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Reconstituting Politics

Ten steps to reconstituting politics

Robin Wilson

1. The two governments move together without party blocking vetoes.

There are three key obstacles, potential or real, to a settlement in Northern Ireland. It could be that the two governments are driven by old British-Irish animosities with their associated mindsets. It could be that the segregated population of Northern Ireland, polarised further by a quarter century of violence, simply will not wear the necessary compromise. Or it could be that the Northern Ireland political class has become so sclerotic and entrenched that it can not bring itself to make a deal.

As for the first, it is true there have been periods of megaphone diplomacy. But, in contrast to the tarnished record of inter-party talks, and despite the purposively conflictual rhetoric of the Northern Ireland parties on the British-Irish relationship, in the long view the period of the 'troubles' has seen an accelerated convergence between the two governments. Look at the sequence of agreements: 1973, 1985, 1993, 1995.

As to the third factor, however, the record is equally, and oppositely, instructive. After the 1973 talks success, it is a persistent record of failure: 1975-6, 1980, 1982-6 (unionists only), 1988 (nationalists only), 1991, 1992. This is powerful evidence of the ossification of the Northern Ireland partitocrazia - manifested also in the political longevity of most of its principals.

As to the second consideration, popular attitudes, it is widely recognised that opinion polls in Northern Ireland show more support for 'progressive' politics - endorsing power-sharing, a bill of rights, parity of esteem, etc - than is evident from election outcomes.[1] This is usually deemed to indicate that opinion poll responses are 'unreal', compared to the 'real' choices made at the ballot box. Yet the popular revulsion against the behaviour of some of the politicians at, or not at, Stormont on March 4th was palpable enough.[2]

Tom Hadden and Kevin Boyle rightly conclude: "The more positive lessons of the past 25 years in Ireland have been not that all-party talks or elections produce agreement but that resolute and determined action by the two governments can make progress. ... The idea that either the active co-operation of all parties - from Sinn Fein and the IRA to the Democratic Unionists - or the complete cessation of violence is essential to the pursuit of this strategy should not be readily accepted."[3]

In this regard, for all that the 'peace process' was often advocated as a critique of the 'talks process', in reality the innovation was much less substantial than claimed. Each was marked by a defeatism about political polarisation and a deference towards powerful political and paramilitary organisations. Far from building a 'political centre', they entrenched sectarian politics formidably. And neither did anything to redress the unhealthy unbalance where everything is hyper-politicised and nothing is determined within the sphere of civil society.

2. Turn to civil society for a dynamic for change.

Clearly, such an intergovernmental strategy must maximise the degree of popular legitimacy it carries. Otherwise there is the danger, as occurred with the Anglo-Irish Agreement, of oppositional politicians being able to position themselves 'out there with the people' against (benign) governmental intentions. But this does require ideological work on their part: politicians' claims merely to act as passive recipients of the wishes of their electors can be taken with a pinch of salt.

Crises of political representation, on the other hand, do genuinely take place. Czechoslovakia divided in 1992 through the mutual repulsion of its principal parties and in particular their leaders, Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar - despite opinion surveys indicating that sustaining the federation was more popular with both Czechs and Slovaks. As Karen Henderson puts it, in a resonant phrase, "The Czech and Slovak political élites appeared, in fact, to be both more ideological and less tolerant than their electorates."[4]

What was remarkable about the massive peace demonstrations across Ireland on February 25th was three things. First was the extraordinary absence of northern politicians: while the taoiseach addressed one of the rallies in the republic and the tanaiste joined a march in Tralee, the Irish News could only find one Northern Ireland MP who had bothered to attend his local rally. Second was their non-ideological character: these were placard-less protests. The 'silent scream' of some 100,000 people across the island was just that-a humanistic cry for a peace without preconditions. Third was the theme of democratic ownership, or rather lack of it. In so far as there was any slogan, it was 'Give us back the peace.

This is further evidence of a significant margin of popular flexibility within which progress can be made. The trouble is that until a particular proposal gets past the party-political gatekeepers to a popular vote, no one can be sure whether the political market on the ground will bear more than it has so far been asked. It's surely imperative to find out.

