My thanks to Greg for this one.
In Container port bound for Botany, the Newcastle Herald reports that the Sydney Government is to ditch the long standing plan to make Newcastle the next NSW container port after Botany Bay.
The story attracted a range of comments reflecting the way an issue likes this generates divergent views. Yet what was interesting from my viewpoint were the number of comments suggesting that this was yet another example of the need for a New England or Northern new state.
I haven't checked back, I am short of time, but it must be two years now that the need for a new state first surfaced in comments on Herald stories. At first the comments were scattered. Now they have become a consistent thread. The simple idea that self-government for the North is a part solution to the problems of misgovernment in the Hunter is becoming entrenched.
Obviously I welcome this, given my own views. Yet what's interesting from a political perspective is the way that an idea once rejected as just too left field, a figment of the past, has again become current.
Wearing my New England hat, the politicians ignore this at their peril. The defeat of the NSW Labor Government was widely welcomed as the start of a new direction in NSW. In relief, people were prepared to give Sydney the benefit of the doubt. And yet. all this did was suspend a deeply felt cynicism.
What commentators and others locked into conventional metro mind sets fail to realise is that this cynicism is not just about politics as such, but about the actual structures of Government.
My 23rd November Express column was entitled return of New England. New England is back. Ignore us at your peril!