resent the future of their homeland being determined by, for example, students from Northern Ireland with Irish passports while they are denied a voice, and their relatives in Scotland might share their indignation. It seems reasonable to assume that they would be more sympathetic to the Union.

  • Old Mortality

    I meant to write ‘the people who live in Scotland’

  • Dewi

    Old M – its about citizens, people who live in a place, rather than the old fashioned ethnic stuff.

  • GEF

    “Hume’s call is so ridiculous”

    Indeed IJP, what did this guy do his doctorate on?

    “Anyone with a brain knows that going back 15 generations to the 1640′s each of us have 32,768 ancestors.”

    Exactly JR, what if the SNP agreed, but on condition all Jocks with Irish ancestors were allowed to vote on an Assembly referendum should NI join the ROI? Would Dr Hume agree?

  • tiger feet

    Daft certainly, but is it a different species of daft from saying that residents of the Republic of Ireland should have a vote in saying whether Northern Ireland should be part of the UK or not, which was ostensibly what the Official and Provisional IRA’s were demanding for all those decades, and thereby the alleged “root cause” of the troubles? Albeit in that case in reference to a vote in 1918 on a different subject.

  • Eire32

    I’m really struggling to see “a remarkable likeness” here, Northerners have a right to Irish citizenship and SF are talking about a vote in the Irish presidential elections, hardly comparable to the Scottish referendum.

    “where Irish governments have filed those sovereignty-bending proposals from SF.”

    Watch that chance in the coming years as SF’s influence increases across the border, 18 pc of the vote in two recent polls.

  • Old Mortality

    This is not about ‘old fashioned ethnic stuff’. It’s about people who were born in a country having some influence on such a vital decision about its future.
    Many other countries allow non-resident citizens to vote in elections so it’s not unprecedented, and not impractical either since a passport or a birth certificate is all that is needed to determine eligibility.

  • Alias

    “The Irish government legally recognises northern nationalists as citizens of the Irish republic.”

    It recognises anyone who holds an Irish passport as an Irish citizen, whether they are born in Northern Ireland or in Canada. If you don’t hold an Irish passport then you aren’t recognised as an Irish citizen.

  • Reader

    Dewi: Old M – its about citizens, people who live in a place, rather than the old fashioned ethnic stuff.
    I don’t think there is a definition of a Scottish citizen – yet. There is a definition for an Irish Citizen, but many of them don’t have a vote in the Republic because they don’t live in the Republic. I’m a bit surprised that you fudged the distinction between citizen and resident. That was very sloppy.
    What the two causes have in common is that the respective governments don’t think that decisions should be made by people without a stake in the outcome.

  • Alias

    “Many other countries allow non-resident citizens to vote in elections so it’s not unprecedented, and not impractical either since a passport or a birth certificate is all that is needed to determine eligibility.”

    And many other countries permit flogging…

    In Ireland’s case, the disapora is greater than the number of citizens. If the democratic franchise was extended to those who would not live under the Irish laws that their franchise would duly determine, and who would not pay taxes to the state to fund the policies they would duly to determine, were allowed to so determine them then the citizens who do live within the state would not longer be able to determine their own affairs by virtue of being an irrelevant minority.

    In Northern Ireland’s case, it is a competitor state which would seek to use its franchise to promote its own interests at the direct expense of the Irish state, were the Irish state ever to extend the franchise to them.

    In regard to presidential elections, the key difference in the last presidential election would have been a mass-murderer installed as Irish president.

  • GavBelfast

    It’s just a stupid idea, if not an unexpected one.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, whatever became of Michael Martin’s idea for a “Certificate of Irishness” for the 70 or so million Irish diaspora?

    I’d be in favour of it if the fee was around £100 with a 5-year renewal date…

  • Reader,
    You are opening up a very interesting discussion about whether, in the event of Scottish independence, a new, written constitution should be drawn up.
    In my view it should however it is not a matter for me but the Scottish people

  • Grant

    It’s interesting that this wide-eyed and slather-mouthed opinion on Scottish Nationalism came at the day before JK Rowling’s added her own two cents worth.