Part of the problem may be that while opinion polls offer more value-based, open-textured choices - including those reflecting a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society-the political system tends to offer only narrow, institutional and party-dominated options. In any event, let's put the matter to a real test-an actual popular vote, in a referendum or preferendum.

3. Give citizens a voice and a responsible choice.

The idea of a referendum is well accepted-but it hasn't been sufficiently carefully thought out. The 1973 border poll offered an either/choice which was understandably boycotted by most nationalists (and some who were not). Both governments have promised a referendum after successful inter-party talks - an eventuality, however, yet to be achieved. And the referendum supporting talks and an end to violence, proposed by the Social Democratic and Labour party leader, John Hume, was too plebiscitory - too close to Motherhood and Apple Pie-for its outcome to be really meaningful.

But a sharply posed referendum, offering key substantive choices, in advance or in the absence of any inter-party agreement, could have two highly beneficial effects. It would put the onus on citizens, thereby faced with the ability actually to effect change for the first time, to exercise their vote responsibly and realistically. Assuming they did, this would in turn place the onus on politicians to respond accordingly.

Such a referendum, or preferendum if a one-two-three ordering is desired, could ask citizens to support, or rank, the following clear choices on the way forward. They encapsulate two ways of getting less Northern Ireland, and the 'multi-multi' alternative. Would you favour:

(i) progress in the direction of Irish unification?

(ii) a shared, pluralist Northern Ireland, linked to both the UK and the republic?

(iii) fuller integration of Northern Ireland into the UK?[5]

There is a good chance that even in a first-choice referendum, and more so in a preferendum, option (ii) would attract most support (and, incidentally, that those in favour would comprise a majority of Catholics and a minority of Protestants) after sufficient public debate. No one should be under the illusion, however, that this would be a woolly debate: there would be very sharp political contests around participation in the (p)referendum, the precise meaning and implication of the choices, and which options to back.

Were (ii) indeed to prevail in a (p)referendum with a reasonable turnout, it would revolutionise politics in Northern Ireland. First of all, it would give powerful legitimacy to existing reformist initiatives in such areas as fair employment, integrated education and community relations, and strong endorsement to groups concerned with human rights issues and island-wide reconciliation. Secondly, it would offer a tremendous boost to the 'missed generation' of people who would have been involved in politics in Northern Ireland over the last quarter century, but for its associations with ideology and violence, and for those party activists cramped by years of wearing ideological straitjackets.

More fundamentally, it would for the first time make the political centre in Northern Ireland the magnetic point of attraction, rather than the two mutually repelling poles. (In left-right terms, this would not actually be the centre but essentially the liberal-left, given the concentration of conservatives in the sectarian political forces.) Above all, it would invest the people whose consent is so often invoked with real ownership over their future.

Conversely, if more voters preferred the nationalist options-Irish nationalist or Ulster unionist-than the 'multimulti' one, then at least everyone would know where they stood. The two governments could then legitimately conclude that any democratic settlement was impossible and continue to move, albeit reluctantly, towards exercising joint authority.

4. Start to realign the parties in Northern Ireland.

After decades of stasis, the partitocrazia in Italy was dramatically broken up in the early 1990s. Monolithic parties split, names were changed, new parties formed, new alignments forged. While the anti-corruption investigations played a crucial role, the political earthquake began in June 1991 with the first of a series of citizen-inspired referenda, overwhelmingly carried, on the electoral system, party funding and so on. "This was the first major blow to the ruling parties, and the first detonator of the crisis."[6]

There is likely to be considerable resistance amongst some within the Northern Ireland partitocrazia to any realignment to reflect new popular aspirations, though for others it would be a liberation. But party apparatuses need to remember that they are there to serve the people-not simply to invoke them as an inert, massified 'mandate' in support of their particular projects.

