Saturday 24 February 2018

Blair quickly learnt that, in civil service, less is more

The coalition could learn from Blair's streamlined approach to policymaking, writes John-Paul McCarthy

As the Irish Government continues on its financial via dolorosa, the economic argument in Britain continues to offer many important insights for would-be Irish reformers.

There was an electrifying intervention in the British debate last week as Jonathan Powell -- Tony Blair's former chief of staff and chief negotiator in Northern Ireland -- squared off against the former UK cabinet secretary Robin Butler on BBC's Newsnight.

Powell was promoting his new book on Machiavellian politics while commenting on the public service culture during the New Labour years, but even though he might have been trying to sell a few more copies of his book, he landed more than one palpable hit on the somewhat sleepy Butler.

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