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
The rise and fall of civil society in ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, August 12th 2020 Last year in the US in the town of Williamstown, Massachusetts I got into a conversation with a complete stranger who followed politics avidly. I naturally asked him about the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, to which he responded that even more important than defeating Trump was the vibrancy and health of civil society. It struck me as a perceptive remark in seeing past the debris of the Trump Presidency and looking at something deeper, more long-term and centred on the health of
We are living through history and we are the history makersGerry HassanSunday National, July 12th 2020 The UK Government is convulsed in multiple crises - COVID19 and the related coming economic storm - while Brexit still remains unfinished business with a No Deal Brexit still highly likely by the end of this year. If this were not enough, the UK is committing self-harm at the bequest of a government both rudderless and dogmatic. It is treating large parts of England like distant provinces while remembering Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland only when they cause trouble or to keep
My Scotland and Glasgow during lockdownGerry HassanScottish Review, June 24th 2020 The past three months have been different to anything any of us have previously experienced. We have all lived our lives differently; changed our patterns of behaviour, both work and personal; and been affected by the absence of people who we would normally regularly see and meet, as well as friends, family and people we know becoming ill. Alongside this other big stuff has happened. There has been the staggering incompetence of the UK Government which has contributed to the avoidable deaths of thousands of UK citizens.
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 march of centralisation is evident in Scotland and must be stopped Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 3rd 2020 The entire coronavirus pandemic has been shaped by the incompetence of Boris Johnson and the UK Government. At nearly every stage they have seemed almost wilfully too slow to act, learn or admit mistakes. One underlying problem has been the degree to which the UK Government has acted centralising English decisions. It has been unwilling to encourage or support localism, decentralism and civic leadership across the country. Instead, it has advanced a one size fits all approach for England, bypassing
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.
Walking through the history of Glasgow and ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, May 20th 2020 The past weeks of lockdown have produced a rich panoply of emotions and feelings that recognise the different times we are living in. Over the past eight weeks I have used my daily walk to understand better my surrounding streets and area, and to take photos of things I find memorable; then writing a short chronicle and picking one set of images each day. I have lived on Glasgow’s Southside for 28 years – first in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, then Moray Place, Strathbungo. In that
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