Several months before the paramilitary ceasefires, the current chair of the Social Democratic and Labour party pointed out:

All five main Northern Ireland parties have their genesis in the 'troubles', if some more recently than others. If the 'troubles' no longer existed, what would happen to them?[7]
Even during the ceasefire, however, the answer seemed to be that they would engage in a 'cold war' along the old lines of violent antagonism.

Yet if the political challenge is to establish a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society, rather than to continue to enter the lists on either side of a futile confrontation, then a realignment of parties, as well as a reinvigoration of politics through the influx of new voices from civil society, is imperative. Indeed, the second is perhaps a condition of the first, and vice versa.

Those who would advocate a multiethnic, multi-cultural approach arguably comprise a political majority-an argument the envisaged (p)referendum might confirm-yet are currently divided across a range of parties, as well as being heavily represented outside all of them. They would span from some in Sinn Féin to some in the Ulster Unionist and loyalist 'fringe' parties, via the mainstream parties of the centre and left, SDLP and Alliance-who surely ought to have a closer relationship-and their smaller counterparts (the Greens, Democratic Left and the Workers' party).

But they are also to be found within many of the organisations of civil society, particularly in the trade unions and the voluntary sector and amongst women active qua women. In each case, there are many who, far from feeling they could articulate a broadly 'progressive' politics within any of the existing parties, fear at the moment they would be politically compromised by plumping for one of the relatively narrow choices on offer.

Were the (p)referendum outlined above to lead to a preference for option (ii), it would represent a shock to the existing system of alignments-a crisis of representation would be evident. There would be a rapid rush towards the political centre (in nationalist-unionist terms) and new political formations. Over-dramatic? It is worth recalling that the shock of the onset of violence in 1969 led to four of the five current main parties being formed within 25 months.

5. Legislate for a region-wide direct election.

If the (p)referendum secured a result in favour of the 'multi-multi' solution, it would herald in turn the opportunity to develop a new kind of democracy in Northern Ireland. Donald Horowitz has persuasively argued that, in ethnically divided societies, "For most politicians, most of the time, it is more rewarding to pursue the conflict than to pursue accommodation. "[8]

Key, therefore, to defusing such conflicts is to establish an electoral system which gives an incentive to politicians to compete for cross-community, rather than single-community, votes. Malaysia (Malays and Chinese) and Sri Lanka (Sinhalese and Tamils) he presents respectively as benign and malign evidence for this common-sense thesis.

In Sri Lanka, constituencies are largely ethnically homogeneous, and intra-ethnic competition within the dominant Sinhalese community favours extreme' stances. As the massacre in Colombo in January reminded the world, the country is riven by a protracted civil war.

Malaysia, by contrast, has largely heterogeneous, first-past-the-post constituencies, which favour inter-ethnic voting: in mainly Malay constituencies, Chinese leaders urge support for conciliatory Malay candidates, and vice versa in mainly Chinese constituencies. The country is governed by an inter-ethnic coalition of the political centre, originally formed before independence to prevent victory for the other ethnic parties on either side. While no one should be starry-eyed about the position of the Chinese community in Malaysia, the last serious ethnic violence was in 1969.

Northern Ireland's segregation and intra-ethnic competition in both communities clearly offer strong incentives for politicians to bid for single-community votes, not to co-operate in seeking crosscommunity pluralities. But this is not inevitable. One way to favour inter-ethnic voting, Horowitz points out, in the context of fairly homogeneous constituencies, is to make the whole country the constituency.[9]

Let us suppose that a (p)referendum has been held, with an outcome in favour of option (ii). A next step would be to hold a single-constituency, Northern Ireland-wide election for an interim administration of, say, eight members (to have six departmental heads and two co-chairs), on a single-transferable-vote basis. The key would be that, unlike the norm with STV, a high quota would be set-say, 70 per cent. Even through the accumulation of preferences of eliminated candidates, no candidate could thus cross the threshold without cross-community support. A radical version would insist that the first four men and the first four women to pass the threshold be declared elected.

Such an election would, in itself, encourage wholly new candidates, not tarred with the brush of the old politics, as well as 'liberating' those who could attract cross-sectarian support. It would inevitably promote slates, deals and new proto-parties, reinforcing cross-community voting. It would be attractive to public figures in civil society who would relish the public service of taking part in an inter-community coalition. It would thus reverse dramatically the trend towards opting out of politics and disengagement between economy and society on the one hand, and politics on the other.

