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Democracies and the Populist Challenge by Yves Mény, Yves Surel (eds.)

By Yves Mény, Yves Surel (eds.)

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They also attack those they identify as clients of the elite and beneficiaries of taxes paid by ordinary, hardworking people: typically, asylum-seekers, immigrants, minorities who have been granted special treatment, welfare recipients and so on. 6 They identify external forces (from international capitalists to Brussels bureaucrats) as threats to the way of life and economic security of ‘ordinary people’. All of this is clearly defensive (Taggart 1996; Immerfall 1998), but there is also a positive element which lies in the promise to look after ‘our people’, the faith in ‘the common sense of the common people’, the call for the voice of the people to be heard and power restored to them (Haider 1995; Manning 1992).

10. Compare Norberto Bobbio’s assertion that democracy is above all ‘a set of procedural rules’ (Bobbio 1987, 63). 11. See also Appendix I, ‘Popular Sovereignty as Procedure’ in Habermas 1996. 12. Compare Giovanni Sartori’s claim that in democracy, the principle ‘all power to the people’ has to be modified into ‘all power to nobody’ (Sartori 1987, 72) (emphasis in original). 13. I am grateful to John Barry, April Carter and John Horton for helpful comments on a previous version, and to the SPIRE Theory Group at Keele and participants in the workshop from which this volume originates.

Instances in which decisions by the elected governments of EU states are overruled by EU law or by the European Court of Human Rights also illustrate the increasing institutional complexity of a world in which international linkages of many kinds are eroding state sovereignty and blurring the territorial boundaries of polities. At the national and international level it is becoming harder to say exactly where power lies. Even the jealously guarded sovereignty of the British Parliament is being eroded by European institutions on the one hand and devolu- Margaret Canovan 39 tion on the other.

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