Sovereignty refers to ultimate and absolute authority designated to
either an individual or an institutional body.
The term sovereignty could be contested due to the fact that there is
no universally agreed definition. Thomas Hobbes defined what he
considered the basis of a political body as 'the most high and
perpetual.' (Hobbes, quoted in Heywood, 1997, p26.) This view has
proved rather simplistic. It fails to take into consideration the
limitations on the sovereign. Bodin highlighted that although
sovereignty provided absolutism, there were restrictions such as
natural laws. (Bodin quoted in Heywood, 1997, p26). Offe supports this
by explaining of international restrictions on the sovereign.
'National communities by no means exclusively 'programme' the actions,
decisions and policies of their governments.'(Offe, quoted in Held,
2002, p352). The concept can be further contested by focusing on the
nature of the sovereign. It is largely accepted that the sovereign
holds the ultimate power. However there are critics that argue that
due to sovereignty being intrinsic to democracy, the ultimate power
lies with the electorate. 'The people rule through the sovereign. The
sovereign is their representative.' (Held, 2002, p77). This contests
the idea that there is a single, ultimate source of power. David Held
supported this by explaining that sovereignty is divided among
'national, regional and international' agencies. (Held, 2002, p352).
The concept can be questioned due to distinctions being made between
legal, political, external and internal sovereignty. (Heywood, 1997,
p143). Due to the existence of a typology, the c...
... middle of paper ...
...article refers to the impact EU legislation, in particular the
planned constitution has on UK sovereignty due to EU law overriding
national law. The view generated contradicts that of Jack Straw who
argued that the EU constitution strengthens national government.
BBC News, Roger Knapman on the EU constitution,( 2004)
BBC News, UN backs Lebanon sovereignty call,(2004)
Bealey. Frank. Chapman. Richard.A. and Sheehan. Michael. 1999.
Elements in Political Science. (Cornwall. Edingburgh University Press)
Held. David. 2002. Models of Democracy.(Cornwall. Blackwell
Heywood. Andrew.1997. Politics. (Wiltshire. Palgrave) p26,143
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