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Reinventing Government — a once-only opportunity


The challenge

The Belfast agreement sets Northern Ireland on a democratic adventure which has great potential but contains many pitfalls.

When he visited Belfast some months after the paramilitary ceasefires of 1994, the now director of the London School of Economics, Anthony Giddens, spoke of two approaches to political democratisation. One was what he called 'catching-up'—the assumption, often applied to Northern Ireland, that 'backward' places simply needed to catch up with the rest of the world. The other was what he called 'leap-frog'—a recognition that everywhere democratic institutions are under scrutiny and that the opportunity to move to the leading edge of democratic thinking should therefore, including in Northern Ireland, be grasped.

The political battles of recent decades have not, however, prepared us well to make the most of this new opportunity. Gerry Hassan's recent comments on the argument about Scottish devolution could hardly be more germane: "Debate and discussion around the Scottish parliament has focused almost exclusively on institutional and political processes, to the exclusion of economic and social issues. If this remains so, there will be a growing prospect of the parliament changing very little and quickly disillusioning the high hopes of its supporters."

Yet the economic and social challenges facing Northern Ireland are immense. Despite the £3bn-plus annual subvention from Westminster, it continues to generate the lowest gross domestic product per head of the 11 UK regions. It looks worse still in a European perspective, for only one such region—the south-east of England—now exceeds the EU average for per capita GDP. Politically sensitive is of course the fact that the only other region in these islands to exceed the EU average is the Republic of Ireland.

The availability of the Westminster subvention, plus generous support from the European Union through the structural funds and the special support programme, have created a climate of soft budget constraint in Northern Ireland where there is an assumption that the resolution of a problem is through additional expenditure, externally financed. There is every reason to expect, however, that the Treasury will, over time, tighten rather than loosen such constraints and that other external sources will diminish, particularly as the transfers from London to Belfast (and Edinburgh) become more politically transparent to all. Medium-term savings on 'law and order' will in the short-term be offset by transitional costs, notably of redundancy payments to RUC officers. Maintenance of the 'parity principle' of provision with the rest of the UK (see below) will severely constrain the room for manoeuvre on public expenditure reallocation.

All the more important, then, may be the resort to tax-varying powers contained in §50 of the Northern Ireland Bill, to ensure real freedom of manoeuvre at the margin while highlighting the responsibility to raise revenue if new expenditures are to be undertaken. As has been powerfully argued, "Just as 'no taxation without representation' was the battle cry of those who fought for American independence, so 'no representation without taxation' is a maxim which deserves equal priority."

But the larger lesson is that the drift of recent thinking has been away from the scale of government intervention towards the quality of governance in the round. Indeed the term 'governance' has itself come into fashion out of a recognition that both the business of government and the relationship between government and civil society must be got right if government in the narrower sense is to be effective.

The second aspect of governance—the government/civil society relationship—is crucial in a context where the nature of government is changing from the delivery of services itself to the animation, regulation and co-ordination of other agencies and actors, a change captured in the now-familiar phrase 'steering, not rowing'. As Loughlin puts it, "'Governance' differs from 'government' in being a system of governmental 'steering' involving a range of actors and networks wider than those who are, strictly speaking, members of government institutions."

This relates to the question of fiscal constraint: innovative policy directions, not entailing additional government service delivery, may cost relatively little yet have considerable impact. It is worth recalling that the dramatic turnaround in the republic in the last decade got under way in the context of tight fiscal retrenchment.

It is in this context that the structures for government in Northern Ireland should be explored—with a sober recognition of the extent of the challenges and an associated high ambition to meet them.

Holistic government

One of the most helpful innovations in thinking about governance in recent years, very much germane to our immediate concerns, is the concept of 'holistic government'.

This new thinking has come in recognition that there is great disillusionment already out there—in Northern Ireland as much as anywhere else—about the performance of politicians in today's world. There is a clear discrepancy between people's expectations of what government should be able to deliver and its concrete, practical outputs. This is at least in part because the economic and social issues of most immediate concern to 'ordinary' citizens—unemployment, their family's educational achievement, their and their family's state of health, crime in their area, and so on—are actually not amenable to solution by a single government department delivering a programme.

