Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Back to the Future

Given the political and financial bankruptcy of the Irish State in this year of Our Lord, thoughts have turned to the reform of the political and financial systems.

There is a tendency to present this as a new trend provoked by the failure of the current setup. There is also a trend to present Civil Servants as a crowd of unreflective, unconcerned and moronic wasters in secure and over-remunerated and pensionable employment, with the implication that this has always been so but has only recently been discovered.

In a spirit of opposition to this trend, I would like to present for consideration a memo, drafted by a 34 year old civil servant in the middle of WWII (1942).

While it accepts some of the conventional wisdom of the time (the majority of women to be educated for home duties and family raising, the electorate to be confined to over 25s with a certain minimum degree of education), it is also far seeing in identifying, and sometimes questioning, significant emerging trends (party whips in parliament, need for greater citizen involvement in government, a planned economy, free trade subject to fair trade, need for individual responsibility on the part of administrators, and more).

While it also has many of the properties of an initial draft and might have benefited from further editing, it does reflect well on the writer's intellect and comitment to the development of the nation.

The writer has long been one of my most admired relatives.


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