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Posts Tagged ‘2017 UK General Election’

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 »

Time for the SNP and Labour to break with the failed policies of divided Britain

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Herald, May 28th 2017

Until last week this election was one in which nothing seemed to be happening. All of that changed with the horrors of Manchester.

Such atrocities test the fabric of our democracy and civic culture and sadly find some – though thankfully few – wanting.

Theresa May came out saying some of the right words. But we have nearly 1,000 armed troops now on our streets:; a reflection of the huge police cuts she made in her six-year stint as Home Secretary and glaring failures in intelligence and security.

Tory McCarthyite smears will be out in force for the remainder of the election. Things haven’t gone quite to plan – with polls showing their lead slipping and one YouGov poll putting it as narrow as 5%, which would translate on a national swing to a Tory overall majority of a mere two seats. Read the rest of this entry »

Is it time to think of independence for London?

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, May 24th 2017

Every day in so many ways the UK becomes more obviously divided and fragmented. The current UK general election campaign showcases this – with the absence of any real national UK politics beyond the theatre of Westminster with instead numerous national and sub-national debates.

There are, along with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, several different Englands. And then there is the special case of London. As the capital of England and the UK, London is an island apart from the rest of us. It is a world city, a global magnet and an international force – economically, socially, culturally.

I spent the last weekend in London with friends. Experiencing the city is to reflect on its dynamism and variety, but also on how utterly different it is from the rest of the country. And this difference increasingly matters – both for how London sees itself and the rest of us, and obviously for the non-London population of the UK.

London is one of the drivers of the UK economy. The Greater London area contains over 8.6 million people – 12.5% of the UK population – while making up 22% of UK GDP. Its wealth dominates the UK economy. Inner London’s GDP per person in 2010 was 328% the EU average, compared to 70% in west Wales – the biggest gap in any EU state. Read the rest of this entry »

 The Winner Doesn’t Take It All: Phoney War or the Beginning of a New Era?

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, May 10th 2017

Scotland’s permanent political campaign continued last week with the local elections. These were important for who runs Scotland’s 32 councils, local services and what passes for the remnants of local government, after decades of centralisation under Labour, Tories and SNP. But the stakes were higher than usual with the impending UK general election.

Everybody could claim some spoils. The SNP ‘won’ – finishing with most votes and seats. The Tories made significant gains in votes and seats. Labour while enduring a kicking showed glimmers of life. The Lib Dems had some local successes and the Greens increased their footholds in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Yet the campaign hype and its aftermath distorted the main political actors and their cheerleaders. The Daily Mail and Daily Express could hardly contain their excitement at Tory gains and evidence of Ruth-mania. Many Tories couldn’t stop getting things out of proportion with David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland, tweeting that ‘There is only one winner today’, inviting much ridicule and parody. Read the rest of this entry »

‘When I hear the word Scotland I want to say: ‘Shut the Fuck Up’’

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, May 3rd 2017

‘When I hear the word Scotland, I want to say: ‘Shut the Fuck Up.’’ These were the emotive words someone said at a public event in Newcastle I spoke at exactly one year to the day after the 2014 indyref.

They undoubtedly voiced the views of a part of the country – by that I mean a part of England. But at the same time their anger and loss of patience taps into something that is clearly going on in present day Scotland.

The English part is the more easy to surmise. England has had an awful lot of Scotland in recent years. There was the indyref, the 2015 UK general election, the SNP 56, and then the after affects of Brexit.

The tone of the SNP 56 has had lots of shades and positives, but can often come over, particularly for those outwith Scotland, with a sense of Scottish exceptionalism, conceit and sense of its own moral superiority. This translates into a lack of awareness of impact that can alienate those outside Scotland, not all of whom are the SNP’s natural enemies. Read the rest of this entry »

The People’s Flag and the Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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