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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Men Behaving Badly: Boris Johnson, Prince Andrew and Trump

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, November 19th 2019

Boris Johnson in the past week has seen his Tory fortunes soar. This was in a week when Johnson belatedly went and spoke to the people affected by the Yorkshire floods and faced their anger. In the same period, he struggled to answer why he might be ‘relatable’; avoided giving a straight reply to that well-known killer question, ‘how many children do you have?’, and with wider consequences for our politics professed to not know the number of Russian oligarchs who fund the Tory Party.

Despite the above incidents and many more numerous people present Boris Johnson in positive terms as a charmer, a character, someone able to get on with people, to get things done, and critically, who is a proven vote winner. Some of his biggest apologists go even further comparing him to some of the defining Tory PMs – Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Margaret Thatcher – all part of a largescale Johnson sycophantic industry out there.

Johnson represents the worst aspects of a certain kind of man. How is it possible, credible or defensible for a man, and a man seeking our votes to be PM, to not be able or more accurately willing to say how many children he has? Read the rest of this entry »

Letter from America: Let’s Stop Looking to America for the Future

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, October 30th 2019

‘You don’t know how lucky you are. Never take your democracy for granted. You don’t realise what it’s worth until it’s too late.’

Mikola Statkevich, former Belarusian Presidential candidate, 2015

America likes to think of itself as the shining light on the hill, as the exemplar in the whole world of life, liberty and happiness. Yet the America of today is increasingly turning it back on such a version of itself.

This is a dysfunctional, divided, unhappy society, increasingly not at ease with itself, let alone the wider world. Whereas once America offered the vision of a society of upward prosperity, supposed classlessness and life chances, it now looks like a version of a future which no longer works for most. In this its fraught politics mirror a society and capitalism which only work for the elites.

On the surface American society, whether prosperous city centres, places of tech innovation and comfortable suburbs, still seems to work. This is after all still the richest country in the world in terms of GDP according to IMF figures for 2019. But in terms of GDP per capita it is seventh and slowly slipping – with Luxembourg in first place, followed by Norway, Switzerland and Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban: This is not an Age of Fascism Yet

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, October 31st 2018

A spectre is haunting the modern world: fascism. All around the world people are talking about and identifying fascists. Newspaper headlines abound in the US such as ‘Is Donald Trump a fascist?’, ‘How fascist is Donald Trump?’ and even more emphatically, ‘Donald Trump is actually a fascist’: all from mainstream liberal papers.

The threat of fascism is now a worldwide phenomenon. We have just seen in the Brazil the victory of ‘strongman’ Jair Bolsonaro; the Hungarian authoritarianism of Viktor Orban; the rise of France’s Front National, led by Marie Le Pen; Germany’s Pegida and AfD; and Austria’s Freedom Party. All have earned the description at points ‘fascist’. If that were not enough there is another dimension, with some talking about ‘Islamic fascism’ and frequent comments such as ‘the terrorists are the heirs to fascism’: that last quote from George W. Bush, but it could have been any Western leader of recent times.

Trump is a cheerleader and mobiliser, whether you are for or against him, by dint of being the President of the USA. The thoughtful Robert Kagan wrote before the 2016 US election: ‘This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster … and with an entire national political party … falling into line behind him.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Prisoners of the Past: Tony Blair, Trump and Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, February 22nd 2017

The past is a powerful force and that is even more true in the strange times we are living in.

Take the waves of reaction and revulsion emerging last week after Tony Blair came back from the cold to announce his new initiative on Brexit. Blair’s intervention took place at the start of the 20th anniversary of the first New Labour landslide, but also bizarrely after the Commons voted to trigger Article 50, and six days before two critical by-elections for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn. (The latter, allowing the Labour leadership if they lost one or both to blame Blair and deflect blame from themselves.)

The Blair clarion call was that we should as a people rise up against Brexit and demand the right to think again. It met a mixed response. There are few people who openly admit to being Blair believers in Britain. Indeed, he seems to have fewer supporters in this country than even Trump and his pals Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and Piers Morgan. How the popular have fallen. Read the rest of this entry »

The Day Britain Died: Brexit, Trump and Scottish Independence

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, February 15th 2017

Last week a Rubicon was crossed as the House of Commons voted 494 to 122 – a government majority of 372 – to give a third reading to triggering Article 50.

Just as seriously on the same day – Wednesday February 8th 2017 – the UK Government reneged on its promise to take 3,000 child refugees (what was called the Dubs amendment) and slashed the number to 350. If that wasn’t enough the Commons at the same time voted to refuse to offer any guarantees to EU citizens living in the UK: content to use them as pawns in a high power poker game.

It is going to be difficult for many in Scotland, and for many ‘Scottish Review’ readers, but Britain is over. There is no way back. Last week the very idea of Britain as outgoing, welcoming, doing the right thing, looking after the most vulnerable and being driven by a sense of humanity, was not only trashed but finally and fatally died.

All of this requires that we get real about the debate here and recognise that we need to be tolerant, serious and embrace detail and facts, not faith and assertion. Unless the UK does an about turn on Brexit and Scotland, indyref2 is inevitable. The only issue will be timing and context. 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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