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Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’s Future’

What’s the Story of Scotland’s Future?

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, April 28th 2011

Like many people I have been watching and reflecting on the Scottish Parliament elections, and finding them in equal parts fascinating and frustrating.

In one way, these are elections of some theatre and drama, the Labour-SNP contest, the background of the cuts, what happens to the Tories and Lib Dems. And yet they are not really an example of an imaginative, emboldened, or even in parts honest politics.

Post-war Scotland: From ‘We Have a Dream’ to ‘We are Doomed’

There is so much unsaid and unstated. It begs: what is the contemporary story of modern Scotland? Once we had a powerful post-war story of Scotland. It went along the lines of ‘we have a dream’, a collective, mobilising story. It was filled with hope and a sense of progress, rationalism, planning, order and a belief that things could be solved. This is the world whose last gasp is generally seen as Cumbernauld New Town and the film ‘Gregory’s Girl’.

This was supplanted in the 1980s by the ‘we are all doomed’ strand of the Scottish character. At first this overtly negative message in the eloquent hands of writers such as William McIlvanney, Alasdair Gray and others, had a positive, unifying message seen in the former’s ‘Stands Scotland Where It Did?’ 1987 lecture. It was motivated by our collective need to huddle together against the elemental rainstorm of Thatcherism, which we saw as a real palpable threat to our very existence: to Scottish values and even Scotland as a nation. Read the rest of this entry »

What is Scotland’s Big Story?

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, March 26th 2011

What is the Big Story of Scotland: as a nation, society, and politically?

Like William Hague’s mojo, we know we once had one and that we have now lost it. Scotland has had a number of big stories over the years: Empire Scotland, kirk Scotland, Red Clydeside, and the nationalist dream of independence. Now we mostly have muddle and confusion.

The next few weeks are going to see an awful lot of sound and fury. Politicians will make jabbing points not listening to each other; men will make pedantic points of difference and non-dialogue all over our media, and the occasional woman will get a word in!

What this will amount to is incrementalism taken to the levels of a dogma, a world of conservatism, shorn of vision and inspiration and a risk averse politics. It is a Scotland we all know and inhabit and are in some senses responsible for letting happen. 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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