Author Archive | Gerry Lynch

If Brexit means Brexit, the UK Can’t Block an EU Army

“This is not going to happen. We are full members of the EU and we will go on resisting any attempt to set up a rival to NATO.” Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s response to proposals for an EU army discussed at the Bratislava summit ‘informal gathering’ of EU Heads of Government (minus Theresa May), more…

Queuing to vote in Cape Town's Athlone district in 2011.

South Africa: An Electoral Tremor, Not An Earthquake

In few countries would a governing political party in the throes of internal crisis consider 54% of the vote in mid-term elections to local councils a disappointing result. In South Africa, however, this represents a significant shot across the bows of the ANC 22 years after it took power, a decline of 8% from the more…

A historic day in politics: not Boris, but Vienna calling

A potentially epoch-making day in European politics: no, not the shenanigans in London on Thursday (of which a brief mention in a moment), but in Vienna on Friday. The Austrian Supreme Court has ordered a rerun of May’s knife-edge Presidential Election, in which Alexander von Bellen, a Green, held off the Norbert Hofer of the more…

House of Commons

On parliamentary sovereignty and post-Brexit Britain

The latest phase in the stages of grieving for Remainers is the idea that parliament can save the UK’s membership of the EU. How would that play in blue-collar England? As 78% of the men on the Clapham omnibus, in the London Borough of Lambeth, voted Remain, we’ll need someone different to act as our more…

We can already see a post-Brexit economy emerging. It’s grim.

Here’s a confusing financial press headline from today: German 10-year sovereign bond yields turn negative for first time. What does that mean in plain English: it means traders are so worried about what the UK economy would look like post-Brexit, they’re pulling their money out of the UK, and actually paying the German government to more…

Why has the Mail on Sunday gone soft on Brexit?

“[I]t is clearer than ever that the Leave campaigners are losing the economic argument … Their preoccupation with immigration … can sometimes seem more like an obsession, and one that is not entirely free of a prejudice that most British people have long ago rejected.” These are excerpts from today’s editorial lead in the Mail more…

After the Marriage Equality Veto

The Northern Ireland Assembly voted in favour of opening marriage to couples of the same gender by 53 votes to 52 yesterday, although in our Potëmkin democracy it is unlikely to become law any time soon. Although I have known for several years that this would be an inevitable stage in the road to marriage more…

LRB 1987 cover Paisley

Paisley: Relic of the Past or Harbinger of the Future?

I recently chanced upon this 1987 review by Charles Townshend in the LRB of Steve Bruce’s God Save Ulster: The Religion and Politics of Paisleyism. It now reads as a fascinating period piece. Just the previous month, Paisley had performed the first of his major protests at the European Parliament, heckling Margaret Thatcher. She was more…

The Pope Is Still A Catholic

Lefty atheists from North London to Northern California are in outrage today at the latest shock revelations that Pope Francis is, in fact, a Catholic. “The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways”, thundered Michaelangelo Signorile in the Huffington Post, outraged that the Pope had (briefly) met Kim Davis. Ms Davis, more…

North Korea is adopting a new time zone.

A Brief History of Time

In what is claimed to be a blow against one of the last remnants of Japanese Imperialism, North Korea will move to a new time zone on 15 August, the 70th Anniversary of the surrender of Japanese forces on the Peninsula at the end of World War Two. Clocks will move back by half an more…

“A Battle A Day” Is Creating A Political Wasteland

“It will always be a battle a day between those who want maximum change and those who want to maintain the status quo”. Recognise the quote? It came from Gerry Adams’ speech calling for the IRA to permanently abandon violence in 2005. Just a few days before the 2007 Assembly Elections that restored devolved government, more…

Charles Kennedy in Glasgow, 2009. (C) "Moniker42" on Wikimedia Commons under CC 3.0.

On Charlie Kennedy

There’s lots of talk about Charlie Kennedy’s talents and his ‘flaws’, often a euphemistic way of talking about his alcoholism. Alistair Campbell has blogged movingly and directly about their shared illness. It was never exactly a secret. I remember canvassing a man in the 2004 European election campaign, a rather grand chap in a very more…

General Buhari holding a broom "to sweep Nigerian politics clean"£ at a campign rally. Photo: Heinrich Böll Foundation.

A Good Week for Democracy Globally

There was something discomfiting about the funeral of Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore’s achievements under his rule were extraordinary, but the story presented on his death was a sanitised fable. World leaders queued up to subscribe to the cult of wise old Harry, father of the nation. Lee wasn’t so benevolent when challenged. Opposition politicians were more…

Your Guide to Israel’s General Election

Israel goes to the polls on St Patrick’s Day to elect a new parliament, which in turn will either confirm incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu in office or oust him in favour of the centre-left. The St Patrick’s Day connection? If Netanyahu loses, he will be replaced by a man whose father was born in Belfast’s Clifton more…

Konstantin_Chernenko

Two Tribes, The Winds of Change and an old man’s death

30 years ago today a man only moderately old died in an élite Moscow hospital; he had smoked incessantly for six of his seven decades and drank heavily for five, and after years of mounting illness, his liver, lungs and heart had all given in. His name was Konstantin Chernenko and he had, for 13 more…

On The Road

Flegs and Anthems

I was interested to note the Union Flag carefully positioned immediately beside Belfast PUP Councillor Julie-Anne Corr Johnson for her interview with BBC NI’s The View recently. “On one hand they tell us the British identity of Northern Ireland citizens is under threat”, she thundered, “whilst at the same time denying British citizens like me more…

Gay Life in NI if the Conscience Clause Were Enacted

It was a summer Friday in 2008, and we were in a provincial town West of the Bann. Jordin Sparks was Number 1 and Ian Paisley’s tenure as leader of Our Wee Country had ended a few weeks before. We’d planned a day trip, but we’d ended up exploring a bit further than expected. It more…

Praying for Ian Paisley’s Soul

I have prayed for the happy repose of the soul of Ian Paisley. Initially almost to make him turn in his grave, but then with sincerity. The Book of Common Prayer says that Christ died as a “full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world”. Note the sins more…