Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Party’

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 »

The Dangers of the Right-Wing Revolutionaries in the UK and US

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, October 13th 2013

The world as we know it stands on the brink of extinction. It could literally come to an end next Thursday on October 17th.

This is not some Nostradamus style prediction but the stand-off between Democrats and Republicans in the US over whether to raise the debt ceiling.

There have already been two weeks of the US shutdown with numerous levels of government inactive. There have been no food inspections or publically funded medical drug trials, while 800,000 government employees remain furloughed.

We like to think that the America is a foreign land very different from us and that this sort of thing could not possibly happen here. Well, aside from the different constitutional niceties it could because, leaving aside religious zealotry which the US does a fine line in, much of the political dynamic that brought the US to this impasse exists in the UK and is growing unchallenged by the day. Read the rest of this entry »

A Rare Moment of Wisdom at the Heart of British Democracy

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, August 31st 2013

Parliamentary debates about military intervention are often rightly solemn occasions. They carry the weight of history and memories of past triumphs and disasters.

The Syria debate this week had initially been downplayed by the Cameron government as it faced the realities of parliamentary arithmetic and the possibility of defeat. But this was historic, evoking past even more momentous debates, and opening a chapter in British foreign policy which could see military intervention in Syria without the UK.

The entire parliamentary debate on Syria was coloured with the shadow of Tony Blair and Iraq hanging over it. At times in the last week it seemed like Groundhog Day Britain replaying the tensions, controversies and even the same terminology as March 2003 over Iraq.

There was the veracity and claims of intelligence, the issue of legal advice from the Attorney General, the role of the United Nations, and parliamentary approval (or non-approval as it turned out). There was even the intervention of Tony Blair, making the case for war and democracy (the last of which extended to support for the Egyptian military coup). Read the rest of this entry »

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