Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Party’

The Appeal and Vision of Tory Britain shouldn’t be underestimated by the left

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, October 11th 2015

The Tory conference gathered this week in good spirits after unexpectedly winning an overall majority in May, and with all their main UK political opponents in disarray.

One rather significant anniversary passed unnoticed this week. This was the 65th anniversary – the day after Cameron’s speech – of Harold Macmillan’s ‘you’ve never had it so good’ election victory in 1959 when the Tories won a third term and overall majority of 100 seats.

Britain and Scotland have changed dramatically since then. Tories and Labour were national parties; neither is now. In 1959 the Tories won 47.2% of the Scottish vote and 31 seats, whereas this May they won 14.9% – and a solitary MP. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Osborne’s Budget the Future of Britain or Will His Bubble Burst?

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 12th 2015

For the last fortnight I have been sailing round the northern coast of Norway on holiday – perhaps an appropriate place to view George Osborne’s budget. He clearly thinks that he is on top of the world – the first Tory majority government budget since 1996, his seventh budget, and the second this year, the last only in March.

Osborne did many traditional Tory things – cutting inheritance tax and welfare, stole some of Labour’s clothes on a higher national minimum wage and non-doms, and even took from the Lib Dems in increasing tax-free personal allowances.

This audacious mix of political cross-dressing shows an increasing Tory confidence that they can remake the state, politics and Britain in their image. The Tories know they won the election, not because people necessarily agreed with them, but because of Labour weakness. For the last five years Labour has lost the economic debate, not knowing how to present its record in office, and ambivalent about its future offer. Read the rest of this entry »

A Tale of Two Nations. And Two Leaders

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, May 10th 2015

We awoke on Friday morning to a very different world. A nearly completely yellow Scotland. A bluer England. And a patchwork Wales.

The first majority Tory Government elected since 1992 whilst Scotland passed in one night from Labour dominance to an even more impressive SNP strength. These and more things weren’t meant to happen.

David Cameron’s re-election as Prime Minister with a majority has taken many people by surprise. No UK Government sitting for a full term has seen its vote rise since Anthony Eden’s in 1955 – and that was an entirely different kind of world.

Labour is this weekend in a state of bewilderment, despite its decent campaign and the public reception of Ed Miliband. The party’s UK wide vote (30.4%) was its third lowest in post-war times – only exceeded by the 1983 humiliation and 2010 Brown defeat. The party has a fundamental problem across large parts of England, and all of Scotland. 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 »

We are One Scotland: Anatomy of a Referendum

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, September 24th 2014

It was a momentous moment in Scottish and British history. The Scottish independence referendum. It dominated Scottish and British airwaves in the last couple of weeks, and became a huge international story.

Nearly every single cliché has been dug up, used and then over-used to exhaustion. What then as the excitement, claim and counter-claim quieten down, is there left to say and do? Actually, there is quite a lot.

Let’s talk about the immediate reactions post-vote from the Scottish and British political classes. They both have so far let us down, speaking for their narrow interests and party advantage, with no one addressing wider concerns.

Take the SNP leadership. Five days after the vote neither Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon has reached out to the 55% or offered any words of congratulation, recognition or understanding. Both were conspicuous by their absence from the Church of Scotland service of reconciliation on Sunday. The three pro-union parties were all represented by their leaders; the SNP by John Swinney.

Then there is the Westminster political classes. From David Cameron’s first announcement on Friday morning at 7am, they have been out on political manoeuvres advancing and promoting narrow self-interests. Cameron in that morning address was conciliatory in tone and style, but in content, was ruthlessly and naked calculating, linking Scottish ‘devo max’ to the idea of English votes for English laws. Read the rest of this entry »

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