If the Ideological Unity of the Traditional Sovereign State Is Abandoned, New Possibilities Are Opened.’ (Neil Maccormick, ‘on Sovereignty and Post-Sovereignty’ in Questioning Sovereignty, P. 135). Essay
2060 WordsMay 16, 20139 Pages
In May 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a ruling that all member states must give prisoners the right to vote. Responding to this ruling, David Cameron stated that it would make him sick to extend suffrage to those in prison (The Guardian, 2012a). The UK now finds itself in a delicate position, and not for the first time.
The issue of Europe and how much power the UK should devolve to its various institutions has long been a divisive one. Opponents of greater integration and cooperation with other states under the umbrella of supranational organisations such as the ECHR argue that the UK is giving up too much of its sovereignty for very little in return. The prisoner voting ruling perfectly illustrates this tension. If the UK government does not comply with this ruling, it may find itself guilty of human rights violation and could be forced to withdraw from the Council of Europe and the ECHR (The Guardian, 2012b). Proponents of integration would argue that our membership leads to greater cohesion, affords more protection to the most vulnerable in our wider society and increases our bargaining power on a global stage.
In order to test MacCormick’s (1999) assertion that the sovereign state has been abandoned, it is important to have a clear understanding of what sovereignty actually is. The first section of this essay will attempt to provide a definition of this. This essay will argue that globalisation has been the primary force that has altered the nation state. The second part of this essay will examine some of the new possibilities this has created.
2. Sovereignty and the Nation State
Ohmae (1995) argues that nation states were once the building blocks of the political world of the 18th and 19th century. They provided useful dividing lines that separated peoples, interests and industries. They were
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