Jim Belshaw’s “Confessions of a Policy Adviser – 2:Beginnings”

30 Oct

Jim’s personal memories are more interesting than most as he is a man who has been close to the seat of power in Canberra and, furthermore, on a part of the right-wing (centrist?) spectrum that is perhaps out of favour these days. He is also a historian and writes very well. Do go there.

Let me quote two comments from that page:

ninglun said…

This is fascinating stuff, Jim. I’ll get back to it, and refer to it, when I have finished my current sidetrack (?) into Islam and other matters.

1:27 PM, October 30, 2006

Jim Belshaw said…

Thanks, Neil.

I have, of course, been following your material on Islam and other matters. I haven’t commented because I think that you are playing a good role in disentangling issues and haven’t had anything productive to to add.

1:50 PM, October 30, 2006

I appreciate that Jim, as it has been a bit like the myth of Sisyphus over here lately. Glad someone sees what I aim to do, however inadequately. Much of what I write is in fact an attempt to find out what I know, what I still need to know, and to clarify and refine my ideas.

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Posted by on October 30, 2006 in Aussie interest, Jim Belshaw, Personal, Politics


3 responses to “Jim Belshaw’s “Confessions of a Policy Adviser – 2:Beginnings”

  1. Jim Belshaw

    October 30, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Neil, thank you for your comments. I am finding this round of writing enjoyable but also hard. Enjoyable because I am exploring, remembering, things that were important to me in a personal sense. Hard because I have to avoid being self-indulgent.

    I do not know whether I am right or centrist in today’s terms. Like you, I find that change in Australia means that I do not fit in current models. But what I do want to do is to try to bring alive that far country that is our collective past.

    Your current material is not easy to read. It requires the reader to sit back and think,to see how things fit together, to check your links. So it’s not like the standard blog entry. And that’s its value for those of us interested in ideas.

  2. ninglun

    October 30, 2006 at 8:56 pm

    The blog as a text type is still developing; I guess it is predominantly informal and conversational, and given the speed with which most people read blogs that is appropriate. On the other hand, as you know, there is no reason not to post heavier and more formal things on blogs — except that the last few days I felt as if I was churning out university seminar papers at an absurd speed!

    Thank God, though, the internet is also a marvellous research tool, but in the case of the Islam entries I could draw on maybe over a hundred posts, many substantial, that I had written before, some of them quite extensive. Many of those posts gave me links I had found before.

    I usually link for a reason, knowing full well that this hypertextual feature, which is one of the glories of the internet, is not actually used by many readers. Still, if they want to know, they can go where I point — while the link remains accurate, of course. I try to keep the links updated on my English and ESL pages, but even that is like painting the Harbour Bridge; on blogs you have to just launch the links and let them rot, unless there is some post where they are so valuable you might go back and update them.

    Working as an ESL teacher with some students (not only ESL) of Muslim background was a powerful motivation to learn, especially in a post-September 11 context. ESL teachers become by default and of necessity advocates of cross-cultural understanding, in both directions, and of pluralism, the reality of which they confront every day. I learned a lot from some of those students, and from gatherings of ESL teachers, some of whom worked in predominantly Muslim environments. I also have an older friend (to whom I occasionally refer as the Mufti of Watson’s Bay) who after a quite distinguished career in the Christian church converted to Islam; mind you, in his case much of that career was in Muslim countries, and the simplicity of the faith appealed to him; talks with him have contributed too.

    I was happy to see that Deus Lo Vult (who is only 20 years old, or so I gather from his blog) took on board some of what I wrote, and responded accordingly. Good when that happens.

    I think I’ll get back to being conversational for a while though…

    Three times I have come back to fix typos in my own comment! The usual “enviroment” ==> “environment” and so on… Bah!

  3. Jim Belshaw

    October 30, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Conversational is good too, Neil, and for your own sanity! The degree of checking required for long entries is indeed like multiple seminar papers.

    Do not underestimate the value of the link function, it’s one of the joys of the blog format. I am to bed. It seems to have been a long day.

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