Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Irish Should Not Be Able to Vote in UK General Elections

Anders Hansen, a LibDem blogger, agrees with Migration Watch that Commonwealth citizens should lose voting rights in this country. I would go a step further and remove voting rights from Irish citizens resident in the UK in General Elections. It's an historical anomoly which should now be cleared up. Don't anyone accuse me of being anti Irish, but if we can't vote in Ireland, can someone explain to me why we should allow the Irish to vote here?

UPDATE: Many apologies. Apparently I've got this slightly wrong. Readers in the Comments have pointed out that UK citizens can also vote in Irish general elections. Even so, I my point still stands. I do not believe that citizens of a foreign country should be able to influence the election of our government - nor should we be able to influence theirs.

84 comments:

BUCF said...

Precisely, independence means independence. We wouldn't stand for the French voting in our elections!

Birmingham University Conservative Future

Anonymous said...

Except that since 1984 UK citizens have been able to vote in Irish elections. Fully reciprocating the 1949 law that allowed ROI citizens to vote in UK elections. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninth_Amendment_of_the_Constitution_of_Ireland

Anonymous said...

Even Migrationwatch managed to get their facts right on this one: "The right to vote in general elections should therefore be confined to citizens of the UK, Ireland and certain West Indian countries that reciprocate"

http://migrationwatch.com/pressreleases/pressreleases.asp?dt=16-April-2007

Alan said...

Iain,the SCOTTISH and WELSH should not be able to vote in ENGLISH elections, as there is no reciprocosity....

Go on, sort that one out ! Talk about the celtic tail wagging the anglo-saxon dog !

Alan Douglas
who votes here because he is an Eire citizen.

wonderfulforhisage said...

It's not as bad as unelected foreign nationals in effect making our laws.

Here's to Ukip say I.

Voyager said...

Lakshmi Mittal could technically vote in Britain as an Indian national....no real benbefit in citizenship rights here...British is just a rub on transfer

Remember if you can vote you can stand for office

Teesbridge said...

To be fair to the Commonwealth countries, they have some of the best electoral systems money can buy.

I'm sure any British citizen can vote in the Nigerian elections for example, so long as the dollar bills are small and non-sequential.

allan said...

I think the US being able to extradite our citizens and us not being able to extradite theirs should probably be of more concern to us...

Anonymous said...

Alan what the hell are you talking about? Scottish people living in England can vote in England and English people living in any other nation of the UK are allowed to vote in elections there!!!

Yet more lies from the English nationalist mob.

more vulgar than a vulcans vulgar said...

Anon 3.22am

I cannot verify that link.

And is that for local or general elections?

I do not agree that UK/Irish should have reciprocal voting rights. If you're not a subject of the British Crown, why should you have any right to choose its government?

Slightly different with Commonwealth countries who have the Queen as head of state. Have no real issue with that.

John Bull said...

Universal suffrage - that's when the rot set in in this once great country. Don't get me started.

Casual Observer said...

The only reason that the scope of the franchise hasn't been sorted out is because it is in the interests of the present government to preserve the status quo for as long as they can to preserve themselves.

The sooner the UK sorts itself out the better. These anomalies just feed the anti-union debate and nationalism in general.

dynamite said...

Really, John Bull? I tend to think that life is rather better in Britain than it was in 1918.

Ed said...

I think there are more important issues of the day to contend with, and there probably have been since 1922 which is why no changes have been made!

EU and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK can vote in local and European elections. I think it's a good way of encouraging engagement with the political process.

Maybe Iain would return us to rotten boroughs so he could buy his way into parliament ;-)

Ordovicius said...

I was able to vote in Ireland when I lived there. I didn't, because I've still no idea what Fine Gael and Fianna Fail represent politically. But I could have.

davkeh said...

Iain

There are reciprocal voting rights between Ireland and UK. If you were resident in Ireland you could vote in all elections - not just local/European elections

It is historic link but so are many of links between the two countries!

john bull said...

dynamite @ 9:04

Sir,
Those fine men who fell in the Great War did so for their country. For the England that they loved. They have been betrayed, Sir, by people like yourself.

Ed said...

