Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Paul Barratt speaks

Like me, Paul Barratt is one of those New Englanders whose personal connections are deeply entwined with the North. We link and interlink in just so many ways. Both of us had to leave New England, in Paul's case  for a very distinguished career in the Commonwealth Public Service.

I mention this because Paul has just completed a series of posts directly relevant to New England concerns. In date order, they are:

One of the things that I struggle to get across sometimes is that New England has its own political and intellectual traditions that are not the exactly same as those holding elsewhere in Australia. We think and care in slightly different ways.

Both Paul and I in our own ways represent those traditions. Now, in our writing, we try to get this across, to preserve and develop something that we believe is of value.

You won't find the names, the events, the traditions that we value, in today's conventional history books. That history is written by others who, for reasons of locale or fashion, do not share our concerns. We write in part to redress this.

I think that's important. Once we lose our past, we are truly lost.       


Greg said...

Jim, the "we are over-governed" mantra is often accompanied by the totally unrealistic call that the states should be abolished. It seems that one of the great failings of our education system is the ignorance of so many Australians of our own system of government

I strongly doubt that our founding fathers fully imagined the potential for misuse of Commonwealth grants to control the policies and activities of the states. It has turned our states into little more than compliant agents of the Commonwealth.

After 110 years of federation it is time for that constitutional convention to re-define Commonwealth-State relations and division of powers. In fact it is absolutely essential if we ever hope to see effective government at the state level again.

To quote the prime minister today "one size does not fit all". If only that weren't just a catch phrase.

Jim Belshaw said...

I agree with you, of course, Greg. One of our problems is that constitutional issues are simply not sexy. Discussions rarely focus on principles.