Health, for instance, is not just a matter of medical intervention under the auspices of a Department of Health (that is treatment of illness), but is principally governed by living standards, diet, lifestyle, housing, road safety, etc, in which all departments, and the wider civil society, are implicated. It is for this reason that such challenges have been described as the 'wicked problems'. Only 'holistic government' can provide an effective response.

As Demos summarises the argument, "The core problem for government is that it has inherited from the nineteenth century a model of organisation that is structured around functions and services rather than around solving problems. Budgets are divided into separate silos for health, education, law and order and so on ... To solve complex problems that cut across these boundaries, new approaches are needed. Government needs to become more holistic, achieving greater integration across the public sector. It also needs to become more preventive, shifting the balance of effort away from curing problems ... towards preventing them."

The focus therefore moves away from the delivery of services per se to achieving concrete outcomes—for example, not more hospitals but better health. There has been an inordinate emphasis in the debate about health policy in Northern Ireland on the number of acute hospitals. Where that emphasis needs to lie is with the stubbornly high—and stubbornly unequal—morbidity and mortality rates.

Unfortunately, this quest for 'holistic government' is in its infancy, as everywhere the focus of public management reform in the 1980s and 90s has tended to be on rendering service delivery more 'efficient'—through agentisation, privatisation, purchaser-provider division and so on. The fundamental problem of departmentalism has not been affected (indeed co-ordination problems have been reinforced as government has fragmented).

The perils of the 'departmental silos' run particularly deep in Northern Ireland, for two crucial reasons. First is the fact that the EC will effectively represent a multi-party government. It will contain representatives of four parties, of widely differing views, specifically chosen as party representatives rather than pulled together by the leader of government in conventional cabinet style. On the one hand, they will therefore not enjoy the degree of trust that a common partisan culture engenders between ministers in a single-party government; on the other, their own partisan commitments may well prevent the disciplines of collective responsibility from operating.

In sum, there will be every incentive for ministers to treat departments as individual fiefdoms, to be defended against any incursions from colleagues of different party affiliation. This will be likely to become even more of a problem as the next election looms: the EC will not go to the polls as a coalition, because of the automaticity of its formation under the d'Hondt rule, and individual members will inevitably be drawn into competitive briefing as they jockey for electoral advantage.

The second reason is that Northern Ireland faces, over and above all the 'wicked problems' instanced above, one more 'wicked' than any of them—sectarian division. Not only is this, at worst, likely to be reproduced within government between ministers of different parties but, at best, it represents an enormous challenge in every aspect of life in the region.

But unless Northern Ireland develops into a normal, pluralist, non-sectarian civil society, then peace will mean no more than the absence of violence (if even that) and the stresses and strains sectarianism imposes on the lives of many more than those touched by violence directly will remain. Moreover, the popular desire for a less hasslesome and more relaxed life is reflected in overwhelming evidence of a wish to see Northern Ireland move from separation between the 'two communities' to sharing. And in the long term it is difficult to see how any political arrangements based on power- and responsibility-sharing could endure unless underpinned by co-existence and an absence of routine tension on the ground.

Yet to move Northern Ireland consensually from separation to sharing will not only require active non-governmental participation but will also necessitate a co-ordinated drive across every department. Segregation in housing relates to segregation in schooling and work; sectarian confrontations over parades and at interfaces engender further division and separation. What it will take to make it possible to bring down the 'peace walls' which disfigure Belfast is a measure of the problem; yet how could Northern Ireland celebrate itself to the world as at peace while these structures mock the very idea itself?

The opportunity of the agreement

If this seems daunting, the opportunity of devolution nevertheless is a one-off chance to bring holistic approaches to the heart of the government of Northern Ireland, as a nearly clean sheet is there to be written upon. There has already been interesting work in Scotland on how this might be done. As Leicester and Mackay describe it, the parliament and its new executive "will have the freedom to innovate, to improve policy-making, and to rethink and improve relationships with local government, business, the voluntary sector, and the citizen".

