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Posts Tagged ‘Scotland 2020’

‘an enticing mixture of fiction and commentary in the model of a ‘European’ cultural production’.

Richard Parry, Scottish Affairs

Scotland 2020: The Power of Hope

Gerry Hassan and Eddie Gibb

A unique feature of human consciousness is its inclusion of the future. Expectations strongly affect all aspects of human functioning. . . . Hope inspires a feeling of well-being and is a spur to action. Hopelessness, the inability to imagine a tolerable future, is a powerful motive for suicide.

Jerome Frank, ‘The role of hope in psychotherapy’ (1)


Scotland is a nation of narrators who tell and retell each other stories that turn into modern myths. Some myths have a power that changes behaviour: the Tartan Army have told themselves that they are the best football fans in the world so often that they have created a collective culture that promotes good behaviour among travelling supporters. In this essay, we consider how the stories Scotland tells about itself today have a bearing on tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

That was Then and This is Now: Imagining new stories about a northern nation

Gerry Hassan

Scotland has changed in the last 20 years. It has been transformed economically, socially, culturally and politically. It has a degree of self-government and a new set of political institutions. However, the way we think of and describe Scotland has not undergone a similar change; instead it is still rooted in a romanticised rose-tinted view of a past Scotland that is now long since gone.

This chapter looks at the extent of change in Scotland over this period and the kind of changes which may occur in the future. It argues that the idea of story and storytelling is a rich and illuminating way to understand Scotland. The stories we Scots tell each other, that we choose to believe and not to believe, help to create our collective mindset. And crucial to far-reaching change in Scotland is the need for a new story. Read the rest of this entry »

Scotland’s ‘Velvet Revolution’

Carol Craig in conversation with Tom Devine

Published in Gerry Hassan, Eddie Gibb and Lydia Howland (eds), Scotland 2020: Hopeful Stories for a Northern Nation, Demos 2005.

CC: I would like to start with a general discussion about Scotland and transformational change. The author of The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell, argues that people tend to see change as slow and incremental when in fact it is often rapid and transformatory. He argues that snow is a good example of this. When snow falls the temperature change is often minimal yet within minutes the world looks different. As a historian can you identify times in Scotland’s past when change happened quickly and peoples’ life changed dramatically as a result? Read the rest of this entry »

Happiness, Well-Being and Economic Prosperity

David Bell in conversation  with Clive Hamilton

Published in Gerry Hassan, Eddie Gibb and Lydia Howland (eds), Scotland 2020: Hopeful Stories for a Northern Nation, Demos 2005

September 27th 2004

Dear Clive,

I enclose my opening gambit to you.

1. The growth record of the Scottish economy is somewhat below that of the UK as a whole. Nevertheless, during the 1990s and early part of the new century, the UK has experienced higher rates of growth than most of the other G8 countries with the exception of the USA. Scottish GDP per capita has increased very substantially since the 1970s.

2. Nevertheless, on almost all metrics, Scotland tends to compare its performance with that of England (or the rest of the UK). This has resulted in much attention being given to its relatively weak growth performance. Local policymakers have responded by placing increased rates of economic growth at the top of their list of policy priorities. Read the rest of this entry »

Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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