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Latest posts from Gerry Lynch (see all)

Gerry Lynch has posted 41 times (1 in the last month).

Russia, China, Crimea, Xinjiang and Putin’s Risky Gambit

Thu 27 March 2014, 11:14pm
Photo credit – under Creative Commons licence.

Tweet My train of thought started with with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard article in the Telegraph on the possible impact of Putin’s Crimea gambit on Sino-Russian relations entitled Putin’s Russia caught in US and Chinese double-pincer. Pritchard has his own prejudices, of course, and the headline is terrible – there is no Sino-American diplomatic co-ordination to effect […] more »

Anna Lo, and the Myth that Northern Ireland Politics is about the Border

Sun 23 March 2014, 10:49pm

Tweet I very much doubt Anna Lo’s Irish News interview was in the Alliance Party’s 2014 elections gameplan. While almost all members of the party will remain loyal to her in public, I have equally little doubt that a number are privately fuming. Even some of them will have little problem with what she said, […] more »

Presbyterian Church Punishes Ford for Marriage Equality Vote

Thu 25 April 2013, 8:45am
Alliance Annual Conference 2011

Tweet The News Letter and the Antrim Guardian have both reported that Justice Minister David Ford has ‘agreed’ to step down from his duties as an elder at Second Donegore Presbyterian Church in County Antrim, as a result of his vote in favour of civil marriage equality. This seems to have been the result of […] more »

UKIP’s voters – older, more male and more working class. But especially older.

Thu 7 March 2013, 12:57pm

Tweet YouGov have produced a wonderful composite of all their February 2013 polling to try and give a realistic picture of which bits of the electorate are behind UKIP’s polling surge into double figures , a trend which was clear well before the party pushed the Tories into third place in the Eastleigh by-election last […] more »

Eastleigh: Bad for Tories, Better for LDs, Best for UKIP

Fri 1 March 2013, 12:35pm
Eastleigh by-election

Tweet So the LibDems held on to Eastleigh by a narrow majority of 1,771 or just 4.3%, with UKIP surging into second place. Alex Massie in the Speccie warns against overanalysing by-elections, while Martin Kettle argued last week in the Guardian that this was the most crucial by-election in decades. I’m inclined to agree with […] more »

Basil and John need a name for their New Party: Can you help?

Thu 28 February 2013, 11:51am

Tweet Renegade former Ulster Unionist MLAs Basil McCrea and John McCallister have now publicly announced that they intend to set up a new political party for those disaffected with the political direction of the UUP under Mike Nesbitt’s leadership. At this point, the new party still needs a name. As both Basil and John lived […] more »

Italy’s Five Star Movement – is this what The End of History looks like?

Thu 28 February 2013, 7:00am
Former TV comedian Beppe Grillo on his election 'Tsunami Tour'. Photo by Roberto Beragnoli.

Tweet In 1992, Francis Fukayama predicted in The End of History that the end of the Cold War would impend not only an era of triumphant liberal-democratic capitalism, but one where political evolution had reached its final form. Western democracy, he argued, was the best form of state organisation practically achievable by humans. The folly […] more »

The Sad State of North Belfast’s Riverside

Thu 21 February 2013, 3:15pm

Tweet A bright, cold, day earlier this week saw me head out for a constitutional along what is now rather a pleasant route along the banks of the Lagan past the Odyssey and up to the Titanic Museum. With the hazy afternoon sun making the East Belfast bank of the river look particularly pretty, and […] more »

Copernicus’ “Google Doodle” and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Tue 19 February 2013, 7:03pm

Tweet Sunday past was the 413th anniversary of the execution of Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake for heresies such as proposing that the Sun is a star and that the other stars in the sky are also Suns, probably accompanied by planets very much like ours). Today, more auspiciously, is the 460th anniversary of […] more »

Home Rule, Rome Rule and Gay Marriage

Thu 7 February 2013, 12:58pm

Tweet Last September, Unionists paraded in their tens of thousands through Belfast to celebrate the centenary of the Ulster Covenant. From the days of Lilibullero in the 17th Century, Ulster Protestantism has always had a particular genius for summing up its political causes in easily remembered ditties and catchphrases. Perhaps the easiest slogan to remember […] more »

Latest comments from Gerry Lynch (see all)

Gerry Lynch has commented 165 times (3 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Russia, China, Crimea, Xinjiang and Putin’s Risky Gambit
    on 28 March 2014 at 1:05 am

    China will make deals with Russia when it benefits the Chinese and the Russians will make deals with China when the Russians feel they are doing well. Other times they will oppose each other, simple as that.


