Labour’s Taxing Problems: The Party is fighting for its very existenceGerry HassanSunday Mail, February 7th 2016 This week Scottish Labour made a move on tax. Is it a daring or desperate move? It broke with the party’s position since the Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999 not to propose any tax increases. At the same time, as the SNP retained its stratospheric poll ratings for the May elections, the Tories drew level with Labour for second place, while Labour issued their regional list candidates with an obvious lack of ‘new blood’ or talent. With the Scottish Parliament
The Phoney War in British and Scottish Politics Will End SoonGerry HassanSunday Mail, January 10th 2016 The big news this week wasn’t the Corbyn re-shuffle of people no one had heard of. Nor was it Cameron’s retreat on the Euro referendum over Cabinet collective responsibility. And it certainly wasn’t Donald Trump threatening to pull future investments from Scotland. Nor was it the hostile words between Saudi Arabia and Iran or continued anxieties about terrorism. Instead, it was instability in the world economy, Chinese economic wobbles, their currency devaluing again and stock market falling by 7%, contributing to a
Scotland isn’t really this Divided Nation. The Importance of Detail, Dissent and Deeds Gerry HassanSunday Mail, January 3rd 2016 One of the recurring stories of Scotland in the referendum and after has been to say that politics and debate have become bitterly polarised and divided. This sense of a divided Scotland links into history: that once upon a time we couldn’t surmount our own differences: Highland/Lowland, West/East, Glasgow/Edinburgh, Protestant/Catholic. This had a feeling of powerlessness – pathologising differences to the extent they became disabling. These were identities found everywhere in the developed world but in Scotland we were
2016: The Year of the UK as a Disunited Kingdom in an Unstable World Gerry HassanSunday Mail, December 27th 2015 ‘The future ain’t what it used to be’ - said American baseball player Yogi Berra. This year saw unpredictability, shocks and upsets. There was the election of a majority Conservative Government which no polls predicted. There was the tartan tsunami which saw the SNP sweep nearly all before it. There was the rise and victory of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, while across the world a whole range of populists, from Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders to Marine
The SNP cannot afford to become the Party of the Status QuoGerry HassanSunday Mail, October 18th 2015 The SNP is understandably in good spirit. This is the sort of times that politicians dream of. In the aftermath of the indyref, the SNP has gone from strength to strength, winning 56 out of 59 Westminster seats in May, and looking certain to retain and even strengthen their parliamentary majority at Holyrood next year. Despite this the SNP leadership feels it has to negotiate a careful line. First, talk about a second indyref has been effectively banned in public. Even
‘Nationalism alone is not enough’ as the SNP finally shows it is mortal Gerry HassanSunday Mail, October 4th 2015 After eight years of defying the laws of political gravity, the normal rules of politics are back. The SNP are, like everyone else, mortal. Michelle Thomson, newly elected SNP MP for Edinburgh West, has built a £1.7m property portfolio with her husband through buying properties at knock down prices from vulnerable people. Her solicitor, Christopher Hales, who undertook the conveyancing work on 13 properties was struck off last year by the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal. Whatever the legality of
Scotland and Britain Have Changed: The 'Big Bang' of the Indy Ref and After Gerry HassanSunday Mail, September 13th 2015 One year ago Scotland went to the polls. An amazing 85% of us voted: 45% for independence and 55% against – both expressions of Scottish self-government and a desire for a different Scotland. Scotland did not vote for independence, but nor did it settle for the status quo of the existing union. Instead, it voted to continue in a kind of interregnum – a transition from something familiar to something still hazy with a destination as yet unknown.
Where does real political power sit in Scotland? And where do we want it?Gerry HassanSunday Mail, September 6th 2015 The Scottish Parliament is one of the central pillars of public life. It has become the unquestioned landmark and focus of domestic politics in the country. People look to it, want it to have more powers, and generally trust it much more to look after their interests than Westminster. That is all good and well. Yet, when people think of the Scottish Parliament what they tend to have a vision of is not the reality, but the broad idea.
One Year on from the IndyRef: Making the Scotland of the FutureGerry HassanOpen Democracy, September 2nd 2015 Scottish public life has dramatically changed in recent times – the SNP 2011 first landslide, the independence referendum, and the 2015 tartan tsunami. Yet Scotland, like everywhere, is about more than politics. In this and other areas there have been huge changes, but also continuity and conservatism, the balance of which we are still trying to make sense of, and with huge consequences for the future of Scotland and the UK. Take the indyref. It didn’t come from nowhere. It came
Can Radical Scotland find its Voice? And if so could it be RISE?Gerry HassanSunday Mail, August 30th 2015 This weekend a new force in the Scottish political scene emerged – RISE – standing for Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism. What do we need a new political force for, you may ask? We already have a crowded political landscape. And why do we need another pro-independence one? At last count there were already four: SNP, Scottish Greens, Scottish Socialists and Solidarity. RISE, in case anyone thinks otherwise, has no connection to George Galloway (he is another kind of Respect)