    The inevitable unionism of an affluent Englishwoman living in Edinburgh, preceded by the idiocy of religious bigot speaking in Glasgow. A marriage made in heaven.

    Its easy to see why Nationalists are cynical about the agenda of so many unionists.

  • galloglaigh

    galloglaigh is an Ulster Scot, noted

    Being born in a stable, doesn’t make me a horse…

    Not only do I have Scots heritage, I also have Irish, Welsh and English ancestry. In fact, most of us have a diverse family history; that is, those of us who aren’t too close to our cousins!

    I can trace a line of my family back to south Wales during the ‘rein’ of the Liberator in Ireland. Another to Inishowen going back 150 years. My grandfather spent years researching it – Without the internet!

    Putting all that aside, I’m still an Irishman through and through!

  • galloglaigh,

    Interesting points. Of my Great Grandas, One is Scottish, one is Welsh and of the two others considered to be Irish, one is known to be of Scottish descent. One of my brothers has done a lot of historical research for a book to be published shortly and he is fully convinced that very few people in N.I. do not have Scottish blood flowing in their veins.

  • Mick Fealty


    There’s more than a quorum of unionists also scratching their heads over this one. It’s a poor dose of wishful thinking of which we are blessed with a surfeit… Pete sometimes refers to it as ‘political psychosis…

  • Old Mortality

    ‘.. inevitable unionism of an affluent Englishwoman living in Edinburgh.’

    And what would her agenda be? Or are you of the mind that any wealthy person is naturally suspect?

  • IJP

    Alias et al

    Actually, a lot of Republics allow all their citizens to vote in Presidential elections, most obviously France but also highly noteworthy ones (given diaspora) such as Russia.

    If anything, it is the norm.

    What would be unique would be allowing citizens outside the territory of the State to vote, but restricting that only to those resident in a particular other jurisdiction – in other words, restricting the ‘external vote’ only to Northern Ireland. That makes no sense.

    Thus, where Irish Nationalists fall down, yet again, is they refuse to come up with a concrete means of overcoming the obvious problem to which you refer – that the electorate would be based overwhelmingly outside the boundaries of the jurisdiction.

    On my own blog I proposed that this could be overcome by the introduction of a US-style Electoral College, where various other parts of the world would elect “electors”, as could, say, each of the Republic’s European constituencies or provinces. If you allocated 80% of these electors to the territory of the Republic and 20% ‘external’ (including, say, 10% to Northern Ireland), you have a system which may just work.

    But even that doesn’t overcome the fundamental problem – which is that the last thing most residents of the Republic want to do is give Nordies a say in such things…

  • JH

    Rory Carr
    “I’m sure Alec Salmond will be delighted at the prospect of the inclusion of those who denied sovereignity to Ireland now having the bonus of denying sovereignity to Scotland in the decision making process.”

    Brilliant quote!

    Proud Ulster Scot here, one more vote for independence 🙂

  • Alias

    IJP, there is no valid reason whatsover why those not resident in a state should in any way determine the affairs of that state. Residency isn’t just an add-on to citizenship…

  • Alias

    Incidentally, would those demanding bogus rights also conceed that they should, if granted, come with obligations? How many residents of a foreign state would choose to vote if they were obligated to pay a percentage of their income to the Irish state as a condition of the franchise?

  • Mike the First


    “Anyone with a brain knows that going back 15 generations to the 1640′s each of us have 32,768 ancestors.The chances of anyone not having either a planter or a gael in his ancestory is practically zero.”

    While the second sentence holds strong (and I appreciate the point you’re making), the first is likely to be quite an overestimate! Distant (or indeed close) relatives marrying each other has gone on for generations…

  • JH

    Careful Alias, you’re opening a door you might not want to open!

