Friday, May 21, 2010

Round the New England blogging tracks 15 - protests, politics and a taste of nostalgia

Starting with matters political, at Bellingen, the Save Bellingen Hospital Campaign continues to gather strength. That is one energised community! Bellingen young people have now composed their own protest song. I quote just the chorus:

Because a town is built of wood and stone
But it takes commitment to build a home
The river changes, but it still flows on
Community grows, but it still stays strong

You can see the full words and hear the song here. The Bellingen Hospital Action group also organised a very successful 350 strong protest demonstration. The video follows, showing also the young composers singing part of their song. 

For those who don't know Bellingen, Lynne's new (well, relatively new) Bellingen blog provides a picture of a slice of life in Bellingen Shire.

Continuing with matters political, the New England New State Movement Facebook Page and indeed this blog are now generating a bit of discussion on matters new state. Mark Zaicos picked up a reference to the registration of a new political party in North Queensland dedicated to gaining statehood for that part of Queensland. The new party's web site can be found here.

Peter Firminger also provided a link to an a very well done protest video from Gloucester opposing the extension of coal mining, one of the environmental wars now raging across New England. I provided one perspective on these in four consecutive Armidale Express columns.

There are no easy answers. What we can say, I think, is they have become further complicated as a consequence of the Federal Government's proposed resources tax.

Staying with linked matters, North Coast Voices has been much concerned with the proposal to build a McDonalds in Yamba.You can read NCV's reaction to the go-ahead decision by Council here; it includes a link to the various NCV pieces on the issue.

In McCaffery says councils don’t buy Minister’s Joint Regional Planning Panels spin, NCV also picks up Sydney's decision to wind back to some extent the role of the Joint Regional Planning Panels.

Turning to other matters, congratulations to Archives Outside on turning one. This NSW State Records blog, one much to be praised, has run a lot of stories with New England connections, including Bill Oates material on the New State Movement. Some of their stories include:

Paul Barratt had a nostalgic piece, What a privilege it was ..., remembering his time at the University of New England. My own post Walking down nostalgia lane had a similar feel to it.

It's hard now to remember the days before the mass universities when so few New England students had access to university education. The establishment first of the New England University College and then Newcastle University College, gave many students their first real access to university. Even now, the proportion of regional young going to university is below the city average.

Staying with Paul, he has begun investigating the remarkable war story of Jock McDairmid, school sergeant at The Armidale School (here and here), who was in the SAS. Digging around for some material that might help Paul, a lead from Harry Pidgeon led me to the story of Popski's Private Army. This has absolutely nothing to do with this post or probably with Jock, but is quite fun to read!

Dear me, I have run out of time this round and have barely scratched the surface!


Greg said...

Jim, the NQP gives a political voice to the claims of North Queenslanders seeking statehood. Perhaps we should be going down a similar track to form a New England Party? Having similar goals I could also see some merit in having a loose affiliation to share ideas in the shared goal of statehood for our regions.

I would gladly join the NEP from day one.

Jim Belshaw said...

Greg, I will come back with a proper comment on this one later today. Now that things are moving, I want to bring up more of the issues material for background.