Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Snippets - As Darkness Falls, New England Woes, Hugh Frewen

Photo: Bronwyn's new book.

In As Darkness Falls - a good read, I reported on Bronwyn Parry's new book. Bronwyn is in fact the partner of Gordon Smith of lookANDsee. At the time I had only read the first chapter on line. I then bought the book and read it in one sitting.

It is in fact quite gripping as a crime story, although the romance genre itself is not quite my style. Bronwyn has established her own blog, Bronwyn Parry - Australian Romantic Suspense as part of the marketing activity.

The use of blogs and web sites as a marketing device to support new fiction is quite widespread. In updating New England Australia - blogs, I added some of Sophie Masson's blogs as well as Bronwyn's.

On a less positive note, the dispute between the University of New England's Chancellor and Vice Chancellor has now spilled over to ICAC (the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption). I haven't written much on this one because I find the damage being done to my University just so depressing. I am desperately hoping that the independent inquiry by Justice Street can resolve things.

Staying on the New England theme, the Nationals heavy defeat in Lyne was not a surprise, although the scale of the defeat was. I set out my own views on the National's position following the Howard Government's defeat in New Directions - and thoughts for the Nationals. I followed this a little later with Reasons for the coalition loss in NSW, March 2007 .

My key point, I suppose, was the need for the Nationals to carve out a clear position in terms of their role as a Party of and for the regions, not just a country cipher of the conservative wing of politics. I had intended to write more on this, but had no heart for it following the merger in Queensland.

Facing extinction, the WA Nationals had no real choice but to go it alone. They fought as a truly independent cross-bench party and the electorate has rewarded them. At this point at least, a new coalition agreement has been ruled out, so if the remaining votes go the way as predicted, the WA Nats will determine which Party forms Government.

I really enjoyed Kim Beasley's somewhat naughty commentary last night on Sky TV. He knows his history and knows how to stir at the same time. Citing past cases of Country Party/Labor Party cooperation, he said that if he was ALP leader in WA he would now being talking very seriously indeed to the Nats to determine their price.

I think that we can talk about price in this case. The Nats have earned their position. They have said that they will sit on the cross-benches and have quite explicity not ruled out supporting either of the major parties. I smiled at Liberal discomfort here. Now if they (the WA Nats) have the skills, they can negotiate in the best interests of their constituents in a way precluded by normal coalition arrangements with their in-built compromises.

Continuing with a somewhat New England theme, the post I wrote on Hugh Frewen, Saturday Morning Musings - Hugh Frewen: a New England story, has continued to draw interest and more information in comments. I enjoyed writing this post, and am pleased that it has drawn a response. However, as I read the latest comment from one of Hugh Frewen's grandaughters I was reminded again of the need to exercise care where people are involved.

Some time ago I did another such post about some one I had known. It was one of those reminiscence pieces in which I mixed together my own recollections with information gathered from the web. In this case, the person in question whom I had not seen for over forty years found the piece and pointed to errors in my memories. I altered the post, but was reminded of the need for care.

In saying all this, I am not suggesting that Hugh's granddaughter was upset. I don't think she was. However, when we write about people at a personal level who are alive or have living family, we do need to take the potential impact of what we say into account.

This does not mean tampering with the truth, although the idea of truth itself can be a difficult one, simply being sensitive.

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