Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Nationalism’

Scotland isn’t really this Divided Nation. The Importance of Detail, Dissent and Deeds

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, January 3rd 2016

One of the recurring stories of Scotland in the referendum and after has been to say that politics and debate have become bitterly polarised and divided.

This sense of a divided Scotland links into history: that once upon a time we couldn’t surmount our own differences: Highland/Lowland, West/East, Glasgow/Edinburgh, Protestant/Catholic.

This had a feeling of powerlessness – pathologising differences to the extent they became disabling. These were identities found everywhere in the developed world but in Scotland we were so abnormal we couldn’t handle them and ourselves.

Fifteen months after the referendum, seven months after one SNP triumph, and five months before a widely expected second one, some believe that Scotland has become trapped in a frozen time capsule shaped by the referendum. Read the rest of this entry »

‘English Votes’ is political vandalism and fundamentally changes Britain

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, October 25th 2015

This week the United Kingdom profoundly changed in how it does politics, democracy and how Parliament operates.

The House of Commons decided by 312 to 270 voters to alter the nature of its composition by differentiating the voting rights of MPs through introducing English votes for English laws. Meaning that – for English-only matters and legislation – Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs will be excluded from a new ‘grand committee’ stage of the bill – which effectively replaces the substantive second reading of a bill.

Why has this happened now and why does it matter? Much of this debate isn’t actually very new. These issues were first raised in the late 19th century when Irish home rule was proposed by Gladstone, and in response, qualifying the rights of MPs was raised; then often called ‘In/Out voting’.

The tipping point was Scotland’s independence referendum. David Cameron announced the next morning that ‘the voices of England must be heard’ and interpreting this as ‘English votes for English laws.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Debating with ‘The Economist’ its Scottish Independence Coverage

An Exchange between Gerry Hassan and Jeremy Cliffe

June 11th 2015

June 10th 2015 17.00

Dear Gerry,

Thank you for your letter of May 14th (1). Zanny has asked me to reply on
her behalf.

On our use of “secession”, “secessionist” and “separatist”, I refer
you to my email of March 24th. On “partition” and “dismemberment”, I
repeat the points made in that earlier message. Those terms are
descriptive and accurate. We use them in other contexts where – unlike
that of the United Kingdom – we support the separation in question.
For example, we welcomed both the “dismemberment” of the FSA and the
“partition” of Sudan.

Nor is Scotland’s pro-independence movement the only one of its kind
to which we apply such language. As a keen reader of The Economist you
will know that we  use “secession” and “separatist” in our coverage of
its Catalan and Quebcois counterparts. Indeed, a quick perusal of our
recent pieces on Catalan nationalism shows that we have used every one
of the terms to which you object in that context too. Read the rest of this entry »

A Letter to the Editor of ‘The Economist’ on Scotland and Scottish Independence

Gerry Hassan

June 4th 2015

Dear Zanny,

I am a long-term reader and admirer of ‘The Economist’.

Even when I disagree with the magazine’s position I know that I can trust it to aid myself learning and becoming more knowledgeable on an issue.

This is true across the globe, and subject matters, with one consistent exception: the subject of Scottish independence.

I am not talking about ‘The Economist’s’ anti-independence stance, which you are perfectly entitled to take. Nor would I wish to dwell on the appropriateness or not of the infamous ‘Skintland’ cover. Instead, I am talking about something much more embedded: the language and terminology ‘The Economist’ consistently uses to frame this issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Scotland, the Clash of Two Nationalisms and ‘the Children of the Echo’

Gerry Hassan

New Statesman, April 7th 2015

Scotland has always had a reputation for tempestuous disagreements – for fighting and flyting. Power, passion, tribalism and men staying in pubs for long hours drinking and insulting each other are long-standing notions.

Last Saturday I went to Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre to see David Hare’s ‘The Absence of War’ set in the run-up to Neil Kinnock’s ill-fated campaign in the 1992 general election.

Watching it in the turmoil of the current election campaign, and on the day of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ story that claimed ‘Sturgeon’s secret backing for Cameron’, it made for the older centre-left audience a lot of contemporary sense.

In the period since the early 1990s, mainstream UK politics have become even more stage-managed and choreographed. Two decades ago Kinnock’s Labour Party’s obsession with its opponents, the Tories and Tory-supporting press, ended up giving their enemies strength that became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Read the rest of this entry »