Joanna Cherry, Andy Wightman and the importance of dissentGerry Hassan Scottish Review, February 3rd 2021 These past few weeks have not been quiet ones for the SNP and Scottish Greens, the two pro-independence parties in the country. First of all, respected Green MSP Andy Wightman announced he was leaving the party, and this week, Joanna Cherry was sacked from her position on the SNP Westminster frontbench: Cherry, MP for Edinburgh South West commented: ‘Despite hard work, results and a strong reputation I’ve been sacked today from the SNP front bench’. Running through both events are how political parties
Leadership in a Cold Climate: COVID-19 and the Emerging New World Gerry HassanSunday National, January 24th 2021 The inauguration of Joe Biden as US President is part ritual, part celebration. At its heart is a reaffirmation of the power of democracy and the belief that even in divided, difficult times leadership can make a difference. This raises questions about the role and expectations of political leadership – not just in the US, but in the UK and here in Scotland. We live in an age where traditional models of leadership and the attitudes around them are discredited, but
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
Boris Johnson and the art of self-deceptionGerry HassanSunday National, September 8th 2019 Boris Johnson has long had a problematic relationship with the truth. When a journalist, he was fired from ‘The Times’ for making up a quote; in the last month as UK Prime Minister he stated that he was in favour of proroguing Parliament when he publicly said he was against it, claimed to be against having an election he was planning and then for holding a contest, and saying that he is negotiating a Brexit deal with the EU, while preparing for a No Deal Brexit.
Gordon Brown: The Ghost in the MachineGerry HassanScottish Review, November 14th 2017 Gordon Brown, like him or loath him, was a titan of a figure in British politics for close on two decades. Along now comes Brown’s attempt at putting his case and a call for understanding and redemption in his autobiography - ‘My Life, Our Times’. It comes with much baggage for all who will read and encounter it, including from the author himself who goes through the pretense that he had to be reluctantly dragged into writing it, explaining himself: ‘For me, being conspicuously demonstrative is
Where have all the leaders gone?Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 20th 2017 We have a problem with leaders - specifically, a dearth of them in Scotland, the UK and most of the Western world. There is a crisis of authority, trust and legitimacy with, for some, populism, trusting instincts and voicing your inner rage all that is left. Who do we trust to speak to us, to listen and understand our problems? To offer a guide that points in a direction and takes us there at a speed and consistency that respects anxieties and doubts, and the need to
The Myth of the Great Leader: Gordon Brown, Jimmy Reid and Alex SalmondGerry HassanScottish Review, September 1st 2016 The times they-are-a-changing. There is a tangible feeling in the air of discontent, anger and bewilderment. People feel let down and cheated by the multiple powers that be. It isn’t surprising then that there is a palpable sense of national nostalgia depicted on TV – remakes fill the screens (Are You Being Served?, Porridge), while period dramas (Downton Abbey) or endless documentaries on World War Two and the Nazis are hugely popular. The left aren’t immune to this either –
After Cameron, Boris and Corbyn: What will Tomorrow’s Leaders Look Like?Gerry HassanScottish Review, July 14th 2016 Leadership in the modern world is cited as the answer to nearly every issue, problem or area of life – from business, to turning round failing organisations, to the success of football clubs. In the last month, political leadership has been all over the news. There has been David Cameron’s rather hasty resignation; the coronation of Theresa May as Prime Minister; and Boris Johnson’s positioning for power, withdrawal from the Tory leadership contest, and then subsequent appointment as Foreign Secretary in May’s