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.
David Steel, Cyril Smith and how the establishment still looks after its ownGerry HassanScottish Review, March 4th 2020 Last week, as Harvey Weinstein finally faced justice in America, the UK’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse gave its verdict on David Steel. It damned him for his years of silence and inaction on the child sex abuse of Cyril Smith, Liberal, then Lib Dem, MP for Rochdale from 1972 to 1992; saying that Steel had ‘abdicated his responsibility’ and had not been motivated by ‘the lens of child protection but through the lens of political expediency’. The backstory
Class still defines and disfigures Britain and ScotlandGerry HassanSunday National, November 24th 2019 Class still matters and defines much of Britain and Scotland. It shapes life chances, educational opportunities, work advancement and careers, health, life expectancy, culture, politics - and who makes and does not make the key decisions in society. Dr. Fiona Hill, the British-born US public servant, spoke this week at the Trump impeachment hearings about being born in Bishop Auckland in the north of England, saying: ‘This country [the US] offered me opportunities I would never have had in England. I grew up poor with
Jeremy Corbyn’s Moment of Reckoning and the Fears of the British Establishment Gerry HassanSunday National, August 25th 2019 Next week another critical Brexit moment happens when Jeremy Corbyn calls together all the opposition parties at Westminster, to plan to win a vote of no confidence against Boris Johnson’s government to stop a No Deal Brexit. Jeremy Corby has offered to lead a temporary minority government that would aim to extend the Article 50 notice period, hold an election and referendum. This is high stake politics, with the nature of Brexit, the future of political parties and leaders, as
The Royal Family, Britishness and Living in DisneylandGerry HassanScottish Review, May 23rd 2018 The Royal Family are an important part of what it means to be British, and whether you like them or loath them, they are one of the few remaining national symbols of cohesion which unite lots of people. Yet the monarchy is more popular in some places than others. A recent Delta Poll for Policy Exchange showed that support for the monarchy ranged from 55% in England to 52% in Northern Ireland, 49% in Wales and 46% in Scotland. Asked if the monarchy was a
The UK as we know it can't survive Brexit and TrumpGerry HassanThe Guardian, November 17th 2016 The United Kingdom’s sense of itself and place in the world is more in question now than it was before Donald Trump’s election. It was already facing the precarious process of Brexit that has destabilised the nature of fifty years plus of UK foreign policy and international alliances. All of this should be a moment for opposition but Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are missing in action, focusing on internal battles, and letting the struggle with the Tories slip through their fingers. Whatever the
Why Scotland has finally woken up and become a democracyGerry HassanSeptember 21st 2014 It has been an incredible few years to live in Scotland. Assumption after assumption about public life, society and the closed order of how politics has been traditionally done, has been turned upside down. People will still feel raw on either side. Yes people feel deflated and disappointed; No supporters sense that they were forced into a debate they didn’t want to have. But if we step back the bigger picture is an impressive and powerful one. It is one many of the observers from
The UK has failed but we have to address Scottish shortcomingsGerry HassanNewsnet Scotland, April 26th 2014 The Scottish independence debate is about many things. It is about the state of modern Scotland and its different possible futures. But it is also about the condition of the UK, its multiple crises and how these impact north of the border. The state of the United Kingdom is one of the main drivers of the Scottish debate. It has become an accepted fact that the UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world, ranked fourth in a
The Birth Pains of Scottish Democracy and the Anguish of ‘Posh Scotland’Gerry HassanScottish Review, February 26th 2014 Many strange things will be written about Scotland this year. Some will be uncomprehending, some inappropriate or wrong, with others likely to be malevolent and wishing to sew seeds of confusion or distrust. One existing strand is the pain expressed by some English media voices. There is the liberal ‘Guardian’ reading classes, some of whom have just bothered in the last few weeks to look north from their cosmopolitan concerns and to plea, ‘don’t leave us alone with the wicked Tories’.
What happens after the demise of ‘the Holy Trinity’ of Britishness?Gerry HassanThe Scotsman, August 17th 2013 It has been a week of momentous events. The unfolding Egyptian tragedy, the restarting of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, and in our corner of the world, the first Scotland v. England match in over a decade. It feels inappropriate and insensitive to mention a mere football match in the company of such historic events. Yet, I think with that caveat the game mattered because it offered a glimpse of future possible arrangements. Two neighbours and friends with a rich, shared history, but who