Mr Bull they may have been betrayed but do you seriously think that women should not be allowed to vote?

Perhaps they should have been excluded from working in the factories and on the buses etc. during the war as well? Would it have ended in the same way had the been so excluded?

dynamite said...

John Bull, I'm pretty sure most of them thought they were fighting the Kaiser, not the idea of letting women vote...

<> said...

Erm... what on earth made you bring up this comment Iain? Have you have your drive resurfaced and it didnt turn out too well?
At the moment in this country I do think there are more important issues, or are you choosing new cushion designs for the deckchairs on the Titantic?

Croydonian said...

I *completely* disagree with you. I have long been in favour of reciprocal voting rights for those UK residents from established democracies - Europe, North America (and yes I know the US would not permit it), Japan and so forth. This is a subject fairly close to home as I know many aggrieved resident non-UK nationals who suffer our taxation without representation, while my mother continues to have the vote here even though she would far rather vote where she lives - France.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

The Irish should not be allowed to vote in any elections, even (perhaps especially) in Ireland.

Steve said...

EU citizens can vote for the scottish and welsh assemblies as well as in local elections and I would not be surprised if the government changed the rules to allow EU citizens to vote in UK general elections before 2010. Migrants are being recruited hand over fist to Unions (the only source of Labour funding)and will undoubtedly be expected to vote Labour given they rely on the governmnet for their livliehood. This is a big risk if it is combined with an amnesty for illegal migrants as it would add 2million Labour voters to the electorate in one go, all Labour voters, in England alone.

This may well explain the governments deliberate refusal to count migrants as it provides both Labour Party funding and a counterbalance to Tory popularity in rural areas. Imagine the effect of migrant workers voting in parliamentary elections? Some rural constituencies have 25% migrant populations. The PC brigade suppress all debate and continue to promote unrestricted immigration for precisely these reasons.

Migrationwatch numbers remember are OFFICIAL numbers and we all know they understate the real figure.

David Davis- please close the border, we have no idea how many people are here.

Anonymous said...

UK saw an increase of 400,000+ in registered voters in 1 year (2006-2007)

john bull said...

Sirs,
Universal suffrage extends the right to vote to all. I, Sirs, believe it should be extended only to those who have proved themselves responsible enough to vote. We should all vote in the interests of our country and not through self-interest alone.

I fear that too many lack the education to make an informed decision and others take very much more from society than they contribute. Votes are being bought, gentlemen, by shabby politicians (I'll name no names, we know of whom I speak).

I believe that all who make an exceptional contribution to our country should receive additional voting rights. Whilst those who give nothing to society should have their rights withdrawn. The responsibility of the vote should be earned, it is not a birthright.

As I said, don't get me started.

Peter said...

I know a few Commonwealth citizens in the UK who have the right to vote, but refuse to do so on principle - because they don't want to interfere with another country's political system.

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!

Ed said...

John Bull

You hinted that it was the 1918-1919 extension of suffrage which you objected to, and this was the amendment which allowed women to vote.

Does your wife know your views on this?

Anonymous said...

John, I wouldn't mind us taking the vote away from congenital idiots like yourself.

john bull said...

ed @ 9:47

Sir,
I responded to the following statement - 'Really, John Bull? I tend to think that life is rather better in Britain than it was in 1918.'

I, Sir, have no problem with women being given the right to vote. Just, as I have said, not all women (and, likewise, not all men).

Comments such as that made by 'two votes' above vindicate my position. Wouldn't you say? To think of the sacrifices made by previous generations so people could behave like that should sadden us all.

Paddy power said...

The whole election system was devised for us Irish - why do you think we put a cross on the ballot paper rather than our signature.

Dan Hassett said...

I wouldn't be so sure about all these EU imigrants voting Labour. Many of them remember the bad old days for Communism and fear the authoritarianism of New Labour. Quite a number of them are free market entrepreneurs seeking new opportunities, and see the party of Margaret Thatcher as their natural home.

machiavelli said...

I quite like the historical arrangement that acknowledges our shared past...

Incidentally, would you insist on using your passport if you had to fly to Dublin, Iain?

ezra said...

