The UK is not a fully-fledged democracy: An alternative history of BritainGerry HassanScottish Review, April 14th 2021 The events of the past few days, in the aftermath of the death of Prince Philip, have brought the nature of British society, history and democracy to the fore – or rather the all-pervasive official account that is articulated day in and day out. We are continually told – sometimes subliminally and sometimes explicitly - that the monarchy is central to Britain, Britishness and our way of life and being, and that it is part of what makes us unique, stable
Gordon Brown and how to heal broken BritainGerry HassanScottish Review, January 27th 2021 Gordon Brown is coming to the rescue again - raising the alarm, saying that the UK is in danger of becoming a ‘failed union’ unless there is dramatic change. This is the same Gordon Brown who was centrestage in the latter stages of the indyref and pivotal to ‘The Vow’, and who promised a ‘near-federal union’ for the UK within two years of 2014. Before that he was at the apex of New Labour - as Chancellor, then Prime Minister, over thirteen years. Gordon Brown
A Tour Inside Gordon Brown’s BritainGerry HassanScottish Review, November 25th 2020 Gordon Brown in recent times has increasingly recognised that something is wrong, even rotten, in the state of Britain, regularly talking about ‘a dysfunctional UK’. This is part of Brown’s continual manoeuvres post-2014 to have a say in the future of Britain’s constitutional arrangements and to make the case that the status quo increasingly ill-serves the nations and regions of the UK. Thus it comes as no surprise that he has taken pen to paper and written a substantial New Statesman essay that makes his case of
We need to know our history: The rise and fall of the British Prime MinisterGerry HassanScottish Review, November 11th 2020 Leadership is one of the mantras of the modern age, and no more so than in politics. National leadership - and success (and conversely failure) - is endlessly analysed. Is Boris Johnson in irretrievable decline and was he ever right for the job? Can Nicola Sturgeon maintain the level of popularity of herself and the SNP to the 2021 elections? And does anyone remember the Lib Dems and who their leader is? (answer: Ed Davey). The new book
Labour troubles, the Independence Question and the future of BritainGerry HassanSunday National, September 27th 2020 Labour conference met this week but in the new online world of Zoom the only cut through was Keir Starmer’s keynote address along with his TV response to Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 broadcast. It is now nine months since the Tories won a landslide election victory. But the world has been turned upside down since last December. Boris Johnson was sold as a great communicator and campaigner, but as UK Prime Minister has proven inept, unfocused, untrustworthy and amateurish. Labour matters in UK politics.
Labour has to stop being ambivalent and tell a convincing story about Britain: its past, present and futureGerry HassanProspect, September 24th 2020 Keir Starmer in his keynote conference address has indicated that he wants to reclaim patriotism as a principle and thread that runs through everything the Labour Party stands for. This on the surface might sound uncontroversial but it isn’t. The Corbynistas had an instinctive opposition to all things patriotic and to many of the traditional symbols and institutions of Britishness. More than this the Conservative Party have long claimed patriotism as their own. And in response
What comes after Richard Leonard for Scottish Labour? Time for an Independent Labour Party Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 9th 2020 Scottish Labour once seemed to have an ironclad grip on Scottish politics, winning election after election, and seeing off opponents whether it was Tories, SNP or the occasional Lib Dem. For two political generations - from 1959 to 2007 - Labour won every single nationwide election for Westminster in seats, and from 1964 in votes; and in the first two Scottish Parliament elections to 2007. It became defined as the party of power, the insider class and hence,
The future of Labour matters to everyone – and to Scottish self-governmentGerry HassanSunday National, January 5th 2020 Nearly a month ago Labour stumbled to one of the worst defeats in its history. Yet the weeks after the calamity of the election of a Boris Johnson government with an overall majority of eighty seats, have seen Labour no further forward in recognising the scale of its reverse or how much it needs to change. This matters – for, despite everything, Labour still matter. They are still by far the principal opposition to the Tories at Westminster and the only
Time to Decide: Scottish Labour and the Independence QuestionGerry HassanSunday National, December 22nd 2019 This week reality hit the Labour Party in Scotland. In the aftermath of yet another disastrous election defeat senior figures in the party have decided to question Labour’s long held opposition to an independence referendum, believing they should champion Scotland’s right to self-determination. Paul Sweeney, Monica Lennon and Neil Findlay as well as others have indicated that the party cannot be seen as standing for Westminster minority rule and against the democratic right of the Scottish people. There was a backlash against these pronouncements.
Scottish Labour, Self-Government and the SNPGerry HassanCompass, December 17th 2019 The 2019 UK general election confirmed the divided nature of politics, the demise of British-wide politics and the emergence of a four nation political system. The Tories were elected on a 43.6% UK vote made up through winning England with 47.2%, finishing second in Wales with a respectable 36.1%, while achieving second place in Scotland with 25.1%, losing votes and seats. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland increasingly march to different political beats. This is the third election in a row in which a different party has won