Sovereign, sovereignty, the constitution-from Greece to Israel

The mess in Greece makes us all uneasy.

A powerful nation, one steeped in history and tradition can fail and fall. This nightmare frightens Israel, even though in different forms. However, the antecedents are surprisingly similar. We can face our enemies, but only if united and conflict free.

The sovereign or ruler enabled trading by guaranteeing the worth of the currency to those markets under its sovereignty.

Indeed, in Britain, the sovereign is the name of the coin of the realm. The sovereign’s power is endowed, in Britain, directly by the church and God.

In Britain, there has been a tussle between the ruler and the ruled. The Magna Carta was the first objective sign of the limitation of the power of the king. British history has been marked by the evolution of Parliamentary power. The Magna Carta devolved power from the Crown to the nobility. This authority was passed on to the people gradually as Parliament gained more power. In Britain, eventually Parliament became all powerful yet it paid lip service to the concept of sovereignty. The significance of the Magna Carta was devolved.
The Americans gained independence while this process was ongoing. They enshrined their Magna Carta in the Constitution. In many respects, obedience to the Constitution has made the guardians of the Constitution the sovereign ruler of America.

All this comes to show that there is a very subtle but pronounced relationship between the rulers, the ruled, sovereignty, the coin of the realm and trade.

The European Union has tried to sidestep this issue but has not sidestepped many of the fundamental problems that it must solve. The European Union has its sovereign coin.

Nevertheless, the sovereignty of its governing body is a long way from absolute, a good way from established and far from being universally accepted. The sovereignty cannot defend the unity of the sovereign and its marketplaces.

It could well be that Greece sneaked into the market, gained the umbrella of sovereignty and the universality of the sovereign coin by questionable means. It does not alter the fact that the sovereign power is no longer protecting those who have accepted the sovereignty.

The European rule over those who use its markets is questioned. In days of old, the sovereign could and would impose his will.

This cannot happen today in Greece. There is no God appointed sovereign or its US equivalent.
In this respect, Greece has shown that you cannot have a common market without a common law and common justice all of which are guaranteed by a sovereign body.

Somebody has to give, and everybody has to accept the sovereignty of the ruler.

In Britain and in Israel, there has been a tacit agreement not to question too closely who is sovereign and who bestowed the sovereignty. It is better not to ask for the role of God and religion, and beliefs become critical if not unwanted factors. In Israel, we have blundered into the UK model of government by Parliament rules supreme. The structure and relationship between Parliament and the Cabinet are similar. Interestingly we adopted the British legal system.

It is of little surprise that as the legal system is morphing itself into a replica of the American legal system, it hankers after a constitution. It conveniently has forgotten that on establishing a constitution, we will have an almighty religious-state battle, which no one can win and everyone will lose.
Because of the inherent weaknesses in the European constitution, Greece now finds itself in an impasse that it will be very hard to solve.

It is my contention that if we meddle with our de facto, ad-hoc UK – like the parliamentary sovereignty, we will find ourselves in a similar imbroglio.
If not far worse.

About the Author
Born in Leeds in 1944, Michael Benjamin is a retired Psychiatrist and medical auditor, co-founder of Oranit, aspiring author and inveterate cynic.
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