One tendency favouring, however, the collapse of government into departmental silos is the pressure of day-to-day 'firefighting'. Given the severity and suddenness of crises in Northern Ireland, that is not a tendency from which the new administration is likely to be immune. What is thus required, as has been argued for Scotland, is the protection of 'thinking capacity' in government against such quotidian pressures.

This is also essential if the new administration is to have an ability to monitor its performance across the board, evaluate its successes and failings, and suggest policy adjustments to correct mistakes or meet new demands.

The extensive discussion of globalisation in recent years—especially the globalisation of the financial markets—has sometimes been associated with a fatalistic belief that government today can do nothing to affect real improvements in people's lives. Yet, in fact, globalisation has been matched by regionalisation, as regions have come to appreciate that their economic and social success depends on inserting themselves effectively into this intensely competitive international order. Conversely, this recognition must be sobering for traditionally uncompetitive and dependent regions like Northern Ireland: not only does the world not owe us a living, but we must also learn to run even to stand still.

The positive response to the challenge of globalisation is to recognise the opportunity it creates for replacing dependency and mendicancy by autonomy and viability. As has been well said of lagging regions in Finland, whose GDP per head falls slightly below that of the UK, "The most crucial factor is how well a region can adapt to the new situation and how competitive it is under changing—and perhaps even turbulent—circumstances. In this sense, every region is more and more the architect of its own fortune."

A useful starting point is David Marquand's argument that the UK's economic decline, relative to its competitors—including the 'Celtic Tiger' which has now surpassed it—has fundamentally stemmed from the absence of "a 'developmental state' capable of constructing and guiding a social coalition in favour of economic change and of harnessing market forces to a long-term national interest". Interestingly, Marquand believes that "the symbiosis of public and private power which is the essence of the developmental state can now be achieved more effectively on the regional or local level than on the national one".

Paul Hirst agrees: "If public bodies are now able to intervene effectively in the economy it is in their political capacity, by promoting co-operation between economic actors and by adopting policies that enable firms to create the microeconomic conditions for competitive success. Increasingly the public bodies able to perform these tasks are not conventional national states but regional governments ..."

The opportunity of the agreement, therefore, is to translate democratic power in Northern Ireland into developmental power.

Government by negotiation

Another buzz phrase of recent times has been 'negotiated governance'. For if the role for government, today is, as Ash Amin argues, as "strategy maker, coordinator, arbitrator and consensus builder", the corollary is that it must "attend to the equally important role of fostering a common frame of meaning and action among relevant economic and social organisations." And Marquand underscores the implications at regional level: "Local developmentalism squares quite well, may indeed require, a public philosophy of dialogue, power-sharing and negotiation."

This has been translated by the Northern Ireland Economic Council as a need to elaborate a 'culture of commitment'. Research it commissioned on successful economic regions led it to conclude: "One of the themes to emerge from the case studies is the importance of developing governance and institutional arrangements based on co-operation and trust. These make it easier to develop a strategic and integrated policy approach and they facilitate a shared culture of commitment involving the public and private sectors as well as local authorities and the voluntary and community sector."

The experience of EU programmes and Making Belfast Work and other agencies has already rendered the idea of partnership a familiar one in Northern Ireland. The point about it is a recognition that there are major drawbacks to the alternative conventional means of government delivery—'command and control' (since the 'man from Stormont' does not always know best), or via market-based mechanisms (which engender inequalities)—neither of which has the capacity to draw on the talents and energies of those outside government to place their shoulders to the developmental wheel.

Negotiated governance is therefore about participation, legitimacy and mobilisation. It is here that a very helpful synergy can be developed between the EC, and the Assembly more broadly, and the CF, even though the latter has no executive functions. What the CF can do is offer a role in policy formation for non-governmental actors, the added legitimacy for government arising from such input, and a vehicle for government to mobilise commitment to achieving agreed policy goals.

In a more general sense, the way forward clearly has to involve policy- rather than ideologically-driven politics. Since this means an emphasis on pragmatism and problem-solving, participation by all relevant actors and wider citizen involvement becomes of crucial concrete value.

