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
We are not at war yet we are increasingly living in a warfare stateGerry HassanScottish Review, April 15th 2020 In the past week the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to be taken into hospital as a result of COVID-19, moved to intensive care with his life in the balance, and released after his condition improved on Easter Sunday. This has been a testing time for the UK government with the Prime Minister temporarily incapacitated, and for a period out of the picture, with Dominic Raab pushed into the limelight - as have been the internal workings 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.
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
The State of the Union: Can Unionists reinvent their argument on the UK?Gerry HassanSunday National, March 1st 2020 In recent years the case for the union has been on the defensive - nervous and unsure of its own arguments and the future. It may have won the 2014 referendum, but there has been a rising sense of foreboding in pro-union opinion that the future is being made in the here and now by independence supporters. Such sentiment was one of the reasons behind the gathering last weekend called ‘Our Past, Present and Future’ organised by These Islands, the
The Royal Family Story is more than mere soap operaGerry HassanScottish Review, January 15th 2020 The world of 2020 is filled with important events and news: the Iran-US conflict, Australian bush fires sweeping the continent, and the ongoing Brexit process. Yet what story has dominated the UK media to a claustrophobic and obsessional degree in the early days of the new year? The answer is none of the above but the ongoing crises of the Royal Family engendered by Harry and Meghan’s declaration of semi-independence. This saga has nearly everything for the modern media including familiar reference points,
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
The Long Game of Scotland’s Independence Referendum: 2020 and BeyondGerry HassanSunday National, December 29th 2019 Scotland is on the move. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has requested that the Scottish Parliament be given the legal powers from Westminster to hold a future independence referendum, and has written to Boris Johnson asking him to enter into serious negotiations. The case for a second indyref is based on Scotland voting to remain in the UK, and being told that this was the only way for Scotland to remain in the EU. In 2016, Scotland voted 62:38 to remain in the
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.