When music could make the future: The legacy of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 17th 2020 Music is pivotal to what it is to be human. It is part of our universal language and connected to how we live, breathe and at a fundamental level the rhythm of the human heart. A world without music would seem to be missing part of the human spirit – and to an extent the current COVID-19 pandemic seemed like the day the music stopped. Concerts big and small, festivals corporate and local, records shops and many new
After the Virus: Debating the Big Issues in Society and ScotlandGerry HassanScottish National, June 14th 2020 After COVID-19 what will our society, our lives and our politics look like? How will we return to talking about the big issues and in a way that faces up to the huge challenges in Scotland, the UK and beyond? A brief survey of the landscape we will face is illustrative. At least 64,000 UK citizens are dead from COVID-19. On Neil Ferguson’s assessment at least 25,000 of these deaths were avoidable and could have been prevented by earlier more decisive action
The legacy of Empire is not just about the past but about present day Scotland and Britain Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 10th 2020 Black lives matter has become an international issue with street protests, rallies and gatherings across the globe. People have been mobilising, getting animated and becoming visible as they emerge from the shadows of lockdown. In Scotland and the UK home-made slogans and painted posters have appeared tied to railings and hanging from windows, while in Bristol the statue of slave owner Edward Colston was toppled by a crowd and thrown into the harbour. Debates have
All Across the Globe: The Politics of ProtestGerry HassanSunday National, June 7th 2020 All around the world people are protesting. Black Lives Matter have filled the streets of America. Everywhere from Canada to Australia, New Zealand to Germany, France to England and here in Scotland people are showing their solidarity with those taking a stand after the killing of George Floyd and linking it to their own specifics in a global cause. There has never been a time in recent history when streets, park gates and public spaces across Scotland have been more festooned with home-made signs and
The march of centralisation is evident in Scotland and must be stopped Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 3rd 2020 The entire coronavirus pandemic has been shaped by the incompetence of Boris Johnson and the UK Government. At nearly every stage they have seemed almost wilfully too slow to act, learn or admit mistakes. One underlying problem has been the degree to which the UK Government has acted centralising English decisions. It has been unwilling to encourage or support localism, decentralism and civic leadership across the country. Instead, it has advanced a one size fits all approach for England, bypassing
The long road down: The failures of British government have brought us to Dominic CummingsGerry HassanSunday National, May 31st 2020 The past week in British politics has been dominated by one story alone: Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings and the extent to which he broke lockdown rules and flouted the very restrictions he was involved in creating. This is not a Westminster political class or bubble issue. Rather it is about a much deeper, worrisome set of processes and dynamics. These include the failures of the British state going back many decades, how it does politics domestically
The long descent to Dominic Cummings and what comes after?Gerry HassanScottish Review, May 27th 2020 The story of Dominic Cummings has been everywhere in the past few days. Meanwhile the actual total of UK excess dead from COVID-19 is according to the Financial Times at a cautious figure of 64,000 and will shortly exceed the number of British citizens killed in the Second World War (67,200). The real scandal is much more alarming than Cummings, and goes way beyond his breaking the lockdown in making a 500 mile round trip to County Durham with his wife and child.
A new economic and social order is being born. We have to make it an egalitarian oneGerry HassanSunday National, May 24th 2020 The economic tsunami engulfing the world is like nothing experienced in our lifetimes. The scale of damage and numbers affected are almost impossible to comprehend; as is the impact on our individual and collective livelihoods, and the future of the global economy, UK and Scotland. The UK economy could contract by a staggering 35% of GDP in the second quarter of this year. Already 2.1 million people are unemployed - the highest rate in 24 years.
Walking through the history of Glasgow and ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, May 20th 2020 The past weeks of lockdown have produced a rich panoply of emotions and feelings that recognise the different times we are living in. Over the past eight weeks I have used my daily walk to understand better my surrounding streets and area, and to take photos of things I find memorable; then writing a short chronicle and picking one set of images each day. I have lived on Glasgow’s Southside for 28 years – first in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, then Moray Place, Strathbungo. In that
Disunited Kingdom: Will England break-up the Union?Gerry HassanSunday National, May 17th 2020 This past week the UK Government finally woke up to the make-up of the United Kingdom. This has been painful for some at the centre of the UK Government - some having been in deliberate denial for years, while others on the right still want to fight what would be a futile rearguard operation to reverse devolution. This crisis has seen the continual rhetoric of a ‘four nation approach’ which was meant to signify Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland marching in lockstep with whatever the UK