Government by policy goals

One step towards holistic government is to turn the 'wicked problems' into their obverse: a set of policy goals for government to achieve. These would have an important cohering effect on government in two senses: politically welding the diverse forces in government together by building trust and confidence in a mutually endorsed project, and practically ensuring that different departments do not work against each other and that difficult challenges do not fall down between them.

In the past, government in Northern Ireland has only had spending priorities, rather than policy goals—an example of the consistent tendency to reduce policy questions to matters of public expenditure. Nor have these three priorities—'law and order', 'strengthening the economy' and 'targeting social need'—been particularly coherent or, except in the first case, particularly effectively addressed.

One way to move towards government by policy goals would be for the FM and DFM to draft a 'mission statement' for the new administration, for discussion with shadow ministerial colleagues, and debate in the Assembly and the CF. The policy goals appropriate to fulfilling the spirit of the agreement might be (not in any order of priority):

  • easing intercommunal tensions and fostering intercommunal sharing,
  • ending residual paramilitary violence and cutting other crime,
  • eliminating intolerance and stimulating cultural diversity and vibrancy,
  • promoting equality of life-chances and securing social inclusion,
  • pursuing sustainable economic development and reducing unemployment,
  • reducing mortality and morbidity and improving public health, and
  • raising educational achievement and skills attainment.

Such goals could usefully be run past focus groups or indeed the latter could be asked to suggest the objectives of government for themselves. As these illustrative examples show, one advantage of government by policy goals is not only to make what government does more comprehensible to sceptical citizens, but also to identify clear performance indicators against which progress can be monitored. In each of the above cases, objective statistical measures and/or subjective assessment via social surveys are evidently available. "Holistic government is judged by the results it achieves and what it looks like to those on the receiving end."

Thus this simple process begins to move government away from focusing on what services it delivers to what results it achieves, and from the palliative to the preventative.

Negotiated governance dovetails neatly with the idea of government by policy goals, rather than more narrowly by administration of executive services. For the former, as against the latter, can clearly not be delivered by government alone. To reiterate the health analogy, the biggest improvements in mortality and morbidity in Northern Ireland are clearly dependent on improving diet and exercise and reducing smoking—cultural shifts which ultimately citizens have to buy into themselves.

One particular advantage of this approach in Northern Ireland is that it has the potential to end a debilitating battle over issues of equality and social inclusion. In the absence of a political settlement, this has tended to revolve around activist NGO groups pressing government to toughen proofing mechanisms against inequality or exclusion, such as TSN and PAFT, with officials protesting the limits of what can practically be achieved.

In reality, little can be achieved through such essentially negative mechanisms, which risk encouraging purely 'paper' compliance by cynical officials, meeting frustration amongst idealistic NGOs in turn. Much more important is a proactive policy commitment to enhance equality and inclusion substantively. The achievement of the agreement creates the possibility of a democratically accountable executive committed precisely to such goals.

Practical implications: FM and DFM

The thrust of all this argument is towards a stress on the biggest single danger facing the new administration: co-ordination failure. All the conceptual and concrete indications from elsewhere are that the administration must be holistic in its operation if it is to achieve its developmental objectives, and that there must be a new relationship between political leaders and the 'led' if the required culture of commitment is to be cultivated.

This clearly means that the FM and DFM must exercise two primary functions. First, they must co-ordinate the work of the administration as a whole—both internally in terms of its departments and externally through the North-South Ministerial Council with colleagues from the republic. (The fact that this paper is geared to the internal dimension because of immediate political requirements should not be read as indicating a downplaying of the importance of the external dimension.) Secondly, they must act as the primary conduit in government for relationships with civil society, in particular via the CF (as the agreement sets out).

More specifically, government by policy goals easily lends itself to the 'brigading' of ministers and their officials around each policy objective, under the co-ordination of the FM and DFM and with the support of a policy unit.

Such a unit, located in the offices of the FM and DFM, would be essential to provide the 'thinking capacity' indicated above. As has been argued vis-à-vis Scotland, "It need not be large—ten strong as in Downing Street will be fine—but it must be staffed with people of high quality. It should contain a mix of civil servants—who understand the policy process—and outsiders brought in to increase thinking capacity and, carrying as little institutional baggage as it is possible to do ..., to manage the transition to a new style of governance."

