Letter from America: Let’s Stop Looking to America for the FutureGerry HassanScottish Review, October 30th 2019‘You don’t know how lucky you are. Never take your democracy for granted. You don’t realise what it’s worth until it’s too late.’Mikola Statkevich, former Belarusian Presidential candidate, 2015 America likes to think of itself as the shining light on the hill, as the exemplar in the whole world of life, liberty and happiness. Yet the America of today is increasingly turning it back on such a version of itself. This is a dysfunctional, divided, unhappy society, increasingly not at ease
Whatever happened to the springtime for democracy?Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 18th 2018 Three decades ago democracy was the future and carrying all before it. The Soviet bloc was collapsing, the South African apartheid regime was crumbling - and all across South America brutal dictatorships were being replaced by democracies (however imperfect) symbolised by the fall of the Pinochet junta. Today the state of the world could not look more different and feel less optimistic. There are still many more democracies than there even a decade ago, but somehow the springtime for people power promised three decades ago has
How Trump Shook America and the World: My Letter from AmericaGerry HassanScottish Review, November 10th 2016 America has shaken itself and the world. Something seismic has happened which has compounded experts, the political classes, and observers all round the world. But in this year of revolt and surprises - from Leicester City and the Cubs to more seriously Brexit and Trump - the question is why should we be surprised anymore? I spent the last three weeks in the States, attending rallies, speaking and listening to people, and trying to understand what was going on. It was clear
What does the US Presidential Election Mean? Twelve Thoughts on US PoliticsGerry HassanOpen Democracy, November 8th 2016 This has been a fascinating election; a true rollercoaster of emotions - of hope and fear, the spectre of bigotry and violence, and the flames of intolerance, and even insurrection, raised in some right-wing circles. Here are some thoughts and observations based on travels, conversations and attending various political events in the United States over the last few weeks.
In the past fortnight I attended a Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren rally, followed by a Donald Trump event, and an eve of
Fear of a Trump PlanetGerry HassanOpen Democracy, November 4th 2016 Could Donald Trump actually pull off the biggest election shock in post-war US politics? One week ago the US Presidential election was meant to be over. Now the weekend before the election things look very different. For the past week the Clinton campaign has hit stormy waters, aided by FBI Director James Comey, while Trump has in the last stages found a momentum and even belatedly embraced a degree of message discipline. On Friday I went to a Trump rally in the palatial surroundings of Atkinson Country Club,
Donald Trump may be a one-off but his politics are not a one-offGerry HassanScottish Review, March 16th 2016 Donald Trump may seem like a throwback to earlier, uglier times, but he is actually a very modern phenomenon. He is easy for opponents to hate, ridicule and throw insults at - from ‘fascist’ (which he most certainly isn’t) - to racist, misogynist and demagogue which, whether they are right or wrong, get in the way of understanding his politics and their widespread appeal. Donald Trump is favourite to win the US Republican nomination to be President of the United
What are politicians for today? In Defence of a Different PoliticsGerry HassanScottish Review, March 9th 2016 For all my adult life, I have defended the potential of politics and politicians to aid a better world. I have defended politics as the means to bring about change, for people to come together collectively and exercise power, and to aid the art of living together well. I have defended politicians as both a necessary evil - not all being the same and tarred with the same brush – and as people undertaking an activity in which many try their best.
Donald Trump’s appeal tells us that something is wrong with America and the WestGerry HassanSunday Mail, December 13th 2015 Only a generation ago, just after the Berlin Wall fell, liberal democratic opinion across the West was confident about the future. This was the era of the long boom across the West, the Clinton era of ‘Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow’ in the US, and the Blair’s ‘Dreams Can Only Get Better’ in the UK. All of this hubris and hype was brought down to earth by the banker’s crash of 2008, but this was only the start of
‘You’re Fired’: Jeremy Corbyn and what Voters Want to Say to the Political ClassesGerry HassanSunday Mail, July 26th 2015 This week Tony Blair compared Scottish nationalism to ‘cavemen’ and told supporters of Jeremy Corbyn who wanted to vote with their heart to ‘get a transplant.’ You always know something is up when the political insults start flying. Labour have no idea what has happened in Scotland, and to compound matters for the party establishment, this week saw the rise of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership challenge. The trigger was a poll which put Corbyn not just ahead of the other