I’VE listened to the arguments against the citizenship referendum and I have to say that they generate an awful lot more heat than light.
The whole ‘anti’ argument seems based on an emotional response. In this view of the world if you try to control or limit immigration you are a racist.
And you know what? They’re right.
They’re right because the whole notion of nationality and sovereignty is racist. It’s just a widely accepted form of racism.
Why can’t Roy Keane play for Italy or Brazil, where he would have a better chance of winning a World Cup medal? Because ethnically he doesn’t qualify. That’s racism, plain and simple.
When Ireland played England at Twickenham for the Triple Crown (sorry you Scots, but it’s true) you had 15 Irishmen representing 6 million people and 15 English representing 45 million. Wasn’t that completely undemocratic. In fairness, the English should have been allowed 112 players (not that it would have made any difference). Are the English people not the victims of discrimination in this case?
Of course they are. Look at how few opportunities there are for English people to compete at international level compared to Irish people.
So let’s get this straight. If you are going to have perfect fairness, you are going to have to abolish the concept of nationality.
But there’s a big problem. If this is the route to fairness, to universal human rights and to a common humanity, then the world is going to be a very arid and boring place to live in.
Despite the fact that Ireland vs England rugby matches are inherently racist, being based on the ethnic origins of the competitors, the vast majority of people find these games hugely enjoyable. We like the fact that we’re different. We want to maintain that diversity without, as far as is practicable, causing disadvantage to individuals.
The EU, to its eternal credit, is about respecting the different cultures of the peoples of Europe while finding peaceful and constructive ways for us to live together as freely as possible.
In the meantime, on a global scale, we operate borders in order to maintain the sovereignty of nation states. Few people, right across the political spectrum, want the Irish nation state to demise any time soon.
And so we have to have immigration laws and border control. These laws should be logical and fair.
At present our law states that any child born on the island of Ireland is entitled to Irish citizenship. Some people (we don’t know how many) have used this law to arrive in Ireland specifically so that their children can have an Irish passport. Fair play to them, I say, but it makes a mockery of the idea of a logical law.
So to those getting their knickers in a twist of whether the proposed change is racist or not, I say this: the new law doesn’t take into any other factors other than residency and current Irish citizenship. In fact, the ‘Irish’ bit is the only racism in the whole proposal.