It would rapidly throw into the political sphere people with real experience (rare in the partitocrazia as a result of direct rule) of administering substantial modern organisations. And if there was a gender-parity requirement, there would be a sudden scrabble for the favours of leading female figures.

Not every individual could stand, of course, if the ballot were to be manageable. Candidates would have to attract a minimum number of signatures for their campaign. This, in itself, would set networks humming-in business, trade unions, women's organisations and the voluntary sector-and the associated hustings would inspire a lively indeed unprecedented, debate.

6. Establish an interim government.

As likely as not, whether composed equally of women and men, an administration elected in this way would be majority Catholic: among 'wasted' intracommunity votes, there would probably be a larger number of Protestant 'fundamentalist' opponents of such 'dialogic' politics. But once a majoritarian system is abolished, who comprises its successor is neither here nor there.

Taking over from unaccountable British ministers as departmental heads, such an interim government-a 'technical' administration, as the Italians would call it-would consist of personnel, by career experience and disposition, attuned to the practices and values of the 'new constitutionalism'. There would, hopefully, be avoidance of the simplistic dichotomy of a 'bonfire of quangos' on the one hand or deference towards unaccountable middle-class power on the other. An intelligent approach to social partnership and the participatory role of the voluntary sector could also be expected, as well as development of reforms like Policy Appraisal and Fair Treatment.

Above all, such an administration would be pragmatic, rather than ideological, and would thus cross with considerable relaxation the hitherto towering ideological hurdles of power-sharing and north-south co-ordination. Indeed, there would be a very real likelihood that, because of civil-service inertia or the constraints of the republic's constitution, the principal resistance to the delegation of powers to new north-south bodies would be official, rather than political.[10]

Nineteen-seventy-four was, of course, the nearest Northern Ireland ever got to crossing these political hurdles, so it is worth contrasting what is being suggested here with the reasons, ultimately, for failure then. After an interim administration as proposed had stabilised-an opportunity not given to the power-sharing executive-an election could be held to an assembly, elected under proportional representation (preferably the additional-member system in this context, more proportional than STV). Again unlike the Westminster election of February 1974, supporters of the interim administration would be likely to campaign as a single list or coalition, under a common platform, with mutual transfer arrangements.

These incumbency factors, plus the directly-elected legitimacy conferred on the outgoing administration - again, absent from the hand-picked ministers of 1974 - would make a strong showing by the government supporters likely. And even a plurality of support in the assembly would be enough for a renewal of the inter-community coalition, given the inability of the 'fundamentalist' political forces to agree on any alternative.

Such a transformation should prevent an assembly being the bear garden of the past. But additional measures would be desirable, such as the introduction of the non-adversarial standing orders prepared for a Scottish parliament by Bernard Crick and David Millar.[11] Assuming this step was negotiated successfully, the assembly would take over legislative power for, and render accountable, all the functions currently within the remit of the Northern Ireland departments. There would then no longer be a need for a Northern Ireland cabinet minister, whose role the two co-chairs would assume.

7. Embody the multi-cultural approach in the constitution of Northern Ireland.

Incorporating key international conventions, enshrining the 'multi-multi' idea, into Northern Ireland's rudimentary constitution-the Northern Ireland Constitution Act of 1973 - would be a highly symbolic statement of the new departure that was intended to characterise Northern Ireland's future.[12] The two key documents are the framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.[13] promulgated by the Council of Europe in 1995, and the 1992 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.[14]

What is distinctive about these provisions is that they enlarge the arena of human rights protection beyond abstract individuals to members of subordinate ethnic or religious groups. Neither the UK nor the republic has yet ratified the framework Convention. Nor has either yet incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights.

