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
Is Boris Johnson the most incompetent UK Prime Minister in living memory?Gerry HassanScottish Review, May 13th 2020 This is a time of national and international crisis. Governments and leaders need to step up to the plate; be honest, open and adaptive, and treat their citizens as adults who know these are difficult times and that inevitably mistakes will be made. In this environment Boris Johnson and the UK Government have had numerous advantages: newly elected in a December election with a comfortable majority of 80, a Prime Minister known for his ability to communicate, and with a relative
Scotland’s Right to Decide and the Future of Anglo-American CapitalismGerry HassanSunday National, May 10th 2020 As we reach seven weeks of lockdown more and more questions are emerging about the actions and shortcomings of the UK Government’s approach, particularly as sections of the Tory Party get restless about the length and economic costs of the lockdown. At the centre of this is the issue of what is driving policy – scientific and public health evidence or political priorities - and how it is all presented and portrayed. Then there is the relationship between the UK Government and Scottish,
How we should and shouldn’t commemorate VE DayGerry HassanScottish Review, May 6th 2020 This coming Friday May 8th is an important moment in the history of all of us - the 75th anniversary of the defeat of fascism and Nazism in Europe in World War Two. It is important to mark, commemorate and remember those who gave their lives in the defeat of fascism - and to learn from what happened. This means not allowing the anniversary to be taken over by unchallenged official accounts that feed into the endless British obsession with 1939-45. The rise and defeat
The Empire Strikes Back: Being Prisoners of the Past in BritainGerry HassanSunday National, May 3rd 2020 Next week sees another historical milestone with the commemoration of VE (Victory in Europe) Day on 8 May - the 75th anniversary of the defeat of fascism and Nazism in Europe. Such totemic dates seem to come around more regularly and be marked in increasingly high-profile ways. Whether the 75th anniversary of D-Day last year, marking the Battle of Britain, or numerous films about the Dunkirk debacle, the Second World War is always with us. And this without mentioning the Churchill industry