    What we are seeing is the end of western, and of late US, world hegemony.

    Harry, my goodness, I actually agree with two things you’ve said! It’s taken over a decade on this blog. By the way, Britain has a more than ‘two dimensional’ view of its interests too. No amount of outrage about Crimea has stopped the City of London processing the finances of Russian oligarchs or Kensington estate agents selling them houses at astronomical prices. British policy on Crimea is shout loudly but carry a giant Q tip, quietly sending signals to the Russians that you aren’t going to use it.

    However, your comments on Russia returning to its own backyard – and actually into a few of the neighbours byu your reckoning – presupposes it has the capacity to do so. As I mentioned, its economy is in a mess and it has a shrinking, ageing, population even though men don’t live terribly long in Russia.

    Russia isn’t returning to Eastern Europe anywhere beyond Donetsk, even in the most extreme scenario, and in most of Central Asia its influence has been gradually but steadily on the wane since 1992. Russia isn’t returning to the Near East any time soon but they’ll continue to make money supplying quality armaments to the highest bidder. The Russia-Israel arms trading relationship is enormous, for example, while the Russians also arm Assad and Iran for fun and profit.

    As for East Asia, yes, all sorts of things could happen. The intensity of nationalism and mutual hatred in that part of the world took me aback when I first encountered it. The problem with neo-realists like yourself is that you tend to take the worst case scenario as the most likely and then work hard to make it so.

    The only realistic strategy for the West given the shifting balance of power globally is to work out a realistic sphere of influence and try and make it stable. That’s probably better for everyone than us starting stupid wars in the Middle East every couple of years on the basis of Messiah complex liberal interventionism. Assuming such a thing as “the West” survives more than a few decades, but I think it will.

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  2. Comment on Welcome to The [Gay] Central [Bar] in Strabane…
    on 27 March 2014 at 11:21 pm

    There’s a really good Pride parade in Newry these days as well. Had a great day out at the first one.

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  3. Comment on Anna Lo, and the Myth that Northern Ireland Politics is about the Border
    on 26 March 2014 at 12:38 am

    Let’s unpack this tribalism thing. Turgon jumped in to take offence at it rather than presenting against what I said. So I’ll restate it.

    The four traditional parties would all resent any suggestion that they are only interested in communal advantage and argue that they are geared at advancing/preserving a particular constitutional objective, which they believe is in the best interests of everyone in NI regardless of religion/tribe/w.h.y. The problem is that’s not what they do in practice.

    In reality, they are all useless at arguing for their constitutional position. Unionists have never even had to; if the day ever comes where they might, they’ve annoyed pretty much all the possible swing voters. Nationalists can’t make effective use of the All Ireland tools available to them or even lock in their own voters for a border poll.

    What Northern Ireland political parties are about is communal advancement (for the Nationalists) and communal defence (for the Unionists). That subtle but important difference is one reason why Nationalists seem so much more appealing to outsiders at first blush and why Unionists always think they’re losing even though they’ve won. In any case, they’re all about looking out for ‘us’, especially when ‘themmuns’ are up to their antics. Call it communalism if you find the word tribalism offensive. But that’s the substance. Unlike, say, the SNP or the Parti Québecois, the SDLP don’t really expect to convince UUP or DUP voters to support a United Ireland. And they’re the least tribalised of the four.

    Why do people vote Sinn Féin if they don’t particularly want Irish Unity any time soon? Either because they just enjoy the way the Shinners stick it up to the Huns or despite despairing of the way the Shinners stick it up to the Huns, they think the Huns are even worse and need their cards marked. And the same, mutatis mutandis applies on the other side of the community.

