After the COVID recession: The age of conservatism is coming to endGerry Hassan Sunday National, August 16th 2020 This week the scale of damage done by COVID-19 to the UK economy was confirmed as much more serious than previously thought. The drop in GDP for the second quarter of 2020 was 20.4% - the highest on record for a quarter - contributing to a 22.1% fall in the first six months of the year, plus a significant rise in the claimant count to 2.7 million people and a dramatic fall in employment. But this is nothing compared to
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 legacy of Empire is not just about the past but about present day Scotland and Britain Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 10th 2020 Black lives matter has become an international issue with street protests, rallies and gatherings across the globe. People have been mobilising, getting animated and becoming visible as they emerge from the shadows of lockdown. In Scotland and the UK home-made slogans and painted posters have appeared tied to railings and hanging from windows, while in Bristol the statue of slave owner Edward Colston was toppled by a crowd and thrown into the harbour. Debates have
All Across the Globe: The Politics of ProtestGerry HassanSunday National, June 7th 2020 All around the world people are protesting. Black Lives Matter have filled the streets of America. Everywhere from Canada to Australia, New Zealand to Germany, France to England and here in Scotland people are showing their solidarity with those taking a stand after the killing of George Floyd and linking it to their own specifics in a global cause. There has never been a time in recent history when streets, park gates and public spaces across Scotland have been more festooned with home-made signs and
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.
Scotland’s Right to Decide and the Future of Anglo-American CapitalismGerry HassanSunday National, May 10th 2020 As we reach seven weeks of lockdown more and more questions are emerging about the actions and shortcomings of the UK Government’s approach, particularly as sections of the Tory Party get restless about the length and economic costs of the lockdown. At the centre of this is the issue of what is driving policy – scientific and public health evidence or political priorities - and how it is all presented and portrayed. Then there is the relationship between the UK Government and Scottish,
Where is the wisdom and ability to ask big questions in our present crisis?Gerry HassanScottish Review, April 29th 2020 The world is united for once in sadness, tragedy and death. Everywhere there is crisis and anxiety, and in most places a lack of political leadership and absence of candour in public debate, despite the best intentions of the scientific community. In these trying times a degree of honesty about difficult choices facing government, society, businesses, families and individuals would be a good starting point. As would be more of a sense of wisdom and insight in public debate.
What will art, culture and sport look like after the virus?Gerry HassanSunday National, April 26th 2020 The UK economy and life as we know it are undergoing the kind of fundamental shock the like of which we have never seen in living memory. The only comparisons of similar economic and human carnage in peacetime are of the depression of 1920-21 and Great Depression at the end of the 1920s. Literally we are living through what Naomi Klein called ‘the shock doctrine’ of ‘disaster capitalism’ at a vastly accelerated pace. All of this raises questions about what life will
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
My Favourite Books of 2019Gerry HassanDecember 22nd 2019 This is a list of my favourite books of the year. It is the fifth year in a row I have done this – and undertaken separate book and music lists – the latter coming in the next day. It is a totally subjective and idiosyncratic list: made up things I have read, come across, been involved in or inspired by and which have stopped me and made me think. The biggest reason I do these lists is for my own enjoyment: looking back and reflecting on reading and listening,