The way I see it, if you live here legally, are affected by the laws the UK government makes, you should be able to vote.

Enough of this little England nonsense about whose ancestors have been here the longest.

El Dave. said...

Do you support the slogan of the 13 colonies regarding 'no taxation without representation'?

Anonymous said...

Even if that country is Australia, Iain [hint, hint]

Man in a shed said...

Iain - I suspect you'll find that the majority of Irish citizens vote left of centre - and that's why they can vote, when our own citizens overseas and soldiers/service personnel have had their rights interfered with or removed.

Gerrymandering is the appropriate word here.

dynamite said...

But the Republic's two main parties are basically conservative...

Benedict White said...

Iain, "Even so, I my point still stands. I do not believe that citizens of a foreign country should be able to influence the election of our government - nor should we be able to influence theirs."

Given the size of the Anglo Irish community, I am not sure many of us think of Ireland as a foreign country any more than we think of Wales as such. Independent? yes, Foreign? No.

jailhouselawyer said...

Ireland is not another country, it's just another county separated by a bit of water.

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Irish citizens can also cross the Irish sea without a passport being required.

So if Britain actually implements ID cards us Irish willl be able to wander the streets of London freely without any ID and you Brits will not.

Bit thick?

Tefal said...

Iain, "Even so, I my point still stands. I do not believe that citizens of a foreign country should be able to influence the election of our government - nor should we be able to influence theirs."

1. Should the Tories return all donations received from citizens of a foreign country (amounting to millions)?

2. Why did Francis Maude travel to Australia last month to try and grub around for ex-pat votes of people who in some cases left Britain 20 or 30 years ago?

The Remittance Man said...

Ed,

Rotten Boroughs? That would be the system that allowed people to buy themselves seats in the legislature I suppose.

Isn't the current regime under investigation for that already? There is also a strong suspicion that the same regime's fondness for postal voting has less than "pure" motives as well.

Perhaps we should all remember the old saw about the residents of glass houses before making insinuations about electoral fraud and other dodgy practices.

By the way. Why should assorted furriners get the vote in the UK? I don't get a say in the South African polity (rightly so, I happen to think). But then the British Government also makes it damned difficult for me to have a say in what goes on in my own country as well.

no longer anonymous said...

"Really, John Bull? I tend to think that life is rather better in Britain than it was in 1918."

Undoubtedly but if we had liberty instead of democracy it would be even better than it is i.e. no voting to steal money from the successful.

Anonymous said...

DAMN RIGHT!!
Irish citizens shouldn't be allowed vote in the UK and UK citizens should not be allowed vote in Ireland.It's dispicable that an Irish person living on forighn shores does not have the right to vote in Irish elections but Brits who live in Ireland can.

john bull said...

Sirs,
He who controls the masses, controls democracy. It fosters a sinister political system.

Remember 'heat maps' to determine hospital closures. Well I suspect the same thing may have happened with regard to 'Sarah's law' a few weeks ago. The government realised the consequences of alerting the populace to nests of convicted sex offenders in their midst and the did a quick about turn.

The probation service has, for some time, been placing released child sex offenders in specific locations where they can live anonymously within the community (under specialist police supervision, one presumes). I have been very reliably informed that my own leafy (Conservative) Borough is one such favoured location. Think 'heat maps' and you get the picture.

Democracy, yes. But not on their terms.

Newmania said...

DAMP SQUIB ( Dynamite)-...you have taken a flippant provocation and responded with jejune sanctimony as usual..
Why do people never say “Boring Young Fart”? ..oh I just did .
Croydonian - Good point except that net gainers from taxation plus Public Sector parasites are the Labour and Liberal Constituency .Its a bit late to start equating contribution to votes here.....
(Martin Bright called it “Labour Activists and Public Sector Professionals ")...but I know what they mean.; scroungers .

Rotten Boroughs - I suppose we cannot have them back or indeed a systemn where financial independence was a prerequisite of the governing class.I cannot help but notice that the financial dependence of our modern sinecure holders doesn`t do a lot for us either. After all they nearly all chosen rather than elected anyway.




Must get back to keeping the country afloat with my honest endevour …..

sunscreen said...

