Posts Tagged ‘British politics’

The Labour Party: that pillar of the British constitution doesn’t have a right to exist

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 25th 2016

Politics requires a credible opposition that holds government to account. One that offers the prospect of an alternative government – but now, and for the foreseeable future, Scotland and the UK is without one.

This is due to the state of Labour. The last year has been one of the most disastrous in the party’s history. A second election defeat, Scotland lost – and then Brexit. And after last year’s defeat the party curled up even more in its comfort zone and elected Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn now faces a proper leadership contest against Owen Smith. The party has in two days enlisted 183,541 new members, producing 515,000 card-carrying members. But the party has lost control of who it is, or who its members are.

One big difference between Labour and Tories is that Tories love power and know how to use it. Labour don’t love power and don’t know how to use it. This division between the two parties has always been so. Read the rest of this entry »

A Very British Coup: The rise of Theresa May could see the end of the UK

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 17th 2006

Theresa May became the UK Prime Minister this week – elected on a mandate of 199 Tory MPs in what amounted to a very British coup.

She is only Britain’s second ever woman Prime Minister, following in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher. But in other respects she follows Gordon Brown as the twelfth PM in the last 100 years who has entered Downing Street without a popular mandate.

Jeremy Corbyn is clinging on as Labour leader – aided by his party’s decision to let him on the leadership ballot – irrespective of how few parliamentary colleagues support him. For all the rhetoric of a Blairite coup against him, it is Tories historically who have known how to get rid of failed leaders.

Meanwhile Scotland quietly gets on with a different, more serious politics. It is one nearly entirely bereft of the theatrical politics of Westminster we have seen these last few weeks. Yet, with May coming north to meet Sturgeon, the chasm between the Scottish and UK Governments on EU membership and nationals – as well as Trident – couldn’t be bigger. Read the rest of this entry »

After Cameron, Boris and Corbyn: What will Tomorrow’s Leaders Look Like?

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, July 14th 2016

Leadership in the modern world is cited as the answer to nearly every issue, problem or area of life – from business, to turning round failing organisations, to the success of football clubs.

In the last month, political leadership has been all over the news. There has been David Cameron’s rather hasty resignation; the coronation of Theresa May as Prime Minister; and Boris Johnson’s positioning for power, withdrawal from the Tory leadership contest, and then subsequent appointment as Foreign Secretary in May’s new administration.

Then there has been Jeremy Corbyn’s continual crisis and resistance against internal party critics, alongside the onset of a Labour leadership contest. And in case anyone forgot, there is an election for the leader of the English and Welsh Greens that may see the return of Caroline Lucas; while Nigel Farage resigned for the third time as UKIP leader with, as we speak, no clear contenders to take over.

Political leadership in turbulent times requires numerous qualities. The Tories have cut down their last three Prime Ministers over the last twenty-six years on the subject of Europe – Thatcher, Major and Cameron. It is even possible that if Theresa May doesn’t get the terms of Brexit right in the eyes of some Tory obsessives, she could be the fourth and perhaps, final leader, to be so humbled. Read the rest of this entry »

This is the Age of Groupthink Britain and it is increasingly been found out

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 10th 2016

When has British politics ever been in such a state of flux? The Tories, UKIP and English and Welsh Greens in leadership contests; the Labour Party in a series of convulsions from top to bottom; Brexit; and now thirteen years after the UK went to war in Iraq finally comes the publication of Chilcot.

The Tories do know how to utilise a crisis. It is one of the reasons that they are one of the most successful electoral parties in the democratic world.

Labour have never grasped the need in a crisis for decisive action – and currently seem to be stuck in the worst of all worlds. The Labour anti-Corbyn rebels have wounded Jeremy Corbyn, but have failed to depose or force him to resign.

Post-Brexit and in the week of Chilcot, the British political classes have never been more ill-thought of, yet the Tory show goes on as if nothing has changed. ‘Take Back Control’ – the slogan of the Leave campaign – turns out to mean little more than fewer than 150,000 aging members deciding who the next Prime Minister is – Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom. Read the rest of this entry »

The anger about the Iraq Disaster isn’t just about Iraq and Blair

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, July 7th 2016

It is hard to envisage now but once upon a time Tony Blair was an eager to please, likeable, pragmatic politician.

In 1997 he caught the mood of the times and led Labour to an election victory of historic proportions, and inflicted the worst ever defeat on the Conservatives, which they took more than a decade to recover from. At that year’s Labour conference Alastair Campbell, Blair’s Head of Communications, leaked a private poll which revealed that Blair had a 93% public satisfaction rating.

Whatever happened? Power, the allure of others with global authority and influence, being impressed by and wanting to keep in with elites and the super-rich from Murdoch to the City, and the limits of charismatic leadership, are part of the explanation. But even then this doesn’t account for the descent of the reputation of Tony Blair to its current nadir.

Iraq played a huge part in the political decline of Tony Blair, and has created an open wound in British public life about politicians and trust which has been bitterly damaging and corrosive. Read the rest of this entry »

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