    I would happily pay for this franchise, provided the proportionate and corresponding cost of maintaining the British Monarchy was removed from the tax I pay to that government. Since you can only recognise one head of state, the extension of the franchise would remove any notion that that monarchy represented me anyways.

  • IJP, etc:

    I suggested on a previous Slugger thread that a workable compromise could be that people who have previously lived in the Republic could have their franchise extended for a limited period, say ten years. This could be justified by the argument that their emigration may be temporary and therefore it is reasonable for them to have a say in decisions that may affect them on their return.

    However Alias is quite correct in that there must be a balance between representation and obligation. It is no more defensible that people who have never lived in the Republic be given a vote there than it is for people who have lived all their lives in the state being denied one. Residency should always be the primary criterion for enfranchisement.

  • BarneyT

    JoeBryce – “…9 country Ulster devolved from Dublin..”

    I’d like to see something like that grow legs, sufficiently to achieve some sensible dialog. There would be no need for a new flag, as surely the present ulster flag (red hand n’all) is acceptible to both communities? Mind you, some take exception to the thumb sticking out 🙂 In the entire island (I believe) we identify with our county first and then our region…and then the country bit gets messy. However we define Ulster (9 or 6 counties) there is a shared ulster identity. About 100 years ago, did someone not propose home rule within home rule for Ulster? Personally I think a federal solution to Ireland is worth discussing, with each ancient province being self governed largely…….and perhaps we can satisfy the royalists by introducing am elected high Queen to resolve inter-provincial matters. Aint no way a king is going to work 🙂 Scotland has more hope of securing independence than we have of agreeing on the configuration of Ulster.

  • @Alias

    “If you don’t hold an Irish passport then you aren’t recognised as an Irish citizen.”

    Nonsense, you don’t need a passport to be a citizen. A citizen is entitled to a passport, that’s all i.e. you can be a citizen without a passport. Ken Bigley is a case in point. Didn’t have a passport but was recognised as an Irish citizen and then given a passport

  • JH

    Andrew Gallagher:
    “I suggested on a previous Slugger thread that a workable compromise could be that people who have previously lived in the Republic could have their franchise extended for a limited period, say ten years.”

    Who is the compromise with? The only people who oppose the extension of the Presidential franchise to northerners seem to be northern Unionists, who would never embrace the franchise anyways so what’s the problem?

    Some people just can’t get it into their heads that people live here, work here, pay taxes here and hold Irish citizenship, making the President of Ireland their President.

  • Alias

    “Nonsense, you don’t need a passport to be a citizen.”

    You do if you are born outside of the state, which is what the post referred to.

  • Alias,

    I cannot find anywhere in that document that you have to take out a passport to claim citizenship. However it frequently refers to “entitlement” to citizenship without saying how one exercises the title. Obviously getting a passport would settle it.
    (Perhaps I am blindsighting myself or some other document spells it out.)

  • Alias

    Joe, it is the act that “any act which only an Irish citizen is entitled to do” refers to.

    Incidentally, you’ll also need the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations 2005 to make sense of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004.

  • Thanks, Alias.
    I noticed that sentence and wondered if that was it.
    The second document you provided is a bit clearer, insofar as a “layperson” can make sense of official language. It says that to prove citizenship you must have one of “passport, national identity card, or certificate of nationality”.

  • JH,

    Who is the compromise with?

    The compromise is with the principle. No representation without taxation.

    The only people who oppose the extension of the Presidential franchise to northerners seem to be northern Unionists

    And southern partitionists. 😉

    people live here, work here, pay taxes here and hold Irish citizenship, making the President of Ireland their President

    The President of Ireland is the President of the State, not the island. Paying taxes to the UK exchecquer doesn’t count, does it?

  • BarneyT

    Regretfully Scottish citizenship is not immediately measurable..and if it was…we wouldn’t be having this debate. Equally being Ulster-Scots is just notional and merely indicates that you may have some lallans ancestry and perhaps a lack of attachment to the land you currently live in. To suggest this lineage gives entitlement to influence what should be a Scottish (residents) decision, is highly arrogant, and akin to large sections of the US having a direct influence on matters within England, Ireland and other parts of the world.

