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Julian Neal

At the crossroads for Britain’s future

Voting in the third referendum of this decade, the stability of Britain’s political continuum faces being wrenched onto an unknown path by its electorate. On June 23rd Britain can choose to embrace its membership of the European Union or reject its crucial forty year role in the bloc. As chairman of the Tory Party’s Conservatives Abroad Canadian branch, proud to call Canada my home but with a natural belief in what is best for the United Kingdom, I believe that for the sake of the country’s social, defensive and economic future – and its very international stature – we must decide on the former. Via proxy, I will therefore be voting for Britain to remain a member of the European Union next Thursday. To secure the best outcome for our country, we must defy the damaging claims of Brexit supporters and Vote Leave campaigners, who have amassed a range of ill-conceived calculations, myths and whipped up economic figures to put forward their hollow case for leaving the EU. Boris Johnson’s mastery of language certainly adds a flowery layer to their cause for argument’s sake, but his pro-Brexit stance belies a move of clear political opportunism. Don’t forget the real face of Brexit: UKIP – parochial in mindset, hateful in the notion of a modern, open Britain and fearful of the world beyond its borders. The Vote Leave campaign’s statements that EU membership costs £350 million weekly (it’s less than half this, even ignoring monetary rebates), or that a points-based immigration system which the UK has technically adopted since 2008 will lead to less immigration (it hasn’t in the US and Australia) are rooted in unreality. The reality is that being an EU member makes Britain stronger in many respects. It is important to get the real facts before the all-important… Read More

Dear Ontario PCs: Look across the way

Four elections running, the voters of Ontario have decisively rejected the Progressive Conservative Party. For the second and final time, Tim Hudak has seen his desires for premiership resolutely snatched away and handed to his Liberal opponent. He now joins the ranks of opposition leaders throughout Canadian history of varying parties to seek their mandate on multiple terms with a failure to reach government. Democracy teaches many good lessons, and if the PC party wishes to learn from their mistakes and reverse their fortunes, they might do well to partake in a worthwhile study of British politics. In an overarching sense, the PCs currently find themselves in a similar and precarious predicament to the Labour Party in 1992 and, perhaps more appropriately, the Conservatives in 2005. After Labour’s disastrous showing in the general election of 1983, the party looked to Neil Kinnock in whom they saw a viable leader to rescue them from near third party status in the popular vote. Inheriting a deeply divided, extremist party, Kinnock looked to modernize and drag Labour away from the unelectable far left and closer to the centre. After losing the 1987 election, Labour initially seemed poised, from years of constitutional change and militant expulsion, to win in 1992. Yet the result defied belief when John Major’s Conservatives achieved a fourth election victory. When Tony Blair took the helm in 1994, he radically modernized Labour even further than Kinnock, scrapping its wide support for nationalization, nuclear disarmament and anti-market sentiment, retaining much of the Conservatives’ policy on trade unions, Europe and swathes of the economy. In 1997, Labour swept to victory and the Conservatives were left in tatters. After eighteen years in the wilderness, ‘New’ Labour had returned to power. Blair knew his party was never going to win again if it didn’t… Read More

In Bad Taste? The Ship of Dreams Returns

The RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on April 10th, 1912 and was destined for New York. After colliding with an iceberg near midnight on April 14th, it eventually sank causing the deaths of 1,500 people. Plans have recently surfaced to recreate the infamous liner to be ready for operation in late 2016.The sinking of the RMS Titanic which shook the world over a century ago is arguably the most famous maritime disaster in history. The immortal story of the ill-fated ‘Ship of Dreams’ transcends common knowledge, academic or personal interest and professional pursuits of study to this day. The unfinished journey of the unsinkable White Star Line vessel has been told and recaptured through a number of books, films and even music. Now, the Titanic is set to be reborn in a way once deemed virtually unimaginable, thanks to one Australian billionaire with the money, due imagination and – perhaps – the daring to do so.Constructed in Belfast, Northern Ireland by shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff, the Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York on April 10th, 1912. The largest movable object on the globe at that time, she was unashamedly boasted by J. Bruce Ismay, the ship’s chief builder, as the epitome of luxury, safety and unrivaled craftsmanship. On her first trip, she carried over 2,000 passengers and crew, from the rich and wealthy which adorned her First Class cabins to the hundreds of European immigrants seeking a new life in North America. Four days after departing England, the Titanic struck an iceberg which fatally ruptured her hull and, after about two hours of slowly floundering, submitted to the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean and sank, taking with it all but roughly a third of those onboard.Last year, on the 100th anniversary of… Read More