Scotland’s future as an independent nation is being created in the here and nowGerry Hassan Sunday National, June 28th 2020 Independence is back in the news and making the news. Truth is it never went away, but last week’s 54:46 poll in this paper set a surge of energy through the Scottish political scene. The British state and government, and Boris Johnson’s serial incompetence and inability to tell the truth in a national crisis of life and death proportions, is making the case for independence. Johnson represents all that most Scots are repulsed by - a posh entitlement
After the Virus: Debating the Big Issues in Society and ScotlandGerry HassanScottish National, June 14th 2020 After COVID-19 what will our society, our lives and our politics look like? How will we return to talking about the big issues and in a way that faces up to the huge challenges in Scotland, the UK and beyond? A brief survey of the landscape we will face is illustrative. At least 64,000 UK citizens are dead from COVID-19. On Neil Ferguson’s assessment at least 25,000 of these deaths were avoidable and could have been prevented by earlier more decisive action
The long road down: The failures of British government have brought us to Dominic CummingsGerry HassanSunday National, May 31st 2020 The past week in British politics has been dominated by one story alone: Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings and the extent to which he broke lockdown rules and flouted the very restrictions he was involved in creating. This is not a Westminster political class or bubble issue. Rather it is about a much deeper, worrisome set of processes and dynamics. These include the failures of the British state going back many decades, how it does politics domestically
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.
A new economic and social order is being born. We have to make it an egalitarian oneGerry HassanSunday National, May 24th 2020 The economic tsunami engulfing the world is like nothing experienced in our lifetimes. The scale of damage and numbers affected are almost impossible to comprehend; as is the impact on our individual and collective livelihoods, and the future of the global economy, UK and Scotland. The UK economy could contract by a staggering 35% of GDP in the second quarter of this year. Already 2.1 million people are unemployed - the highest rate in 24 years.
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
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
Inequality – including in Britain – kills and why we need to organise to defeat itGerry HassanSunday National, April 19th 2020 As the scale of the coronavirus challenges rises by the day, another debate is emerging – about how society copes with the scale and inequity of income, wealth and power – and the overall issue of inequality. Just over a week ago Emily Maitlis opened ‘BBC Newsnight’ with a powerful polemic: ‘You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character - whatever the Prime Minister's colleagues will tell us. And the disease is not