Words stimulate debate - but not always reform
For all the self-projection and white noise, the MacGill Summer School still falls short of expectations.
Those who enjoy the rhythms of the summer school circuit must have been riveted by Miriam Lord's recent critique of the MacGill symposium. Her charge sheet listed self-absorption, abstraction and repetition, and it seems to have registered with MacGill's director, Joe Mulholland.
When asked on radio for a response to Lord by Sean O'Rourke, he laughed it off, but his tone suggested that his smile did not quite reach his eyes. And despite his belief that MacGill was "unique in the world", it probably has some way to go yet before Königswinter or Chatham House need fear comparison.
For all its self-projection, MacGill still falls short of Oakeshott's ideal of deliberation "without the sense of an enemy at one's back". After all, Pearse Doherty and Lucinda Creighton had important partisan contributions to make.