The policy unit could contain a number of dedicated individuals working specifically on two key policy goals: equality and social inclusion, and intercommunal reconciliation and sharing. These will be the crucial barometers in the popular mind of whether peace has 'bedded down', whether trust is being built, and old grievances finally laid to rest. While there should be ministers in the EC with dedicated briefs in these two areas (see below), because they do cross departmental boundaries a challenge function by superiors will be required to ensure progress. Hence they must ultimately be the responsibilities of the FM and DFM, whether separately or jointly, supporting the efforts of the ministers in this regard.

A further task of the FM and DFM would be the setting of priorities between competing ministerial demands, as all the policy goals of the new administration, however cogently defined, can not be realised overnight.

Departmental structures

In what follows, the opportunity is taken to start afresh with the designation of departments. Clearly, the Assembly would have to legislate to this effect, but if, after debate, the Assembly were to pass a resolution endorsing some version of departmental arrangements, these could begin to operate in shadow form in advance of going 'live' in February. The status quo therefore does not have to be taken as the starting point. On the contrary, a decision to start with the status quo would become increasingly difficult to undo over time. This is likely to be a once-only opportunity for politically courageous decisions to be taken. To mix metaphors, if the nettle is not grasped now, the new administration will start off with one hand tied behind its back.

The proposals are clearly only a first stab, but they should be judged against how they could be improved upon, not against the status quo. They are doubtless by no means the last word. But they do embrace the crucial reorganisation of government around policy goals. This involves a reallocation of functions and a changing of names; hence also the renaming in terms of what they are for. The opportunity is also taken to establish new departments consistent with the size of the executive committee, rather than (as in 1974) giving ministers nominal titles for want of more imagination and initiative. The putative list follows:

Dept for Regional Development: This department would implicitly follow in the pecking order below the FM and DFM, crucial as it is to the developmental strategy, without jeopardising financial prudence. The change of name from 'economic' to 'regional' is not just to reflect a hopefully new common purpose of advancing Northern Ireland as a region. It stems also from a recognition that economic development can and should not be divorced, as currently, from broader social and environmental considerations: while per capita GDP does give a rough-and-ready index of living standards, recent research has found that people's own sense of their 'quality of life' may stagnate or even fall despite GDP growth. A key role for the department would be to develop a broader set of meaningful indicators for sustainable development in Northern Ireland and to consult widely on a strategic regional plan to achieve them.

Agriculture (and fisheries) would come under this department, rather than having a separate departmental existence (given it contributes just 4 per cent of GDP), under the banner of rural development more generally. But the scale of the department would require two ministers to be allocated to it, with perhaps the 'junior' focusing on rural development. With the involvement of agriculture, and given the business community's extensive north-south relationships, this department would be the power-house of day-to-day north-south co-ordination, its ministers being particularly likely to be present at NSMC meetings, after the FM and DFM.

There is also a role for a regional development agency, as recommended by the business community, based on international best practice. The aim of the RDA would be to translate the developmental effort into concrete operational activity, coherently organised—as against the current fragmented structure of the DED family of agencies—engaging the knowledge and commitment of the social partners, via representation on its board, in that effort.

Dept for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning: Education should be brought out of its exile in north Down, where it has been captured by church 'producer' and middle-class 'consumer' interests, and become organically linked to the developmental tasks of government and the elevation of the economic and social life-chances of all individuals, particularly in addressing under-achievement. This combination of functions would remove the subordination of vocational to academic education, encourage real progress on pre-school provision—whose effect on life-chances is now so clear—and allow lifelong-learning opportunities to be developed. The training functions of the T&EA would be transferred to this department. An early question would be to address the future of the education and library boards in the new context.

Department for Equality and Inclusion: The DED has had responsibility for the agencies addressing equal opportunities, whereas the DHSS has led the way on TSN (and now, it is suggested, PSI) and CCRU has been responsible for PAFT. With the prospect of an Equality Commission subsuming the FEC, EOC, CRE and the putative Disability Council, all these concerns should come under this new department. This is partly to avoid an awful bureaucratic mess but it is also because there is actually little scope for further progress on a narrow, legalistic, equal-opportunity basis, and the greater need now is for more effective and proactive structural interventions to enhance life-chances for disadvantaged individuals and groups and to engender social inclusion. The Employment Service would be brought under this department and given a more dynamic character. So would the Social Security Agency, so that benefit provision could be linked to active labour-market measures.

