Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Nationalists’

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 »

The SNP cannot afford to become the Party of the Status Quo

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, October 18th 2015

The SNP is understandably in good spirit.

This is the sort of times that politicians dream of. In the aftermath of the indyref, the SNP has gone from strength to strength, winning 56 out of 59 Westminster seats in May, and looking certain to retain and even strengthen their parliamentary majority at Holyrood next year.

Despite this the SNP leadership feels it has to negotiate a careful line. First, talk about a second indyref has been effectively banned in public. Even openly reflecting on why last year’s referendum was lost has been officially discouraged.

Second, as one insider said, its intended focus is on ‘Holyrood 3, not indyref 2’ – with the aim on a historic SNP third term. That should mean discussing domestic policy and the government’s record. But given the rising criticism of some of that – in educational attainment, health, Police Scotland and local government for example – little seems to be getting put forward beyond general mood music of ‘keeping public services public’, ‘standing up for Scotland’ and opposing ‘Tory austerity’. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Nationalism alone is not enough’ as the SNP finally shows it is mortal

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, October 4th 2015

After eight years of defying the laws of political gravity, the normal rules of politics are back. The SNP are, like everyone else, mortal.

Michelle Thomson, newly elected SNP MP for Edinburgh West, has built a £1.7m property portfolio with her husband through buying properties at knock down prices from vulnerable people. Her solicitor, Christopher Hales, who undertook the conveyancing work on 13 properties was struck off last year by the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal.

Whatever the legality of these purchases, the ethics and morality aren’t good. This is self-interested, self-aggrandising behaviour ‘preying’ on the needy and weak. Embarrassingly, Thomson was head of pro-independence SNP-front Business for Scotland, and seen as a SNP high-flyer in the referendum. Numerous SNP senior figures praised her, from John Swinney to Fiona Hyslop, with even Jim Sillars lauding her ‘commitment to social justice’. Read the rest of this entry »

Scotland and Britain Have Changed: The ‘Big Bang’ of the Indy Ref and After

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, September 13th 2015

One year ago Scotland went to the polls.

An amazing 85% of us voted: 45% for independence and 55% against – both expressions of Scottish self-government and a desire for a different Scotland.

Scotland did not vote for independence, but nor did it settle for the status quo of the existing union. Instead, it voted to continue in a kind of interregnum – a transition from something familiar to something still hazy with a destination as yet unknown.

This is a time of great upheaval and unpredictability here, in the UK and globally. The SNP May landslide, the Corbyn surge, the Greek crisis, the humanitarian disaster of Europe, and Chinese economic shudders. Yet, paradoxically Scotland one year on seems to be sitting waiting for the next big thing to turn up. Read the rest of this entry »

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