Bloomfield: ‘locusts of confusion and ambiguity’ ate away at the vacuum before direct rule in 1972 #20YearRule

On the day of his retirement after 38 years in the NI Civil Service, Sir Ken Bloomfield circulated a blunt assessment of mistakes made in Northern Ireland in a valedictory memo that is made public this morning under the 20 Year Rule: the Anglo-Irish Agreement was “flawed”; the distinction between the “legal” Sinn Fein and the proscribed IRA was “farcical”; as well as his views on the delay implementing Direct Rule between 1969 and 1972.

Plain English in civil service communications: brevity combined with clarity #20yearrule

BREVITY AND CLARITY – that’s what the head of the NI Civil Service asked of government communications in a ‘Plain English’ memo circulated in May 1988. “It is an important skill to be able to present complex issues in clear and simple ways … Even in simple letters, a good short word is generally to be preferred to a mediocre longer one.”