Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Culture’

Changin Scotland

A weekend of politics, culture and ideas …. And fun!

Friday March 28th-Sunday March 30th

The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool


In association with the Reid Foundation

Friday March 28th



Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart

Scotland after the Crash: The Collapse of RBS

Ian Fraser, author, forthcoming ‘Shredded: The Rise and Fall of RBS’ Read the rest of this entry »

History in the Making: The Battle for Scotland’s Future

Gerry Hassan

National Collective, November 20th 2013

The campaign on Scottish independence has reached new levels – a battle of competing specialist documents – firstly, there has been an Institute for Fiscal Studies report, matched by a Scottish Government paper on the economic independence, and next week the much anticipated White Paper on Scottish independence.

The latter is a milestone in the pro-independence debate. Whatever its content, style and persuasiveness things will never quite be the same again. A devolved administration in part of the UK lays out the case for independence and for formally ending the 300 year old union which has bound Scotland and England together.

Yet beneath these is a contest between two competing technocratic versions of the world, shaped by faith in conventional economic growth models which are globally growing more threadbare and discredited by the day. This is the rationalist mindset, illustrating by the actions of both campaigns the limits of such an approach and politics.

Then there is the mainstream media. The IFS report was greeted by what can only be called near-hysteria by some of the pro-union newspapers. The Scottish edition of ‘the Daily Mail’ shouted ‘BLACK HOLE: Report exposes SNP economic gap: They’ll have to raise income tax or slash spending’ on its front page; the ‘Daily Telegraph’ that ‘Separation would deal £6bn blow, impartial study finds’. We have had two and a half years of this one-sided Pathe News style propaganda and clearly it is only going in one direction: towards a date with Armageddon on September 18th 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

Changin Scotland

Scotland’s alternative festival of ideas, culture and politics

Friday November 1st-Sunday November 3rd   

 Newbattle Abbey College, by Dalkeith

This November Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart are at Newbattle Abbey College just south of Edinburgh for a weekend on how to do social change, activism and campaigning in a different way!

This weekend will be a departure in feel, style and setting – and is facilitated and led by Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert of the Centre for Artistic Activism who are based at New York University.

This will be a participatory weekend bringing together community politics with cultural and civic engagement. It will look at how to be a creative kind of activist, build alliances, and beyond tactics and strategy, start to envision a different kind of politics and world! Read the rest of this entry »

The Emergence of ‘the Third Scotland’

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, September 12th 2013

Two Scottish establishments facing one another – one the old Labour Scotland which has administered and dominated public life for the last 50 years; the other the newcomer on the block: the bright, shiny SNP establishment full of vigour and promise.

This is what lies behind the slugfest of the ‘Yes/No’ debate, its partisan adherents, and the simple, superficial presentation of this in large sections of the mainstream media.

Two weeks ago a piece I wrote for ‘Scottish Review’ outlined the nature of this non-debate and the two establishments Scotland idea. I subsequently began to think whether this was an accurate description of where we are, and whether the British establishment shouldn’t be counted, given they have an interest and voice in the whole thing. Then I came to the realisation that at least within Scotland, there was another emerging force different from the two camps.

This is what I would call ‘the third Scotland’. It is characterised by being mostly non-institutional, not part of ‘official Scotland’ and with a significant presence in social media. It also seems to represent a generational shift, with a whole swathe of politically literate twentysomething Scotland being involved in it. Read the rest of this entry »

Games with Shadows: Living in Thatcher’s Scotland

Gerry Hassan

Open Democracy, April 10th 2013

We live in Thatcher’s Britain, yet that statement is obvious, contentious and deeply divisive. And this is all the more true of Thatcher north of the border.

Thatcher is simultaneously both history and present day. You can hear this in the differing accounts on TV and radio; with conservative figures claiming she remade the modern world from knocking down the Berlin Wall and freeing Eastern Europe, to preventing a future ‘socialist Britain’; while elements of the left wail in pain and agony at how events have turned out and their inability to come to terms with the country and politics she created.

We live in an age as much shaped by Thatcher as the previous political era: the so-called ‘post-war consensus’, a phrase seldom used in that era, and only invoked at its fag end. The date of Thatcher entering office, 1979, is exactly halfway between 1945 and today. Therefore, we are 34 years from Thatcher’s first victory; and 34 years from then to Clement Attlee’s historic mandate. And given that there are detailed studies of ‘the post-war consensus’, we should be able to begin to do the same with Thatcherism, but instead we are still arguing over what it means. Read the rest of this entry »