Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Labour Party’

The Scottish Pop-up Election will decide many things about our future

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, April 17th 2016

The Scottish election is underway – the winners already decided, the European referendum casting a shadow, and all the parties having difficulty shifting from the land of milk and honey to austerity and cuts.

One seasoned observer commented to me that the election wasn’t what things were like in his day, reminiscing about the joys of seeing Harold Wilson in Glasgow in 1966. This is the cry of the older generation down the ages; things aren’t the same, and everything – politics, elections, football – were better in the dewy-eyed days of their youth.

This contest says much about our country and future. There are perennial problems with Scottish contests in a British context, which are not treated as the ‘national’ election by the British media, and at best on a par with the local government London Mayoral contest, and often, relegated under it.

This contributes to our elections – seeming like in William McIlvanney’s words ‘a pop-up picture school of Scottish history’. He meant how our past is seen as all about kings and queens and isolated events, which people feel alienated from and don’t really understand. This has the look of a ‘pop-up election’ – with voters one step removed from a series of isolated events and photo-ops. Read the rest of this entry »

Labour’s Taxing Problems: The Party is fighting for its very existence

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, February 7th 2016

This week Scottish Labour made a move on tax. Is it a daring or desperate move?

It broke with the party’s position since the Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999 not to propose any tax increases. At the same time, as the SNP retained its stratospheric poll ratings for the May elections, the Tories drew level with Labour for second place, while Labour issued their regional list candidates with an obvious lack of ‘new blood’ or talent.

With the Scottish Parliament gaining more taxation powers now and in the near-future, Labour have decided, along with the Lib Dems, to break ranks, in arguing for an increase of one penny in income tax.

Even the Tories have had a Tax Commission which wants to introduce a new 30p band in-between the 20p and 40p bands. This failed on the first hurdle of what it was meant to be for: tax neutrality, increases or decreases. Read the rest of this entry »

The Day that Scotland Changed

Gerry Hassan

Prospect, December 18th 2015

May 7th 2015 stands out as the day Scotland changed.

The House of Cards that was Labour dominance collapsed: a domino effect which witnessed 40 out of 41 Labour seats being won by the SNP.

Scotland has seamlessly switched from a nation of Labour supremacy to one of SNP ascendancy, and no one is quite sure why and what it means.

The standard explanation is that Labour tied itself to the Tories in the independence referendum, but that is one small part. Much more pronounced is the decline of British Scotland, the hollowing out of the Presbyterian and Catholic traditions, and the absence of any popular, instinctual story of Britain. Read the rest of this entry »

If Independence is a State of Mind then we have to fundamentally change

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, November 8th 2015

Years ago the dream was that the Scottish Parliament would usher in a new politics.

It was going to be different from adversarial Westminster – consensual, caring, thoughtful, leading to better debates and laws.

Much of this was wish-fulfillment. There has always been mutual scorn between Labour and SNP – aided by the fetishisation of tiny differences, given they agree on so much. But in recent years all of this seems to have got worse. And the last week in particular, was a new low.

In the previous seven days, Labour and SNP crossed swords on the replacement of the UK nuclear ‘deterrent’ Trident. Scottish Labour debated the issue at their conference for the first time since 1998 and came to the same result – opposing nuclear weapons and voting for disarmament. Read the rest of this entry »

Will the Real Scottish Labour Party Finally Stand Up?

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, November 1st 2015

Scottish Labour met this weekend. This used to be the key political gathering in Scotland. No longer. But the party is in better spirits than many would think after the May 2015 wipeout.

It is a party changing. It has a new leader. Lots of new members. And more autonomy after a ‘concordat’ was signed last Monday with British leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The party hopes that the tide is turning against the SNP and that its Teflon quality and Sturgeonmania have finally peaked.

If Labour is to come back from its wilderness years, it has to understand why it has ended up where it has – when it once seemed so powerful? It has to ask why do Scots not trust or listen to Labour? And what, realistically, can the party do to change all this? Read the rest of this entry »

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