Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Review’

A Time for Boldness and Honesty: 21st Century Scottish Radicalism

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, July 23rd 2014

The independence referendum has seen an explosion of radical and progressive thinking and activism. Where there was once silence and disillusion, now there is hope, excitement and imagination.

There is the generosity and pluralism of National Collective, the breadth and reach of the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC), and the energy and dynamism of the Jimmy Reid Foundation. Then there is a wider set of trends looking at how to develop a deeper democracy from the work of So Say Scotland and its Citizen’s Assembly, ‘the art of hosting’ processes, and the Electoral Reform Society’s work on deliberative democracy.

The above – with all its undoubted positives – has to be put in historical and political context, understanding the shortcomings and failures of the left generally, and the Scottish left in particular. This is an essential prerequisite if this outburst of energy and radicalism is to have a lasting effect on the Scottish body politic. Read the rest of this entry »

The Myth of ‘Divided Scotland’

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, July 16th 2014

One of the most oft-repeated descriptions of Scotland at the moment in the heat of the independence referendum is the problem of ‘divided Scotland’.

A Yes victory will leave a ‘deeply divided Scotland’ claimed Better Together chief Blair McDougall (Better Together, June 8th 2014), while a pro-independence website declared in response, ‘A deeply divided Scotland will be the result of a No vote’ (Arc of Prosperity, June 9th 2014).

Much cited recent polling shows that 38% of Scots believe divisions will remain whatever the referendum outcome, while 36% disagreed. In the same poll, 21% of people have had a row with family or friends about the vote. This latter finding led ‘The Independent’ to declare, ‘The Scottish independence debate has become venomous and fraught … pulling some families apart’ (June 15th 2014). Read the rest of this entry »

A Letter to Scotland’s New Radicals

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, July 9th 2014

Radical Scotland’s re-emergence and re-invigoration around the independence referendum has been one of the most welcome and positive occurrences for many years in Scottish politics.

This is a real challenge and change from the predictable stale menu which has been passed off as our political debate and choices for decades. This is even more true of what has presented itself as radical and left politics.

An array of groups, networks and initiatives of which the most prominent are National Collective, the Radical Independence Campaign and Jimmy Reid Foundation, have brought new ideas and energy, fresh ways of doing things and a sense of generational change.

It has been a pleasure to witness the birth of this self-organising culture of self-determination and pro-independence opinion. Yet, with success comes the need for an element of self-reflection and self-criticism, and an awareness of the dangers and limits inherent in any radical politics. Read the rest of this entry »

Why the Nazis and 1930s are alive and kicking in the independence debate?

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, June 11th 2014

The Nazis are on the rise everywhere. They are cited on both sides of the bitter Ukrainian conflict, in places such as Greece and Hungary with neo-Nazi and fascist parties, and in some of the outrageous comments of the French Front National and even Ukip’s more extreme fringe.

The spectre of the Nazis and fascism have become increasingly omnipotent over the last twenty years to become a defining set of historical and cultural references in the UK, and England in particular. This was aided by Pier Morgan, as editor of the ‘Daily Mirror’, and his use of German caricatures in the Euro football championship of 1996, running front-page headlines declaring ‘Achtung! Surrender’, ‘Krauts’ and ‘Huns’. And now there is the emergence of the Nazis and fascism in the Scottish independence debate.

It is meant to be an irrefutable rule that mentioning the Nazis in an argument is proof that someone is desperate and has lost it. It even has a name – Godwin’s law – but if so it does not seem to translate to large parts of Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »

How less than 200,000 Scots could decide the Referendum:

Your Cut Out and Paste Guide to the Independence Result

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, May 28th 2014

The Scottish independence referendum campaign starts ‘properly’ this week. All of the last two and a half years have been a mere preliminary or pre-season warm-up to the start of the ‘official’ contest.

Therefore, in the manner of those cut out and keep guides to the World Cup and Eurovision here is an analysis to the possible result, different permutations and interpretations of the result, along with some of the consequences. And crucially, how it could be won by a very small group of Scottish voters.

Here then are Seven Stories of the Possible Result:

1. Under 40% Yes vote:

This would be the end of the independence debate for the foreseeable result. Labour would see this as a vindication of their hardball partisan detestation of the SNP – viewing it as a positive foregrounding for the 2015 UK and 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. This would be a huge mistake, similar to Labour’s over-interpretation of its 2010 Scottish showing, running into the 2011 contest. Read the rest of this entry »