Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

The disunited Kingdom and the confusion in Britain’s political elites

Gerry Hassan

Open Democracy, April 5th 2015

Scotland is still making the news. The tartan tsunami that is the SNP surge shows little to no sign of abating as election day approaches.

Beyond Scotland’s shores the UK and international media are making frequent references to the debate north of the border. Strangely some of this coverage – mostly in London based outlets – is even more ill-informed and inaccurate than was seen during the indyref. This is itself no mean feat.

Then most neutral and pro-union opinion thought No would win. They had two years to understand and come to terms with the indyref debate, knew its date from a distance and some of the contours of the environment.

After the indyref things were meant to return to the status quo. Normal service would be resumed. Scotland anchored into the union anew would do its usual thing and return a bloc of 40 or so mostly non-descript Labour representatives to Westminster. The SNP after its rebuttal in the referendum would slowly see the shine wear off their credentials in government as fiscal realities and the constraints of devolution took their toil. Read the rest of this entry »

The Rise of a Very Different Nation: The Emergence of ‘the Third Scotland’

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian, April 23rd 2014

The Scottish independence referendum has in the past few months become more alive and interesting. The polls have narrowed markedly and what was previously seen by many on the pro-union side as a mere formality has become a real competitive contest.

Such a swift transformation has left most of the British political classes and media struggling to catch up with events. But it has also left large parts of pro-union Scotland feeling bewildered and disorientated at the pace of change.

Scotland has slowly and unambiguously become another country. This has been a very gradual, quiet revolution, one without obvious leaders, champions or simple causes, which has happened over decades and the past century. It has been one in which the key transition points have not been simple, sudden or clear. Read the rest of this entry »

Alex Salmond, Rupert Murdoch and the Pitfalls of Crony Capitalism

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian Comment, April 26th 2012

Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, has emerged as a significant player in the Leveson inquiry. This is a result of the release of 163 pages of emails from News Corporation which have publicised the extent of their contacts with the Scottish Government.

The charge is that the Scottish Government were prepared to go into bat for the Murdoch empire as a quid pro quo for ‘The Sun’ supporting the SNP in last year’s elections. This is contested and denied by Rupert Murdoch and Salmond.

What is incontrovertible is that Salmond agreed last March to make a call to Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary, to support Murdoch’s BSkyB takeover bid. This call was meant to happen, but didn’t.

To Salmond, this train of events is about the business of promoting Scotland, jobs and investment, as he has commented, ‘arguing for the Scottish interest is what this government does’. At First Minister’s Questions earlier today, he stated, ‘the job of a First Minister is to advocate jobs for Scotland’. Read the rest of this entry »

Scotland Names the Big Day and the Alex Salmond-Rupert Murdoch Relationship

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian Comment, February 26th 2012

The launch of ‘the Sun on Sunday’ may have caused shockwaves in media and political circles in the corridors of power in London, but its headline about an Amanda Holden exclusive surely didn’t.

North of the border things were very different where a distinct Scottish version of ‘the Sun on Sunday’ was even more eagerly awaited and didn’t disappoint.

This was following Rupert Murdoch’s tweet this week that he was in favour of Scottish independence, declaring, ‘Let Scotland go and compete. Everyone would win.’

The ‘Scottish Sun on Sunday’ lived up to the expectations with a front page proclaiming a ‘Day of Destiny’ and revealing that the date of the independence poll will be October 18th 2014.

This is a massive moment. The SNP Government is in the middle of their own official consultation on the mechanics and details of the independence poll. And while this is ongoing they have decided to breach their own processes, all for gaining the favour and a headline from the new Murdoch paper. Read the rest of this entry »

The Possible Scotlands of the Future

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian Comment, January 13th 2012

The Scottish independence story has become one of the UK’s hottest stories, forcing Westminster and London politicians and correspondents to gen up quickly about Scotland and Scottish politics as they try to make sense of what is going on.

Scottish independence and self-government are not about an old-fashioned nationalist movement drawing from reactionary ideas, but a profoundly modern, pro-European, centre-left politics.

The debate of independence versus the union has already seen battlelines drawn, David Cameron and Alex Salmond engage in the first of what will be several duels, and the political camps and tribes anticipate the sound and fury to come.

Despite this we have to acknowledge the subtleties of the Scottish debate in an age of complexity and interdependence. There is a positive case to be made for the union. And a positive case for independence. Read the rest of this entry »

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