    As for the whole looking down my nose at working-class Prods thing about Twaddell… where to start! As Stalin pointed out, the UVF, who run Camp Twaddell can’t even get a councillor elected from the Shankill these days. Half of working-class Prods have opted out of the political system entirely; they have a variety of views if pushed, but despair at the flag waving joke that passes for Unionist politics is certainly part of the reason. And just because a bunch of gun-toting thugs claim to speak for a community, doesn’t mean they do.

    Actually, we do occasionally bedeck Salisbury in flegs and bunting, westprog (a voice of common sense!) At times a Royal Jubilee or when locally-based troops here in Army country are coming back from Afghanistan. The atmosphere is about as far from the average band parade as you could imagine and A Good Time Is Had By All. But that’s actual Britishness as opposed to the ersatz variety that’s usually the only one on offer in Northern Ireland.

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  4. Comment on Pilot offers a ‘smoke in the cabin” scenario for #MH370 on G+….
    on 19 March 2014 at 10:57 pm

    I’m quite happy to crosspost here if Mick doesn’t think it’s an inappropriate use of bandwidth. I’ll tidy up a bit at the end too before I too it, as my language gets a bit impenetrable there.

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  5. Comment on #Haass talks D-Day-No Agreement
    on 31 December 2013 at 12:33 am

    David Crookes

    Sorry, a film is being watched belowstairs, so I’ll come back in about two hours.

    Did you invite Wee Jeffrey to join you? He’s a real film buff.

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  6. Comment on Scotland – will the Orange Order save the Union?
    on 23 April 2013 at 9:51 pm

    1. It’s very unlikely the referendum will come all that close to passing.

    2. The Better Together/No campaign will not exactly welcome the ‘support’ of the Orange Order.

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  7. Comment on Sinn Fein steps in at the last minute to call an end to the Stopes farce…
    on 13 March 2013 at 10:29 pm

    The SDLP absentees were McDonell, Attwood, Eastwood, McKevitt and Dallat.

    I have no doubt Alasdair and John Dallat would have supported the motion. The other three may have been conscientious absentees. Disappointed that Mark H Durkan voted for the motion.

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  8. Comment on Sinn Fein steps in at the last minute to call an end to the Stopes farce…
    on 13 March 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Can someone explain to me how the Assembly was even competent to vote on this matter, as abortion is a reserved matter for the government at Westminster? Or has that changed?

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  9. Comment on No surprises in Mid Ulster as Molloy wins; turnout dips down from 91.5% in 1969 by-election to just 55.7%
    on 8 March 2013 at 7:49 am

    Your headline is wrong – the 91% turnout was in 1970. The 86% turnout in 1997 was indeed remarkable for the modern era. All those figures were inflated by personation and postal vote fraud on an epic scale. The postal vote fraud only ended in the last few years.

    As for the result, I wouldn’t overanalyse minor swings too much. Pasty McGlone is a well good candidate, well dug in locally, whose.main opponent ran away from a TV debate and, for the first time in 20 odd years, wasn’t called Martin McGuinness. Nigel Lutton kept Unionist turnout from falling too badly, in part because a surprising number of Unionists, wrongly, seem to have thought a joint Unionist candidate could win. Alliance get the prize for epically bad spinning by claiming a tiny increase in a tiny vote as some sort of major victory. SF is claiming a massive victory when their vote stayed at home more than others’.

    In reality, there’s little to see here. The changes in share of the vote were minor and turnout was actually really very good for a mid-term by-election in a safe seat in a society that is no longer in a minor civil war and no longer turns a blind eye to postal vote fraud. Mid Ulster remains the constituency least likely to see a change in Assembly representation, and hadn’t since 1998. If anything, this by-election was remarkable for continuity, not change, after months of fleg wrangles.

    But that won’t stop overblown claims of an SDLP revival and Unionist Unity from climbing to the top of the political agenda.

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  10. Comment on UKIP’s voters – older, more male and more working class. But especially older.
    on 7 March 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Only 12%of UKIP’s current supporters voted for it in 2010? Is that not similar to suggesting that Man Utd supporters follow Liverpool?

    Many people change how they vote between one election and another. Otherwise (think about it) every election would have the same result.

    This happens in football too. What proportion of current Man City supporters supported them in 2005? What proportion of Chelsea supporters did in 1995?

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