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Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

The SNP and Tories have swapped places in Scotland: The former is the party of government. The latter the party of protest

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian Comment, May 31st 2017

It is a topsy-turvy time in Scottish politics.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon now regularly challenges Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson for going on about nothing else but independence.

Tories in Scotland have become a party of protest. Today Tory protestors stood outside the SNP manifesto launch earlier in Perth with anti-independence placards. The SNP have become a party of government. The two have literally swapped roles.

The SNP have been in office for ten years. The Tories in London for seven years. The SNP say the Tories don’t want to talk about their record. Similarly, the Tories and Labour say the same of the SNP. Read the rest of this entry »

The UK as we know it can’t survive Brexit and Trump

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian, November 17th 2016

The United Kingdom’s sense of itself and place in the world is more in question now than it was before Donald Trump’s election. It was already facing the precarious process of Brexit that has destabilised the nature of fifty years plus of UK foreign policy and international alliances.

All of this should be a moment for opposition but Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are missing in action, focusing on internal battles, and letting the struggle with the Tories slip through their fingers. Whatever the views of Corbyn as a leader, this has and is costing the UK dear, and has long-term damaging consequences.

One of these is that the UK – as currently composed – has very little future. To compound the international and national challenges the UK faces, has to be added one based on the territorial dimensions of the state, the failure of the political centre to understand this, and the decline of any popular account of unionism which tells a story about the future of the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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