Posts Tagged ‘British politics’

The tartan tsunami and how It will change Scotland and the UK for good

Gerry Hassan

Open Democracy, March 20th 2015

The UK general election campaign is upon us – struggling to make sense of the state of the country and how its institutions and politics are seen.

Underneath all the political rhetoric and exchange we are about to witness is tangible anxiety and unsureness about who ‘we’ are and the very existence, or not, of a ‘we’ in terms of connection, culture and collective memories – which can be found equally on both left and right.

Scotland has become one of the key reference points of this election: continually cited by the Westminster class and media, but seldom if ever understood. It wasn’t meant to be like this. The indyref was won 55:45 for the union. The issue was supposedly in David Cameron’s words ‘settled’, Alex Salmond seen off the political stage and the SNP juggernaut checked, if not stopped.

Scotland is at a seismic moment with huge implications and long-term repercussions not just for Scotland but the UK – as what increasingly looks like a tartan tsunami could sweep away scores of Labour once impregnable bastions north of the border. Read the rest of this entry »

Is David Cameron the Biggest Threat to the Union?

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, March 15th 2015

Scotland has become one of the main issues in the forthcoming UK election.

It is not only that Jim Murphy and Ed Miliband feel anxious about the number of Labour seats they will hold in Scotland and the extent of the SNP juggernaut.

What is also true is how Scotland is playing out in Conservative strategy and how David Cameron is using it to hurt Labour in two ways. First, he is aiming to hurt them in England and take votes from them with the threat of the Nationalists, and second, he plans to hurt them north of the border by pushing votes into the arms of the SNP to harm Labour’s chances of forming a government.

This has become one of the most prominent Tory election themes – along with ‘A Recovering Economy: Don’t Let Labour Wreck It’. This can be seen by Cameron’s approach this week in Prime Minister’s Questions, and in a number of Tory election posters, the latest of which had a huge Alex Salmond looking down on a tiny Ed Miliband tucked into Salmond’s top pocket. Read the rest of this entry »

Power to the People not the Political Class

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, March 1st 2015

The airwaves this week have been filled with the sound of politicians crashing and burning.

Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw were caught in yet another ‘cash for access’ scandal, while on the next day, English Green leader Natalie Bennett found it impossible to offer the most basic costings of her party’s housing policies.

These instances – and the reactions of politicians and public to them – raise questions about what kind of politicians voters want to represent them. And what kind of politics. Once upon a time both parliamentarians and public felt they knew the answer to this. No longer.

People can talk about the sad state of the Westminster Parliament and the quality of debates and representatives. But there is a much deeper set of issues. If we look closer to home to the Scottish Parliament or across local government, who beyond a couple of the prominent figures in the main parties shine and connects to people? Read the rest of this entry »

Can Ruth Davidson persuade us to listen to the Scottish Tories?

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, February 22nd 2015

Two of Scotland’s established parties had a good independence referendum: the SNP who are now prospering in the polls and the Scottish Tories who have been gathering this weekend in Edinburgh.

For once the Tories have something to cheer about. In Ruth Davidson the party have a personable, likeable leader who is comfortable and growing into the job.

Her Conservative video released this week was another talking point – modern, relevant, human, showing her with her parents – and her partner, Jen.

There is more. On several issues the Tories have been scoring hits. Take John Swinney’s stamp duty reforms. The Tories have hit a political home run and forced the Scottish Government to retreat. Read the rest of this entry »

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and the Age of Anti-Austerity Politics

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, February 15th 2015

It has been a week filled with economic news and controversies.

There was the imploding crisis of HSBC’s secret Swiss bank accounts and tax avoidance; the on-going Greek-German Governments European stand-off which threatens the future of the entire euro zone; while Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, is getting people ready for a year of flat or even falling prices.

At the same time after years of public spending constraints and cuts, across large parts of Europe there is a widespread movement and force for anti-austerity politics. This can be seen in the rise of Syriza in Greece, the newly created popular Podemos in Spain, and – this week – in Nicola Sturgeon laying out the SNP’s position in a major London speech.

Sturgeon’s speech attracted lots of London media interest. And whether people agreed or not they took her and her agenda seriously. It was a considered and timely intervention, and seen as that by even her opponents. Read the rest of this entry »

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