    The Scottish decision has no parallel in a Nothern Ireland context, should it be presented with the opportunity to leave the UK. Scotland is seeking to form a country in their own right, whereas any proposal for the North to leave the UK would most likely involve a repatriation with the Republic. On this basis, there would have to be a wider consideration, involving the entire island.

    The Scottish decision is for those that live in Scotland, and regretfully this will drag in those who recognise Britain before they do Scotland. Sadly this cannot be left to the real Scottish alone, both nationalists and unionists.

  • Alias

    It says that to prove citizenship you must have one of “passport, national identity card, or certificate of nationality”.

    Yes, when applying to the Department of Foreign Affairs for Irish citizenship. They therefore refer to the foreign state that issued those documents to the applicant and are required to prove that the applicant is entitled to be an Irish citizen. Clearly, you don’t need to apply for Irish citizenship if you already hold an Irish passport!

    For a person born within the state (those born in Northern Ireland are born with British nationality so this doesn’t apply to them), the situation is much simpler: a person born without entitlement to another nationality assumes the nationality of the state in which he is born.

    A person born in Northern Ireland after 2005 is entitled under Irish domestic law to become an Irish citizen (but is not born as an Irish citizen) if he or she or a parent applies to the passport office and duly qualifies etc but a person born in Ireland is an Irish citizen.

    Irish law has no extraterritorial affect, so it doesn’t apply to those in foreign jurisdictions. Hence, those in foreign jurisdictions have their status determined by their domestic law and, where applicable, international law. If they want to become an Irish or a Japanese citizen then that is a matter that requires action of their part.

    That said, only the Courts are allowed to interpret the law so you can flag the above accordingly.

  • BarneyT

    Ok Mr Alias, I am assuming you are in the East given the future time on your article 🙂

    Interesting piece, particularly regarding the inherited nationality and claiming your entitlement.

    Was it not true at one point that if you had a grandparent who was born pre-partition and you too where also born in what is not N Ireland, you were deemed to be Irish by right, irrespective of obtaining a passport (an Irish one clearly)?

    Quite often its hard to separate the heart from the head and many will lead with their hearts on matters of this nature, which has of course no bearing on ones actual status and entitlement.

  • BarneyT

    correction…”what is now N Ireland”

  • Hopping The Border

    “9 country Ulster devolved from Dublin”

    This the second time (at least) that I have seen you mention this Joe, perhaps you or anyone else could explain why you feel this could be a good idea?

  • BarneyT


    my view is that its worth considering. I’m an advocate of a true united Ireland ans ireland that all communities can share and feel part of. Key to this will be limited or no church involvement, which has blighted all parts of this island. Religion led the way north of the border for too many years too.

    A 9 county ulster would universally restore ulster. Many see Ulster as having 9 counties and being largely unaffected by the hiving off of the north-east counties. Others see Ulster as a 6 county entity, which is unfortunate. I’m an advocate of distributed democracy and localised accountability. I can see a 9 county Ulster (self governing region and sub-regions) as a entity that could encourage a shared identity in the north and also help transition into a united Ireland. It would have several adminstrative centres, such as Derry, Belfast and Monaghan perhaps who could serve local matters. The same model could be applied to the other 3 Irish provinces.

    A difficulty does arise with regard to head of state. I cant get round that one at the minute.

  • Hopping The Border

    Barney T

    County and district councils already exercise what I presume to be the vast majority of the powers you speak of.

    Notwithstanding the fact that people across this island appear to have a love of over-political representation why on earth would you want to create another level of government and the bureaucracy and additional public costs that come with it?

    But perhaps the more important point is why you or anyone else thinks that the three Ulster Counties in ROI would want anything to do with a government (even a regional one) infected with sectarian horsetrading and one in which the Christian fundamentalist right are given unbelievable and disproportionate influence in its largest party.

