Sunday, 17 November 2013

Local democracy in action

Today was a great day for local democracy. Over 250 local residents went to a meeting at a local school to select the next Parliamentary candidate for the Conservative party in North East Hampshire. What made this unusual was that over 100 of these residents were not party members, for this was an open primary.

4 candidates were presented to us. Helen Whately and Spencer Pitfield were very good. They presented themselves well, answered the questions with skill, and made a generally good impression. It would have been very close between them had they been the only two candidates, and both would make excellent MPs.

However, on this occasion we also had 2 outstanding candidates. Victoria Atkins is a name I am sure we will hear again, as she will certainly get a seat soon. She spoke with conviction, fire and passion, and on any other day would probably have won.

But today, there was also an outstanding local candidate, brought up and schooled in the constituency, and with 5 years experience on the local council. Ranil Jayawardena spoke brilliantly, also with passion and conviction.

The vote was taken, and after a nervous wait, Ranil was confirmed as the victor, and after the formality of ratification by the local party membership was formally selected as the next candidate for the Conservatives at the 2015 election.

Conservatives often get a bad press, but this venture into more open and accountable local politics is to be commended. There are no 'Falkirk' moments in the Conservative party.

Oh, and Ranil is also a Christian, and a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.

The Government will be a much better place with the likes of Ranil (and Victoria, Helen and Spencer) in it. A new breed of Conservatives are rising, ones in touch with their local constituents, because they have to convince them to even get selected.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remembrance Day

On this Remembrance Day we have stood in silence to honour the millions who have fallen so that the world may have peace.

One of the things about the World Wars that is not mentioned enough is their truly global nature. These Wars united humanity in the struggle against evil in a way never seen before or since.

The British 14th army in Burma in 1944/45 was the most multi-racial army in history.

According to Wikipedia these countries fought against the Germans and their allies in the First World War:
 Andorra,  Belgium,  Brazil, Republic of China (1912–1949) Republic of China,  Costa Rica,  Cuba, Bohemia Czechoslovak Legions, France France,  Greece,  Guatemala,  Haiti,  Honduras,  Italy, Japan Japan,  Liberia,  Montenegro,    Nepal,  Nicaragua,  Panama, Portugal Portugal,  Romania,  Russia ,  San Marino,  Serbia, Thailand Siam (now Thailand),  United Kingdom,  Canada, British Raj British India (now India, Bangladesh, Burma and Pakistan),  Newfoundland,  Australia,  New Zealand, Flag of Malta (1923-1943).svg Malta,  South Africa, Flag of BSAC edit.svg Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), administered by the British South Africa Company, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland British crown colonies, United States United States, United States Philippines,  Puerto Rico

In the Second World War the list is as follows:
 Soviet Union,  United States,  United Kingdom,  China,  France, Poland,  Canada,  Australia,  Yugoslavia,  Greece,  Belgium,  Netherlands,  New Zealand,  Norway,  South Africa, Brazil,  Mexico,  Czechoslovakia, Mongolia Mongolia,  Philippines

Because of this, it always makes me angry when some people try to use Remembrance Day as a symbol of Nationalism and Isolationism. The two World Wars united people of all races, of all religions and of all colours under a common flag and a common goal.

Let us remember the times we have all worked together in the past, and use those times to give us hope for the future.