If the British government - or perhaps the next one - were to incorporate the framework Convention, the European Convention and other international rights safeguards, such as the two key UN conventions on civil/political and economic/social rights, into the Northern Ireland Constitution Act, for the first time it would have closed the yawning gap between international human rights standards and practice in Northern Ireland. But to ensure that gap was closed, in practice as well as theory - particularly given the non-justiciable nature of the framework Convention-this would have to be followed up by the establishment of a new constitutional court for Northern Ireland, accompanied by a new or revamped human rights commission with enhanced advocacy powers.

In this new atmosphere, of an entrenched human rights culture, the debate about the Royal Ulster Constabulary could transcend the ideological sloganising which has characterised it so far-and a reconstitution of policing in Northern Ireland could be set in train.

8. Rebalance state and civil society.

Northern Ireland needs a reinvigorated civil society, as a guarantor against political oppression, as a force for social equality, as a vehicle for cultural pluralism-and, more generally, as the engine of a more dynamic region capable of competing in the new global environment.

The Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust community priority survey found:

Support for the development of a participative democracy ... emerged as a strong priority. At its broadest this was reflected in the call for the need to 'Devise local and national political structures that empower all people', although another group highlighted the need for 'Participative democracy-everyone having a stake in society'. This demand was refined even further in the comment about 'Moves towards participative democracy at a local level rather than the old "representative" focus of patronage'. In effect what a number of organisations saw as a priority was the need for processes which offered inclusive involvement.[15]
NIVT concluded that there was a case for "Community Forums which facilitate participative democracy and constructive consideration of social, cultural, political and economic issues".[16] DD report 2 made similar recommendations at a regional level, in terms of proposals for a revamped Northern Ireland Economic Council and/or the addition of a Northern Ireland Economic and Social Forum.

In that environment, Northern Ireland needs to make a choice. It can either identify broadly with the European social model-based on social partnership and social inclusion-or it can embrace Anglo-American neo-liberalism. As a horizontally unequal region, fractured vertically by sectarianism, the imperatives of social cohesion clearly favour the former.

9. Don't abolish the border - just render it irrelevant.

In addressing the border, unionists have followed the maxim 'Good fences make good neighbours'. But high fences make only for lack of contact, suspicion and mistrust-what Germans call Feinbilder (enemy images). Yet pulling down fences may bring uneasiness rather than good relations. Over five years after German unification, Die Wand im Kopf (the wall in the head) remains. One young Wessi (as west Germans are still known) said it was like "sharing a bathroom with a stranger".[17]

The Irish Times/Guardian poll in February offered encouragement for a more pragmatic approach. In Northern Ireland, 38 per cent said the border was not even worth arguing about, while 42 per cent said it was not worth risking lives for. In the republic, attitudes were more flexible still. Only 17 per cent in the north and just 7 per cent in the republic felt the border mattered and people should be prepared to fight for it if necessary. [18]

What might this mean? The Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney has a deceptive capacity apparently to abjure political commentary yet actually to offer some of the most perceptive political insights. In a little-reported comment during his acceptance speech in Stockholm in 1995, he said he hoped the Irish border would "become a bit more like the net on a tennis court, a demarcation for agile give-and-take, for encounter and contending".[19]

Here another German word may help. The radical veteran of the May '68 events in France Daniel Cohn-Bendit- now a "radical reformer"-was born of German Jews who fled to France after Hitler came to power. Cohn-Bendit is now deputy mayor of Frankfurt and a Green member of the European Parliament. He describes himself thus: "I am a Grenzgänger [a crosser of borders]. I have a European identity."[20]

The EU recognises Northern Ireland in two ways: pragmatically, as a legitimate region of a member state; geographically, as part of a peripheral island which often merits an island-wide approach. And as one well-placed European Commission official recently put it, the common membership since 1973 of the republic and the UK has had divergent effects: it has 'invigorated' the former while rendering the latter 'introspective'.

Given Northern Ireland's interest in the European social model, and the considerable experience of the republic in this regard in the years of economic recovery since 1987,21 then-dependent on what kind of regime should emerge after the next Westminster election-Northern Ireland's interests may best be served by pragmatic maximisation of its socioeconomic autonomy from Westminster and of its socio-economic relationships with the rest of the island. This is a formula which Paul Teague has encapsulated as 'a Northern Ireland with an Irish orientation'.