    The twenty six counties are just shaking off the last vestiges of an over bearing and over-influential Church in ROI, the last thing people want is for that to be replaced by another group of men seeking to do what they like and justifying it by referring to their own thoughts as God’s will/instruction.

  • BarneyT

    I can’t disagree, but one thought I had was that an extended Ulster would be more democratic, rather than the contrived 6 county state..which was designed to serve and protect one and only one community in the north. That would be an element of my thinking.

    I think the 26 counties could withstand and absorb the six up above without being subjected to a repeat religious intrusion, and with the republic being less threatening (haven shaken off the last vestiges…) to the bible thumpers in the north as a result of deshackling themselves to some degree, a better sense of Irishness would unfold, irrepective of faith. If Ian Paisley is telling his community that Carson taught them to be great Irish men and women (facts aside) this is not a bad sentiment coming from someone who was always regarded as a hate filled anti-irish biggot.

  • BarneyT

    oh with regard to local accountability and distributed government, I’d like to see 80% of the tax gathered locally…which can encourage accountability. So rather that widening government and creating additional layers, I would create governmental tax raising cells. We may not be equipped to support than though

  • JH

    Andrew Gallagher:

    My experience is that not all Southern ‘partionists’ would oppose the extension of the franchise to northerners. Most hold a northerner as one of their favourite and most successful presidents. I could be wrong but there ya go.

    My understanding is that the President is President of the Irish ‘nation’ and is not confined by the notion of statehood so strongly as the government is, not withstanding the role also forming one third of the state Government. In that respect the President can represent not just the electorate but Irish citizens overseas and, thus, those in other political jurisdictions 😉

    That said the argument is fluid isn’t it. The ‘no taxation without representation’ principle you mentioned surely would only apply if the President had the same right to stop a bill from the Assembly as s/he does with the Dáil. I mean anyone could chose to say that anyone represents them. I could elect that you represent me and that anyone looking for my opinion on something (who?) could defer to yours, right?

    The situation changes when large numbers of people in a jurisdiction elect to allow someone they can’t elect to represent them as a ‘President’. Then, in my opinion, there’s a definite argument that, should the people of the state s/he represents in government not object, they should be allowed to elect that person also.

  • paul kielty

    Stupid thread!

  • paul kielty

    Reality will be very sore for you within 20 years, just fight your base instincts, and for once, support the democratic wishes of the people!

  • Jacques Stadacona

    The premise of the article is erroneous, hence the deduction is understandably off-track.

    Extending the electoral franchise to Irish citizens in Northern Ireland is in no way comparable to a nebulous, quasi-racialized concept of ”Ulster Scot Scottishness”. Ulster Scots are a self-defined group, unrecognized in law by anyone. How, pray tell, is one to define who is an ”Ulster Scot” and who is not? Would Irish ‘Gaels’ not have the same right to vote in Scottish elections given the shared language between the Highlands and here, and the history of mutual immigration between Ulster (especially Donegal) and Scotland (the Gallowglass)? What extant legal rights would support the notion of ”Ulster Scots” resident in Northern Ireland voting in Scottish elections? Surely if Ulster Scots are to vote, anyone, with Scottish heritage anywhere, proven or unproven, should equally be entitled to do likewise?

    On the other hand, Irish citizens in Northern Ireland are recognized as such, under Irish law and the Good Friday Agreement. Furthermore, there is established precedence in international case law for those resident outside the delimited borders of a given state voting in general elections. For example, just this year French citizens in the United Kingdom and Ireland elected their own representative to the Assemblée Nationale; last year Latvian electors voted across Northern Ireland in that country’s general elections; examples of other countries which extend the electoral franchise citizens resident outside their borders are Tunisia and the United States of America.

    I’m afraid, in philosophical terms, the opening post is demonstrative of a most common fallacy known as the false analogy.