As a US citizen and ten-year resident of the UK with 'indefinite leave to remain' status' I get to vote in local elections but not national. Considering the eye-watering taxes I have paid over that time it's the least you can do.

Colm Linehan said...

Iain,

Removing voting rights from Irish citizens would be all but impossible in Northern Ireland, as much of the population have Irish citizenship by choice.

In any case, there are more important anomolies to be dealt with as a result of devolution in Scotland. What's worse - having Irish citizens resident in Britain having their say on what happens to their taxes, or having Scottish MPs voting on matters which affect England and Wales, and on which they are unaccountable to the electorate.

Colm

Lightwater said...

I profoundly disagree with Iain Dale and Migration Watch that Commonwealth and Irish voters should lose their vote in UK elections.

What better way is there to involve everyone in community and national affairs than voter enfranchisement. Many of our commonwealth residents are delighted to be able to vote in our elections. These people are us - they are relatives, friends, and people with whom we share values and freedoms. Let’s not be so hasty to throw away something of unique value - review the rules for sure - but let’s not be hasty here. I’m not even bothered if there’s a party advantage for or against us here. We should value ‘outsiders’ opinions perhaps more than our own. They’ll come with a differnet perspective.

I seem to remember that until recently, no Turkish national could vote in German elections - making them 2nd class citizens. We don’t want that - do we!

john bull said...

Sirs,
Globalisation will affect politics as it is affecting everything else. You will be seeing extremist foreign political parties in local English elections within 10 years, of that I am certain. From there, they will move into our parliament. Is that right? I say not.

Ed said...

Rotten Boroughs?

Remittance Man, my point precisely. Plus also the majority of commons seats hardly ever change hands so effectively the local parties choose who goes to parliament and not the local electorate - though at least if there's enough pressure that can change.

As for foreign citizens being allowed to vote: it's so easy to become a British citizen anyway what's the argument about?

coinín said...

Might I point out that, per capita, there well over 10 times as many people born in Britain who are now living in the Irish Republic as there people born in Ireland but now living in Britain.

If we can manage to survive this number of foreigners being able to vote in our elections so can you.

Has Britain sunk so low that this is actually an issue?

dynamite said...

I'm quite sure you're right John. I myself am looking forward to standing as a Nepalese Maoist Party candidate for North Somerset Council.

mirror said...

Coinin Man
Britain has been lower than Iain's question - just start in iraq and work back although there are a few high points to be fair

independent mind said...

On Irish voting
Surely a great idea and allow the Norwegains and Icelandic folk to do so also esp at Scottish elections.

As they are three countries with higher GDP per capita than UK ..lower dept and unlike UK with government finance surplus.

Independence works as most electorates know

john bull said...

dynamite @ 12:05

Sir,
The Nepalese are a fine and proud people. A neighbour's funeral was attended by a coachload of such gentlemen from Aldershot. He had their respect and they, Sir, have mine. I would give a Nepalese candidate in a local election my fullest consideration.

beano said...

"Removing voting rights from Irish citizens would be all but impossible in Northern Ireland, as much of the population have Irish citizenship by choice."

This is not correct because while those born in Northern Ireland, may have citizenship of the Irish Republic by choice, they also have UK Citizenship by birth and so would not be disenfranchised.

That said, with more and more free movement of people within an without the EU though, I don't see any reason why anyone with permission to reside in the UK should not be allowed to vote, provided their country affords the same rights to British nationals residing there.

Roy said...

Given that these days Ireland is a richer and somewhat more successful country than the UK, dare I venture that perhaps the franchise here should restricted to resident Irish people...

One interesting thing about the rights of Irish people here is that Ireland is very liberal about who it gives its citizenship to. So for instance, my wife, an American with a French surname, has the right to live, work, settle, vote and stand for public office here in the UK without having to undergo any immigration formalities at all, except for presenting her Irish passport at the airport. This is simply because her grandmother was born in County Tyrone, which isn't even in the Republic!

Anonymous said...

I suppose you'd want the Irish regiments of the British Army disbanded too?

Fool

silvertooth said...

