purpose at a particular time. It is suggested that ‘sovereignty’ is not identical to parliamentary sovereignty owing to the challenges posed by increased executive power, governance and globalisation. Examples of the various uses of sovereignty by members of the political elite to illustrate the way the concept is susceptible to misuse and abuse are outlined later in the chapter. The question of sovereignty also featured heavily throughout the debates surrounding the 2016 referendum on EU membership and the subsequent negotiation process. However, given the general
As Europe was used by elements within the elite on both sides of the issue to secure electoral and political advantage, it is advantageous to define the character of the political elite. The definition of the political elite for the purpose of this book is Members of Parliament. This is because it was they who were directly involved in the political decision-making on Britain's membership of the Common Market, and so the evidence of their behaviour is readily available. Whilst this definition is utilised, however, it is apparent that there
parliament in Ireland, it was still an organic body that developed over time. This can be seen in all aspects of its procedures and processes. Sometimes the catalyst for change came from politics, but more often it came from the contact between parliament and the executive or the judiciary. Most of the time, members of both houses were aware of the institution and how it worked, and they continually used and looked for precedent as a guide to how to organise themselves; both to the English Parliament but also to the Irish assembly as it sat in the centuries before 1613
of Britain's political elite. The fluid and evolving nature of sovereignty with its ambiguous definitions ensured ideal opportunities for those who wished to exploit the concept for their own personal or political motives. Furthermore, the tenacity with which some politicians used the term sovereignty when debating Britain's membership of the Common Market between 1959 and 1984 neglected the changing realities of political power resulting from executive domination and the emerging phenomena of globalisation and governance.
Chapter 3 , ‘The
recent establishment in a number of British cities of directly elected mayors with significant executive powers, after a century in which progressive centralisation has reduced local government in the United Kingdom to a cipher, opens up the possibility that the city can once again, as in the nineteenth century, become a unit of real political importance. Yet it has to be admitted that the emergence of a Belfast civic identity sufficiently well defined to bridge political and sectarian divisions will require significant progress from what is at present a fairly narrow
activism as an expression of the economic, social and subjective
value of their work and an assertion of their personal autonomy. Their
political subjectivity was caught between emphasising their individual
agency and rights as independent women and the gender and class constraints on their everyday experiences of paid work and trade unionism.
Industrial disputes involving female workers have been conceptualised as evidence of changing attitudes towards women within male-dominated trade unions, and shifting attitudes among working-class women
characterised by concentration on moments of high drama and of political conflict. These historians also overemphasised the role of members of the lower house, especially their religious attitudes and apparent alliances. 6 A consequence of the prominence of this school of thought led to the establishment of the History of Parliament Trust. Its approach, in turn, led to vehement reaction by the revisionists from the 1960s onwards.
George Sayles, a rare historian of both Irish and English medieval parliaments, made a valid point when he wrote that
title again and am assailed by a horrible doubt. Could they have read
Crisi meridionale [‘Southern Crisis’]? … The librarian leaves the list in my hands. As
always, as everyone, he attributes the facts, those that he considers distressing or unjust,
to the particular mentalities of executive authorities. –If the Duce only knew! –in
this phrase there is a confession that is worth far more than many little irritations.)
A perusal of the sequestered volumes suggests that confinati’s reading interests
extended well beyond their stated personal political affiliations
[i]on & a Warrt.
Of H. Treason was granted agt ye Lawyer who after two days doing
penance in Custody was discharged being found in ye main [to] be a
man of sound principles but not without an Admonic[i]on to take more
care for ye [fu]ture & not to discourse ye Politicks wt
Whether apocryphal or not, Dyer’s anecdote demonstrates the
perceived importance of addressing activity to later Stuart politics. On one
level, we can see it as showing how addresses facilitated the penetration
, the bishop organised a defiant display of ecclesiastical ceremonial. Paul Cullen, archbishop of Dublin and Ireland’s only cardinal, was guest of honour, alighting from his coach in full robes to sing the high mass, while ‘twelve bishops with mitres and copes walked processionally, full in public view, around the church’. 4 In political terms, too, Catholic west Belfast provided a safe venue for meetings, parades and cultural events. Where processions were concerned, the Falls and Smithfield provided a secure base from which marchers denied entrance to the centre