This post introduces the benefits that New England might gain from statehood.
By way of background, after our defeat at the 1967 plebiscite, I kind of gave up. I was involved in other things, and the new state cause seemed dead, remote.
In 1981 an odd thing happened. I had begun writing a biography of my grandfather, David Drummond, as a PhD thesis in history. In 1981 I came back to Armidale to research and write full time. As I explored Drummond's views, I found my belief in the new state cause re-ignited.
When I came back to Armidale, I had had fourteen years experience in the Commonwealth Public Service and had become an SES (Senior Executive Service) officer. I now fed the new state arguments through my practical public service experience. Suddenly, things that had seemed political arguments made sense in a way that I had not seen before.
In the period since, I have worked as a Commonwealth SES officer concerned to bring about change, as a consultant, as the CEO of a specialist medical college and as a person providing demographic and policy advice to NSW Government agencies. Those experiences ended by reinforcing my views.
At a very personal level, I found myself wishing that I could have used my skills and experiences in a formal way to support New England social and economic development. I also found that each experience now reinforced my view that the existing system created fundamental structural impediments to the achievement of New England growth. I tried to bring about changes within the bounds set by current structures, but kept failing.
In June 2007, I began a series on this blog called Why I Remain an New England New Stater. This set out a few of the lessons I had learned.
I will extend this argument in later posts. At this stage, I want to make one simple point.
I care about New England. Indeed, some would say that I am obsessed! However, there is absolutely no way within current structures that I can do anything major about this. Without our own state, I have to keep piddling around the margins.
I have achieved some things; a house here, a change in housing policy there; recognition that Aboriginal demographic structures are different in regional NSW; I have helped re-create an interest in the history of the broader New England. Yet none of this matters a damn because the institutional structures continue to work against us.
So long as those like me who care about New England have no-where to go, so long as we have to try to work around existing structures, then New England will continue to go down.
I accept that I am one-eyed. Simply, I care.