Department for the Environment: The department currently is a sprawling one, covering planning, local government, roads, transport, water and sewage, urban regeneration, conservation, etc. The hope must be that, in a new political context, local government in Northern Ireland will be able to assume additional functions, including responsibility for local regeneration and improvement schemes; the department could bring forward ideas on how some of its functions could be hived off to local government in a manner consistent with the sharing of power, perhaps in the context of a reduction of the number of district councils. It is in any event desirable that the department's policing function is not tainted by the pursuit of property and other development for urban regeneration reasons; this could be transferred to an independent environmental protection agency. The department should acquire the additional responsibility, however, for leading the effort on crime prevention, which is not appropriately the job of the police (whose job is detection) and which relates to issues such as estate and transport design.

Department for Health and Social Well-being: The integration between health and social services, unique to Northern Ireland, should be retained, allowing as it does an interrelationship between all aspects of care individuals may require. But it should be clear it is social well-being, not social service, that the department is about. The compact with, and strategy for support of, the voluntary sector should be built upon to devolve care provision, where appropriate, from the 'public' to the voluntary sector—not to save money but to improve care. A key task would be the promotion of public health, including in conjunction with other departments and in partnership with groups on the ground. An early question would, as with education, be to address the future of the boards.

Department for Reconciliation and Cultural Expression: This new department would take over the functions of community relations and the arts from the existing Department of Education. It would forge a dynamic link between the promotion of cultural diversity and intercommunal reconciliation. The department would explore innovative ways to promote integration in education, employment and housing, in conjunction with the relevant ministers. The role of victim support would come under this department. The reference to culture rather than 'the arts' is to stress the breadth of the former, including broadcasting, sport and other popular forms, including those of ethnic minorities, as well as taking into consideration the economic and social benefits of cultural vibrancy.

Department for Financial and Human Resources: This department would be transformed from the negative keeper of the purse strings into the developer of the financial and human-resources infrastructure of active government. It would engage in iterative dialogue with other departments on how resources might be found to realise policy goals, within the overall budgetary framework for government as a whole set by the block grant (+ any additional regionally-raised revenue), and within the priorities set by the FM and DFM. On the basis of those priorities, DFHR would draw up a detailed rolling budget with three-year horizons, with the next financial year to be agreed by the Assembly as per the Northern Ireland Bill.

A key role would be to develop innovative ways of delivering 'smarter' (rather than bigger) government, especially in the arena of new technology, and in particular in translating government into 'one-stop shops' on the ground. Training of public officials to develop more entrepreneurial ways of working should also be a major objective. The department should pursue avenues to 'fast track' outside talents into government, to give officials opportunities of external breaks through secondments and sabbaticals, and to ensure cross-fertilisation within government via the sensitive movement of personnel between departments. This should be linked to new systems of financial accountability within government, devolving control over budgets where possible to lower levels to allow the financial space for innovation.

Department for External Relations: A prime function of this new department would be to assume responsibility for relations with the EU, with a view to maximising the scope for 'subsidiarity' to pursue a distinctive regional agenda with the union institutions. While the FM and DFM would have overall responsibility for the north-south relationship, this department would explore the potential for co-ordination in an EU context. It would also have a wider innovation role within government, using policy networks across these islands and beyond to feed back ideas on best practice—so that the new administration could make an à la carte choice, within expenditure constraints, as to which, if any, to follow in transferred matters. The 'parity principle' would thus be replaced by the 'best choice' principle. It would liaise with the policy unit in this regard. The department would also co-ordination the 'rebranding' of Northern Ireland abroad as a society leaving behind its violent and sectarian past and moving towards an attractive future of peace and multi-culturalism, with a view to improving business, tourism and the in-migration of skilled and professional labour.

