Today's post on my personal blog was Issues with spin.
My last two Belshaw World columns - Belshaw's World - true wisdom rarely the sum of bland numbers and Belshaw's World - round holes, square pegs and a region cruelled - discussed the way policy is developed with a special focus on the reasons why policy so often disadvantaged country Australia. I concluded the second post:
To my mind, the single most important short term solution to current ignorance about and neglect of Northern NSW and its needs lies in the creation of a properly funded research institute to generate the ideas and the information required to force changes in current policy approaches.
One of the reasons why spin sometimes works is that those involved in the spin actually control both information and the policy levers. There are no alternative views to challenge.
Those who read this blog will know that I consider that self-government for New England is critical to getting a proper focus on New England needs. In the meantime, we do need a way of generating alternative views.
In suggesting that we need a New England research institute, I am not proposing an alternative to existing vehicles such as the Hunter Valley Research Institute. Rather, I am suggesting the creation of a broader vehicle that will work in tandem with them and compliment their activities.
For my proposed research institute to work, it must be properly funded. I have not attempted to work out numbers at this point, but my guess is that we need an annual income stream of over a million dollars per annum.
I would be interested in comments as to the best way of achieving this.