O'Day, Alan Books1995 0-7734--8980-0
This volume of twelve original essays explores the strengths of British institutions at local, national and informal levels. A particular feature of the volume is the stress upon how formal and informal agencies of governing reinforced one another and were linked to the world of popular politics through networks of communication. Four essays assess aspects of local institutions, examining their efficiency and utility over a period of more than a century. A second section pays particular attention to the British Parliament. In the final portion, significant informal institutions such as festivals, the Bank of England, and trade unions illustrate the interconnection of unofficial agencies with the formal world of government. A theme running through the essays is the central importance of government and institutions as a social cement in modern British society, though cases such as the London vestries and the Irish civil service provide a reminder that the overall success story was punctuated with setbacks, defects, and controversy.