The primary purpose of parliament is to raise and spend money on our behalf. If you pay personal tax in the UK you should be able to vote. If you pay no tax maybe you should not be able to vote.

Chris Paul said...

Er, I see you don't mention European citizens specifically but just make general remarks about Johnny Foreigner. How quaint. What a throwback. My Kenyan house guest is looking forward to voting on May 3. And why not? He lives here at the moment and his MP represents him and he is on the electoral register. What are you on about Iain? Is this a key factor in some election somewhere in which you have an interest? or just random reactionary burbling?

Retract the lot! There's a good chap.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised alan @ 6:42 AM hasn't apologised for his lies about Scotland and Wales.

Actually, I'm not...

Chris Paul said...

Don't forget the 7,000 Black African soldiers in the British Army and the Gurkhas. Should that nice white asylum seeker whose grandad fought for the Brits that old Boris has in Henley be allowed to vote Iain?

The thing about paying taxes to get a vote is outrageous. Next thing it'll be earning more than £X, having a dick and being high born.

You Tories really do pile the reactionary bullshit on a bit thick at times.

Buzz said...

Guido: So if Britain actually implements ID cards us Irish willl be able to wander the streets of London freely without any ID and you Brits will not.

It's been about 35 years since the Irish have been able to wander the streets of the London freely.

john bull esq said...

chris paul @ 1:52

Sir,
Any man who is prepared to lay down his life for this country should have a vote. Indeed, I suggest he should have more than one. However, any man or woman who lives on hand-outs should have none. To do otherwise, devalues the vote which we hold so dear.

The paying of personal tax is but one of the criteria which we should apply when considering eligibility for the vote.

We must abolish the practice of bribing sections of the electorate, which has been refined to such a degree by the current government. For it is leading to the ruin of this once great country.

lobbyfodder said...

I would rather that the ex-pat Irish population living, working and paying taxes in the UK are able to vote than the non-tax paying British ex-pats living abroad who the Tories specifically targeted during the last general election.

Even worse are ex-pat tax exiles who don't pay tax but still feel entitled to sit in the Lords!

Iain, rather than this rather odd diatribe against the Irish perhaps you should be looking at today's news about Lord Laidlaw! Still I guess £3.5m buys you some political cover from Tory-leaning commentators....

Manfarang said...

Iain
There is a treaty that says the Irish are not to be regarded as foreign aliens.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Alan said...
Iain,the SCOTTISH and WELSH should not be able to vote in ENGLISH elections, as there is no reciprocity....


If only this were true! Some of the north Wales coast constituencies have more than 50% of voters who were born outside Wales

Anonymous said...

Hang on a minute ALAN DOUGLAS. Since when have the Welsh and Scots voted in English elections? Are you confusing it with the fact the Welsh and Scots elect Members of Parliament to sit in westminster i.e. UK general elections?

Anonymous said...

What are the implications of the Belfast Agreement on your proposal? Could people born to British parents in the UK who were brought up in the UK and who pay taxes in the UK be denied a vote under your little scheme? The phrase 'back of an envelope' comes to mind Iain.

Neil said...

Is this a cunning plan to halt Sinn Féin's advances in elections in Northern Ireland? Not very well thought through was it?

garypowell said...

My wife voted in 2 local and central government elections without having a British passport. The first time only 3 months after she first came to Britain from Mauritius.

She had Labour party literature adressed to her in her own name within 4 weeks of arriving. She still has not had any from any other political organisation, which is now 7 years.

Not even my wife should be allowed to vote in two countrys at the same time.

This sort of thing was supposed to have been sorted out with the arrival of the representation of the people act of 1832. Just in case anyone in the whole country gives a shit anymore. An act that seriously needs bringing up to date ASAP.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

I thought that this dated back to Partition in 1922. Protestants south of the border could choose to stay or leave and the same was true for Catholics in the North. The free movement between the countries was GUARANTEED.

Both sides of the line had the long term security of taking citizenship in the state of their heart but could stay in the state that they were in with the same rights as their religious opposites.

Drawn up at the same time that Armenians and other minorities across were not being treated well across Europe.

The Partition agreement was a remarkably well-thought through compromise that should not be unwound now.

