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Posts Tagged ‘British Media’

Scotland’s comforting stories and the missing voices of public life

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, September 24th 2013

Scotland in its politics, culture and sense of its identity likes to tell itself a comforting story.

There was once a Labour Scotland optimistic story of lifting working people up, and now there is a Nationalist account about the possibilities of independence. There is even a positive pro-union version that has not been fully articulated in public for many years.

All of these are partial accounts, and one of the many challenges they face is the continued existence of negative stories which emphasise that we are too small, too poor, too divided, and above all, just too Scottish, to do anything about changing our country.

One of the positive accounts of modern Scotland which has risen in recent years has been the richness of artistic and cultural Scotland. This was witnessed in the recent Creative Scotland stramash which saw its Chief Executive Andrew Dixon shown the door. An organised group of artists and cultural figures saw themselves as defending the interests of a community and a set of inclusive, enlightened values. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes to a Different Scotland

Gerry Hassan

Open Democracy, September 18th 2013

One year to the Scottish independence referendum.

A historic milestone. A host of mainstream media programmes, discussions and items yesterday and today are marking it.

One of the most important was ‘Newsnight’s’ Berwick upon Tweed programme on Tuesday broadcast to a British wide audience which looked as though it was filmed in the ‘Great British Bake Off’ tent!

The programme was revealing and fascinating, from Kirsty Wark’s conspicuous slips showing her bias, to Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State’s constant reciting of the word ‘separation’ in her opening remarks. But at significant points the discussion pointed towards a tone and content which is seldom present in most mainstream media discussions – namely, the opening up of a space exploring the notion of a different Scotland and how this could manifest itself. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of the London Scots

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, August 24th 2013

One of the most powerful group of Scottish opinion formers do not live and work in Scotland, but are the London Scots.

This group are never far from the public gaze. They come into focus with the northern exodus of the London and Southern classes at Festival time, personified in Andrew Marr’s recent intervention at the Book Festival about the state of Scotland.

Marr stated that, ‘There is a very strong anti-English feeling (in Scotland), everybody knows it’ and that ‘it could become toxic’. Two of his main pieces of evidence were Alasdair Gray’s comments about ‘colonists’ and ‘settlers’, and the Nigel Farage standoff in the Royal Mile with the Radical Independence Conference supporters.

Marr’s Edinburgh appearance did not give the impression that he had been following Scottish politics closely, getting several basic facts wrong. He has had recent mitigating circumstances, but a similar pattern can be observed in his newly written essay in ‘The Battle for Scotland’, first published in 1992. In this Marr writes that apparently Scotland was governed by a SNP-Green coalition in 2007 which will be news to Patrick Harvie, gets the results of the 1979 and 1997 referenda wrong in percentages and actual numbers, and much more. 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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