Monday 18 December 2017

Myopic mandarins nearly ruined peace

Two books on British politics reveal how civil servants had scant regard for unionists, writes John-Paul McCarthy

THIS past month has seen the publication of two new books on modern British politics, both of which cast important light on the development of the Irish State over the last three decades.

Both Peter Mandelson and Philip Ziegler (the latest biographer of former British PM Edward Heath) illuminate the workings of the Westminster civil service system at home and in Ireland -- itself the most administratively Anglophile country anywhere in the world after Independence in 1922.

Ziegler shows how Ted Heath was surrounded by advisers on Northern Ireland after 1970 who had no real insight into the nature of the unionist position.

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