Once these principles are accepted, it should be possible to elaborate the necessary co-ordinating structures - with the required intellectual input from economists and other public policy interests - outwith the hothouse, hyperpoliticised atmosphere in which north-south structures are usually discussed. This might not lead to exotic creations - but sturdy plants would flourish.

10. Look to Europe, not to Washington.

If an accountable government were established in the manner suggested above, an obvious asset would be that a good comprehension of the demands of the wider Europe could be anticipated - and an obvious move would be to make the co-chairs of the administration the two (currently unelected) Northern Ireland representatives on the EU Committee of Regions.

But there are wider issues here. In recent years, the primary international focus outside these islands, in addressing the Northern Ireland conflict, has been on Washington. Yet, in terms of a substantive settlement, the US administration can do little more than cheerlead the London and Dublin governments and chivvy American capitalists to invest. And an unintended effect of the US engagement has been to confirm the worst features of Northern Ireland's clientelism and division, as each faction has sued for partisan support in the White House and on Capitol Hill.

By contrast, the 300 million ECU special EU package for Northern Ireland, concluded in the wake of the paramilitary ceasefires, goes nicely with the grain of the bottom-up approach advocated here-as evidenced, for example, in the representation of broad civil-society interests in the monitoring of the programme and the distribution of some of the funds. Thus, whereas in the past the European Commission was very wary of any suggestion of political 'interference' in Northern Ireland,

Commission officials are keen to emphasise that the unusually democratic, innovative funding mechanisms being used by the EU are themselves contributing in a distinctive and significant way to what might be termed their own track of the peace process. By promoting-and giving strong financial incentives to-local dialogue, they argue they are building reconciliation from the bottom up.[22]
Maybe in microcosm, therefore, we are beginning to see the shape of a new relationship between Northern Ireland as a special region and the institutions of the EU which can parallel the 'new constitutionalism' vis-a-vis the British and Irish governments which has emerged in recent years.

All in all, this is a radical project. But much of it is disarmingly simple. The (p)referendum would be straightforward to administer. The incorporation of the conventions into the Northern Ireland Constitution Act would also be uncomplicated. There would have to be other legislation, for the constitutional court, the interim government and the assembly. But the court would have a clear jurisprudence in the constitution act, the interim government would be essentially replacing British ministers by Northern Ireland alternatives, the assembly would not be a legislative novelty, and it would be straightforward to give government and assembly an open brief to establish such all-Ireland structures as wished (though that might require constitutional change in the republic). So none of these is insuperable; none should excite Anglo-Irish dissensus - on the contrary, pragmatism in London and Dublin, and Brussels, should undermine ideologues in Belfast and Derry.

Moreover, this is a step-by-step process of crossing Northern Ireland's turbulent political waters, which can be executed as quickly or as slowly as confidence allows-each step valuable in itself and building belief in the rest of the journey-rather than endlessly essaying an impossible single vault to the other side. Some of these steps go with the grain of existing initiatives and none, without offending democratic principles, depends on prior inter-party agreement.

Far from being utopian, it is thus vastly more credible than the pursuit of the chimera of a 'comprehensive political accommodation', under the 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed' talks formula-what a very senior former civil servant disparagingly called the 'all-singing, all-dancing agreement'. As Torkel Opsahl said of the submissions made to him in 1992-93, "Many recognised that there is no 'big solution' in Northern Ireland; others were impatient that the pursuit of such an illusory ideal prevents agreement on the attainable."[23]

Nor is it a fixed sequence - thus, for instance, the European dimension can be progressed in the here and now. And if progress can be made when it can, it can also be made where it can, by a range of actors-not just government but citizens' groups, intellectuals and political activists. There are, in other words, a number of routes by which the stepping-stones can be negotiated.