Anonymous said...

What about any non-UK EU citizens voting in our local and EU elections?

That's the bigger issue.

Aaron said...

what a load of nonsense. voting SHOULD be a matter of residency, not citizenship.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Iain (and Davkeh),

British citizens are not allowed to vote in all Irish elections. I specifically refer to the presidential elections, which, by reciprocity, means we cannot elect their head of state.

Guido is technically correct about ID cards, but is reminded that he will i) have to be 'domiciled' elsewhere (which he is) AND ii) take care to ensure that he does not live in the UK for more than six months at a time, in which instance all foreigners are required to apply for this elaborate and expensive Portman Group 'ProveIt' card. The solution, of course, is to fly out of the country for a weekend and fly back in. I imagine this is what non-domiciled residents do anyway.

St Margaret's Son said...

Greg Dyke has been active in the Liberal Democrat Party. He has been a teller for the Lib Dems in St Margarets, East Twickenham, where he lives. That was a key ward that swung from the Tories to the Lib Dems in 2006.

I would be interested to know whether his Lib Dem activism was discussed during his discussions with the Conservative leadership. Dyke is not independent, he's yellow rather than red now.

Lagwolf said...

It is quite bizarre that the Irish can still vote in British elections. A wonderful anomoly of British history.

HM Stanley said...

Yet another facet of Mr. Dale I find unpalatable. The English constitution is a palimpsest on which various conventions have cottoned over the ages [sovereign owns all swans in England, sovereign/heirs cannot marry catholics, Chanccellor of the Exchequer must come from lower house, Commonwealth citizens can vote in UK], probably for good reasons at the time, but with varying claims of credulity when viewed today.

Fortunately/unfortunately, this is Britain, not France. We do not change our constitution (or common law) based on some theories such as reciprocity, because, we would probably have to change the whole lot.

By singling out this issue (along with views on an English Parliament, fully elected upper house, exceptions for conscience on generally applicable equality laws] and inspite of publishing a gazillion history books, Mr. Dale shows himself to be one of those knee-jerk reacting politicians without a historical hinterland, of whom we, alas, have too many currently.

archduke said...

"It is quite bizarre that the Irish can still vote in British elections. A wonderful anomoly of British history."

its not really bizarre, considering that there has always been a free movement of labour between the two countries.

there's a big irish community in britain that has been here for decades - my aunt for example has lived in England all of her adult life, although technically she is an irish citizen. if you have lived in England for most of your life , i see nothing wrong with voting in the UK elections.

irrespective of what your citizenship is, if you live , work and pay taxes in the UK , you should have the right to vote. i see nothing wrong whatsoever with that.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, but not surprising from the Tory party. Tory - Irish for cattle thief or was it it gerrymandering.

Hope the UK citizens with Irish backgrounds really expose this facist idea.

Anonymous said...

Most Irish I know who live here (myself included) refuse to vote for reasons related to the 'British problem' in Ireland. So don't worry unduly about our political influence right now.

The time to start worrying is if we decide to become politically active (as we have in the US). Then the fun will start.

The legacy of Britain's past is what Britain has become today. Britain is no longer a country of British. Rather it is a country which is a microcosm of the World. It has been successfully infiltrated!

As to the Irish side of things - be happy in the knowledge that the Irish continue to build up their land ownership in Britain with increasing numbers of farms and estates now in Irish hands. Not to mention the influence of the Irish in the business arena. Get used to us - many of you will have to be obedient to Irish masters in your everyday life.

And God smiles!

francis said...

Wouldn't it be better to allow all EU citizens full voting rights (all elections and referenda) in whichever member state they live in. Many Britsh citizens want full voting rights in another EU member state so why don't we allow non-Britsih EU citizens the right to vote in General Elections in addition to local/national elections, this will solve this ongoing bitterness with the Irish and is also the only way to true European integration. Many Portuguese, Italians, Germans, French, etc. citizens living here are integrating very well and contributing to our economy, so let them have the full voting rights they want and hopefully we'll have some better politicians elected. PS to anonymous, many British businesses are also buying up land in the South of Ireland, so it works both ways.