Author Archives: Ron Aitken

Opinion: Lessons learned the hard way will have to be re-learned following the riots in Tottenham

As a young research assistant I was in Northern Ireland on the day of the June 1987 General Election, campaigning for the re-election of my boss the Rev Martin Smyth, Ulster Unionist MP for South Belfast and head of the Orange Order.

Elections in Northern Ireland were always conducted in a way mindful of possible violence or terrorist attack, and an RUC patrol intercepted a car in the vicinity of a school being used as a polling station. The IRA occupants of the car were found to be armed and an explosive device was also found. Mr Smyth was in the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Tunisia – forgotten backwater of French and US power now a basket case

Almost ten years ago the School of Oriental and African Studies, (SOAS) awarded me a small research grant to go to Tunisia with the aim of charting her growing relationship with the EU. Algeria, Morrocco, ultimately Libya joined an EU free trade deal to open markets and democratise instutions. Ten years on these initiatives have grossly failed in a hail of bloodshed and crack down. The countries of the Maghreb have been given the benefit of the doubt by France, the US and the UK because the Tunisian President Ben Ali – who took power in a coup d’etat in …

Posted in Europe / International | Tagged , and | 1 Comment
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  • Adam Robertson
    @Peter Martin - How many seats did the Lib Dems win simply because the Tory/Reform was split? Yes we won seats because the Tory/Reform vote was split. However, ...
  • David Raw
    @ Tristan Ward I'm afraid Winston Churchill came a thousand years later than, "the early 10th century Liberal Party", and I'm afraid the good folk of Dundee...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Alex, “How many seats did the Lib Dems win simply because the Tory/Reform vote was split?” "Probably not very many actually." "Actual...
  • David Raw
    @ Tristan Ward Lessons of History ? Not advisable to ride on the back of an alligator, no matter how vulnerable and docile it may appear at first sight ....
  • Tristan Ward
    @David Raw Yes it was the alliance between liberal forces and conservative forces that led to the decline in the early 10th century Liberal Party. But liber...