If two ministers were to be allocated to the proposed DRD, that would mean there would now be eight departments with nine ministers. This would leave a minister without portfolio in the EC. It might be thought politic, given the context and the challenges of sorting out the complexities of the DEI as suggested, that an additional minister be allocated, at least initially, to that department.


If the challenges it faces are grasped and adequately addressed in the short-to-medium term, Northern Ireland has the capacity to realise a benign scenario, in which real change takes place, led by a political class (assisted by officials) which thinks strategically and innovatively, addressing the blockages on Northern Ireland's transformation into a non-sectarian and dynamic society, with the full and active involvement of civil society in that co-ordinated effort. If they are not, on the other hand, a no-change scenario is conceivable, in which the opportunities of democratic power are not taken, politics continues to focus on ideological concerns, the 'permanent government' continues to hold the reins, there is popular disempowerment and disillusionment, and sectarian division and paramilitary violence remain enduring features of the landscape.

Far from being a merely technical matter, deciding the structures of government for Northern Ireland is a key moment in determining which of those scenarios prevails. As indicated earlier, pusillanimity now will be extremely difficult to remedy later.


  1. Anthony Giddens, 'The new context of politics', in New Thinking for New Times, Democratic Dialogue report 1, Belfast, 1995, p17
  2. Gerry Hassan, 'Scotland's Parliament: lessons for Northern Ireland', Democratic Dialogue discussion paper, September 1998
  3. Regional Trends 33, Stationery Office, London, 1998
  4. According to the Economic and Social Research Institute, it is forecast to attain 111 per cent of the EU average by the year 2000; see Duffy, Fitzgerald, Kearney and Shortall, Medium-Term Review: 1997-2003, ESRI, Dublin, 1997, p108.
  5. a point noted by the former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service at a recent Democratic Dialogue round-table on policy needs in the aftermath of the agreement
  6. A both substantively and symbolically valuable instance would be the 'solidarity tax' to address social exclusion recommended in Social Exclusion, Social Inclusion, Democratic Dialogue report 2, Belfast, 1995.
  7. David Heald, Neal Geaughan and Colin Robb, 'Financial arrangements for UK devolution', Regional and Federal Studies, vol 8, no 1, spring 1998, p28
  8. John Loughlin, 'Autonomy in western Europe: a comparative approach', paper delivered to Democratic Dialogue/Northern Ireland Economic Council/Eastern Health and Social Services Board round-table on policy autonomy and priority setting in June.
  9. Indeed the point was made by a leading Dublin economist at the round-table referred to at note 6.
  10. Perri 6, Holistic Government, Demos, London, 1997.
  11. ibid, pp 9-10
  12. Tom Hadden, Colin Irwin and Fred Boal, 'Separation or sharing? the people's choice', supplement to Fortnight 356, December 1996
  13. A senior NATO representative who attended a Democratic Dialogue round-table in March on security and human rights in Europe was appalled by the many 'peace walls' in the city still standing, nearly a decade after the fall of the Wall in his native Germany.
  14. Graham Leicester and Peter Mackay, Holistic Government: Options for a Devolved Scotland, Scottish Council Foundation, Edinburgh, 1998
  15. ibid, p6
  16. Hannu Tervo, 'European integration and development of the Finnish regions', in Alden and Boland eds, Regional Development Strategies, Jessica Kingsley/Regional Studies Association, London, 1996, p235
  17. David Marquand, The New Reckoning: Capitalism, States and Citizens, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1997, pp 27-28
  18. Paul Hirst, From Statism to Pluralism: Democracy, Civil Society and Global Politics, UCL Press, London, 1997, p29
  19. A Amin and D Thomas, unpublished paper
  20. Marquand, op cit, p28
  21. Successful European Regions: Northern Ireland Learning from Others, Northern Ireland Economic Council, Belfast, 1996, p xxviii
  22. Leicester and Mackay, op cit, p22
  23. ibid, p21
  24. ibid, p20
  25. Robin Wilson, 'Economic governance: international experiences—a new direction for Northern Ireland', Democratic Dialogue paper commissioned by CBI NI, Belfast, March 1998



RW, 28/8/98



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