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.
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,
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
Where is the political leadership in this time of crisis in the UK?Gerry HassanScottish Review, April 22nd 2020 The news this weekend was dominated by controversy over Boris Johnson’s absentee leadership in the midst of the early stages of the coronavirus before his recent illness. Johnson missed five Cobra meetings, had a mini-holiday and delayed for 38 crucial days the UK giving the virus the importance and priority it deserved. Exemplary investigative journalism from the ‘Sunday Times’ has revealed a government asleep at the wheel, the diversionary cost of Brexit over recent years, and the cumulative effect of
The British constitution works only for the British establishmentGerry HassanSunday National, April 12th 2020 Boris Johnson has been incapacitated for most of this week which has brought up thorny questions of where political power lies in the UK, the role of the Prime Minister and the nature of the unwritten constitution. We have been repeatedly told that government is working smoothly without the Prime Minister, that cabinet government and collective ministerial responsibility are happening, and from acting-up Dominic Raab that all of this is made easier by the fact that they are all friends and allies working together.
There is an Alternative: Another World is PossibleGerry HassanSunday National, March 22nd 2020 The world is in flux, filled with uncertainty, confusion, panic and fear where many, if not all, of the assumptions that have defined politics are now open for challenge. Many things are still unclear but one certainty is that the dominant global economic model of recent decades is now being openly questioned. The Financial Times Sebastian Payne talked this week about ‘the ideology of last week’ –meaning the assumptions of the past four decades politically. There are still numerous voices clinging to the wreckage of
The World Turned Upside Down: Goodbye to ThatcherismGerry HassanSunday National, March 15th 2020 The Tory budget marked a dramatic change in tone, content and politics from what we have become used to. The language of active government, investment and public spending saw UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak make commitments to an extra £30 billion in public spending. This raises questions about Boris Johnson’s government, the Tories, UK politics, and whether this change is superficial, tactical, or something more long lasting? And what, if any, are the consequences for Scotland and independence? It is now widely accepted that ten years
Fantasyland Britain and its Zombie Economics are now in the firing lineGerry HassanSunday National, March 8th 2020 Britain and the world are facing an unprecedented crisis: a worldwide epidemic with major consequences for public health, sustainability of societies and way of life. This is a defining point. It calls for government, state and public agency action – for solidarity and recognising that health and well-being are social and interconnected. As the writer Otto English wrote we have had ‘three years of ‘we don’t need experts, we survived the war, Project Fear’’ which have been shown even more to