This scenario provides an avenue to replacing direct rule by accountable government, as well as a route to a fuller reversal of the 'democratic deficit'. Indeed, it offers a way to put in place the key Opsahl recommendation of a government with an 'equal voice' for the two communities, without the danger of institutionalised sectarianism to which critics legitimately pointed. It would reinforce, rather than squeeze out, those political forces favouring multi-cultural, multi-ethnic politics. And it would rapidly promote, by democratic means, political figures who could not only share power within Northern Ireland but who could play a full part in sharing the island as well, and make an intelligent contribution to wider UK and European debates.

Crucially, it can not be held up by the various party-political vetoes that the succession of 'talks' and 'peace' processes have enshrined. It need not await a new IRA ceasefire and it immediately renders irrelevant such arguments as the 'decommissioning' row. Yet it would also create a context in which politics, thus reconstituted, had rendered paramilitary violence obsolete.


[1]See, for instance, the poll conducted in the wake of the Opsahl report, which found a welcome for most of its main recommendations, in contrast to the sharp dismissals from almost all parties on its publication; the results are in the second edition of A Pollak ed, A Citizen's Inquiry, Lilliput, Dublin, 1993, pp 435-44.
[2]as captured in Maurice Hayes' column in the Irish Independent, March 5th 1996
[3]Tom Hadden and Kevin Boyle, Fortnight 348 Karen Henderson,
[4]Karen Henderson, 'Czechoslovakia: the failure of consensus politics', Regional and Federal Studies, vol 5, no 2, 1995, p126
[5] Hadden and Boyle suggest using a referendum in this way, but their four-way choice is perhaps both too elaborate and too narrowly institutional to excite a clear and compelling popular response-see Northern Ireland: The Choice, Penguin, London, 1994, p225.
[6] Stephen Gundle and Simon Parker eds, The New Italian Republic: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to Berlusconi , Routledge, London, 1996, p26
[7]Jonathan Stephenson, 'Thinking the unthinkable', Fortnight 325, February 1994
[8]Donald Horowitz, Community Conflict: Policy and Possibilities, Centre for the Study of Conflict occasional paper no 1, Coleraine, 1990
[9]though, of course, the single-constituency idea for the pre-talks 'elective process' wouldn't, in itself, have that effect.
[10]Maurice Hayes, the official at Stormont during the power-sharing executive responsible for seeing what powers might accrue to the Council of Ireland, bemoans how departments north and south offered up only "smaller satellite bodies and lesser functions as sacrificial ewe lambs", jealous as they were of their core activities - Minority Verdict: Memoirs of a Catholic Public Servant, Blackstaff, 1994, p174.
[11] B. Crick and D Millar, To Make the Parliament of Scotland a Model for Democracy, John Wheatley Centre, 20 Forth Street, Edinburgh, no date
[12] These issues of pluralism and parity of esteem will be fleshed out in more detail at the conclusion of a research project, assisted by the Central Community Relations Unit, on which OD is now embarked.
[13] Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and Explanatory Report, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1995
[14] Reproduced in Asbjorn Eide, New Approaches to Minority Protection, Minority Rights Group, London, 1993
[15]NIVT, Peace: An Opportunity for Change-Responses to the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust Community Priority Survey, Belfast, May 1995, p7
[16] ibid, p15
[17] 'The eagle's embrace', Economist, September 30th 1995
[18] Irish Times, February 28th 1996
[19]'Heaney tells audience of peace hope for north', Irish News, December 8th 1995
[20] 'Rebel red of '68 finds peace with Greens', Independent, December 11th 1995
[21] Rory O'Donnell, 'Modernisation and social partnership', in DD report 1, New Thinking for New Times, pp 24-33
[22] Patrick Smyth, 'Brussels champions of peace process not giving up hope', Irish Times, February 23rd 1996. The wider issues of Northern Ireland's relationship to the EU, in the context of the intergovernmental conference, are being explored shortly in a round table organised jointly by the Institute of European Studies at Queen's University and DD
[23] Pollak, op cit, p3

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John Morison is a reader in law at Queen's University, Belfast

Elizabeth Meehan is Jean Monnet professor of European integration at QUB

Robin Wilson is director of Democratic Dialogue

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