Wednesday, May 16, 2018

History columnist Jim Belshaw believes history is vital for policymaking

Armidale Express feature by Nicholas Fuller on yours truly: History columnist Jim Belshaw believes history is vital for policymaking.  Cross posted on my other blogs.


2 tanners said...

History is an element in good policy making, as is previous policy, current research, standing budget and self interest. Not really sure what any of these except current research (all stakeholders actually involved in the regulation of chemicals prefer it it Canberra, where it would be cheaper) and self interest (the governments of Armidale, Canberra and Tamworth would all like a good suck at the Government teat).

I agree with what you say but I expect it's been abbreviated and the example selected is more for topicality than for the definitive proof of your position.

Sue said...

Hi Jim

I shall always be grateful that you encouraged me to study history: it's been an enormous bonus and pleasure in my life. Thank you.

(Why have you aged to look like Pierre Trudeau,whereas I am more the Ma Kettle look alike?)

Just one more of life's little puzzles.


Anonymous said...

And all with not even a hint, nor a tittle, nor even half a greasy cheeseburger plus a ferw leftover fries of acknowledgement given to your unsung research assistants?

I will just leave you with this map from 1842, which quite clearly shows the inky words "New England" assiduously following the course of the Clarence:

(click on "image", then use the magnification ability to see the care with which this rendering of New England has been noted :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Sorry all for my slow response on these comments :(

Well, 2t, starting with you. The point about history is that it does provide a guide but no more. Past policy is an integral element of history. When I was looking at new policy approaches in aerospace including space I pulled out every file I could find from archives since the second world war. When I was looking at new approaches to industry policy, I wrote a history of industry policy first. Both provided a context and generated ideas. They did not necessarily help me to get things through because those we were dealing with in Treasury et al were locked in the present and immediate past and did not realise how their own blinkers had been formed.

On APVMA, and this wasn't the context of my remarks in the interview, APVMA has had a problem in attracting staff for a long time. That links to problems of getting people to move to Canberra, something with a considerable historical trail, plus limited local training. My argument was a move to Armidale might help fix this. If APVMA stayed in Canberra, the problem would continue unless targeted action was taken and then it wasn't guaranteed of success.

More specifically, the mayor of Tamworth complained that Tamworth had lost 300 gov jobs in recent times and asked why Armidale should have been favoured. In discussing this in the interview I noted first that if the mayor's comments helped block the move the Tamworth would lose the spin-off benefits and would also drain support from Armidale and elsewhere for the things that it wanted to achieve. I noted the way in which local parochialism had so damaged cooperative action in the past and the role the new state moment had helped overcome that. I also noted that the status quo arguments used against the APVMA move were almost identical to those used against the establishment of the Armidale Teachers College or wool selling at Newcastle, both considerable successes.

Jim Belshaw said...

While I'm happy to be compared with Pierre Trudeau, Sue, I do wonder about your comparison to Ma Kettle! History is fun. And kvd, my virus checker would not allow me to get to that site, "an unsupported protocol"! Very frustrating

Anonymous said...

Well that's a shame Jim - because I wanted to ask you about "Drummond Rd" noted on the map, a little west of New England, running to the Gwyidr River - i.e. was there a family connection, given this was 1840. Last try:

- then click on "iiifviewer" on the right side of the screen


Jim Belshaw said...

Still no luck. That's frustrating because it actually looks an interesting site. It seems to be just taht one part of the site. But no, there wouldn't be a connection if it was 1840. He didn't get to Amridale till 1907, Inverell 1911. But waht a good research assistant you are!