Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

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 »

Rising Now and Being Four Nations Again!

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian Comment is Free, June 24th 2011

The Olympics are coming to London and apparently it has been decreed by the high-heiduns of the British Olympic Association (BOA) that there will be a ‘Team GB’ taking to the football field. They insist this has absolutely nothing to do with their 1.7 million unsold tickets which went on sale this morning, mostly for football, or the losses they think they can cover with ‘Team GB’ replica strips.

The Olympics aren’t really about football, so you could say does any of this really matter? Sport at the Olympics is about athletes at the peak of their talents competing against the best in the world. Except in football! I mean David Beckham, and the odd Scot and Welshman don’t really set the heather afire.

This could lead to people thinking that the ‘Team GB’ venture doesn’t matter that much one way or the other. But it does, for it is about much more than football. Read the rest of this entry »

Scotland International

Gerry Hassan

The Guardian, May 20th 2011

The Scottish vision of self-government is alive, vibrant and real.

To most Nationalists many things come to the forefront of their minds when they picture an independent Scotland. One is a proud, self-governing nation taking its own decisions. Another is an ethical nation in international affairs not engaging in ‘illegal wars’. A further strand is a society which better cares for its people, and addresses inequality and injustice in a way contemporary Scotland conspicuously fails.

Scottish independence has always been a kind of ultimate political fantasy: a blank canvas which people can project hopes onto. Many in the SNP have for long wanted to keep this prospectus suitably vague, for fear of offending any of their ‘big tent’. Yet independence has always been about this balancing act between constitutional politics, internationalism and economic and social issues. And now these issues are going to have to become more explicit.

This is a nationalist moment, a movement which has been generous, open, pluralist, modern, profoundly European and international. It might if one wants to be a little critical, have sometimes too much reflected the caution, conservatism and fear of radicalism, which pervades Scottish society. Read the rest of this entry »