Undignified and inefficient: Financial relations between London and Stormont

James Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Between 1922 and 1972, London reputedly adopted a hands-off attitude to devolution in Northern Ireland. This was true of the formal machinery of government, what Bagehot referred to as the 'dignified' part of the constitution, but the 'efficient' part, most notably relations between civil servants, highlights a more complex picture of intergovernmental relations. Jim Bulpitt's notion of a 'dual polity' - acknowledging that alongside the dignified part of relations there was intense, ongoing relations between civil servants - is developed. It also argues that financial relations were marked by ad-hocery and inefficiency. The rhetoric of parity and leeway hid considerable diversity in public policy provision in Northern Ireland compared with the rest of the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-73
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary British History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Northern Ireland
  • public policy
  • devolution
  • Stormont
  • London
  • intergovernmental relations


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