Monday, July 03, 2006

the southcoast: the Geoff Robinson blog

I have just come across a very thoughtful and I think useful blog -

Published by Geoff Robinson, the blog defines itself in part as "historically informed comments on labour and politics with an Australian & North American focus."

I come at things from a different perspective to Geoff.

To the degree that I now have a party political position I describe myself as Country Party. My grandfather (David Drummond) was a Country Party parlimentarian. As a child I handed out party how to vote cards at election after election. Later I was a Country Party machine official, helping rebuild the party in Eden-Monaro. In this role, I supported and actively promoted the change of name to National Country Party, a move I now regret. I also ran for but lost party preselection.

My views on social issues never fitted exactly with the conservatism of some party members. But I felt strongly then and now that the basic philosophy of the party, its belief in the small person, in the virtues of cooperation, in the need for electoral systems to prevent the oppression of the minority by the majority, was right.

While I come at things from a different perspective to Geoff, I support what I see as one of his key points, that the past should be used to inform the present. I also find his different perspective refreshing. Finally, his blog seems to include a wealth of interesting links.


Geoff Robinson said...

Thanks for the comment, Jim. One day I'll make it up to Armidale to look at the Farmers & Settlers Association records. The interwar Country Party kept its records unlike Labor or the Nationalists/UAP and I have been through some of them. Your grandfather must have been popular to survive the Labor tide in 1944 when Hughes couldn't in 1953. I once floated around the fringes of politics but soon decided I was a better historian than politician!

Jim Belshaw said...

I am not sure, Geoff, why this should be so. I suspect, although this may just be prejudice speaking, that both Labor and Country Party and related organisations kept better records (I note your comment on the inter-war Labor Party) because they were movements.

The UAP/Nationalists rose and fell a number of times. I feel that they tended to be against rather than for things, and so were very vulnerable to changes in electoral fortune. They also had more people (I think) that went into the Party for a career and were profoundly ambitious.

When you get to Armidale, take a little time to scan some of the other material in the archives. Most of the Drummond papers, for example, are there including his ministerial letter books containing every minute he sent to the Department throughout his long career as education minister.