Ireland’s suffering is only intensified by its loss of the art of good-policy making

Journalist Deirdre O’Shaughnessy did a long post yesterday on a very personal experience she had in Patrick Street in Cork recently. It’s worth reading the whole way through to get its fuller effect, but the point she makes at the end is worth highlighting… …while we are all distracted by Irish Water and suspicious greenways and TDs’ fraud, our society is crumbling, and, distracted by our own private struggles, we are letting it. Yesterday the death of a homeless man …

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Pragmatism v Ideology: Managerialism or an excuse for doing nothing at all?

Before I sign off for the weekend, Jude Collins has an interesting piece on the role of ideology, particularly with regard to education and even more specifically, education under three successive SF ministers. The real world demands either bits of a range of ideologies or no ideology at all.  The second of those two is impossible: everyone has an ideology. It might be “Responding to events as they happen, without forethought or any system of beliefs, is best” or “I …

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#PDNI: Consultation in the 21st Century for Northern Ireland and beyond…

Consultation is a bit like sex. If you are not enjoying it, you are probably are doing something wrong. As you will already know from Alan there was a fascinating seminar (that sadly I couldn’t get to) which asks how policy-making might be done in the age of austerity? It hardly bear repeating that the world has changed. The internet from its very earliest days as a home for software building geeks to share ideas and harsh banter, has allowed …

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Policy-making in the age of austerity: a case for more speed, more consensus, more politics?

A trio of organisations published a report this morning on Policy-making in the age of austerity. [Link to download PDF report] The Consultation Institute, Stratagem and Objective Corporation used Northern Ireland as a case study to examine how the current consultation fatigue could be overcome with more meaningful, timely and useful processes. The report’s authors outline four challenges to current patterns of policy-making: expenditure constraints (“cash shortages can render existing policies unworkable and hasten the time when they need to …

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Unionism 2010: Does it really matter who gets to be ‘titular head’?

I have a piece coming out in the News Letter’s series on Unionism 2021, although I am not sure when. All contributors have five questions to answer, the final one asking whether Martin McGuinness would be acceptable as a First Minister. Perhaps surprisingly Paisley senior accepts the prospect with some equinimity, but not without a little dig at his successor, “Sinn Fein didn’t become the majority party on my watch.” Without giving too much away, my own take is that …

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