hold sway

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Senior Member
After the bruising rows of the 1990's - culminating in a series of public debates under the banner GM Nation, and the biggest open air experiments ever undertaken in the shape of the farm scale trials of genetically modified crops - an uneasy standoff has held sway. Although not illegal, to date no GM crops have been grown commercially in the British countryside.
What would it take to break the impasse on GM crops? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18593639

sway = control, influence

Does it mean that an uneasy standoff took control over the whole debate about GM crops?
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think it's being used here to indicate that the uneasy stand-off has endured or persisted, ie. since the 1990's, there has been an uneasy stand-off. I'm not convinced that this is standard usage.
    They would have done better (I think) to say that '...an uneasy stand-off has been in place', or simply '...there has been an uneasy stand-off'.
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