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Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Establishment’

Michael Forbes, Donald Trump and the Unpredictable Scotland Emerging

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, December 1st 2012

The Scots have a strange and often perplexing relationship with those in authority and power.

Sometimes we damn them and at other times we choose to believe their official story. More often than we show a lack of curiosity in scrutinising and challenging authority. Instead, there is a deafening silence of the Scots across large acres of public life, in conferences, gatherings and fora which represent ‘civic Scotland’.

Michael Forbes has been a huge exception to this general rule. The Aberdeenshire farmer who stood up to Donald Trump and his Menie estate golf course development, along with a host of other local residents, on Thursday night won the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland ‘Top Scot’ award voted for by the public.

Michael and others stood up not just against Donald Trump, but the whole mass of the Scottish political and business establishment. The SNP, Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems, Alex Salmond, Jack McConnell, CBI, Robert Gordon University and many more, all weighed in with their ‘Scotland open for business’ collective mantra as they palled up to Trump and his development. Read the rest of this entry »

The Self-Preservation Society of ‘Civic Scotland’

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, January 21st 2012

‘Civic Scotland’ has been spotted these last few weeks, out in public, on manoeuvres, laying out their claims to be not forgotten in ‘the great debate’ about to ensue.

The official story of ‘civic Scotland’ matters because various people in the voluntary sector, trade unions and churches are articulating a very partial version of history to justify their place and stance now. And at the minimum we should, like every aspect of public life, put this and its claims under proper scrutiny.

‘Civic Scotland’ says that it created and gave expression to the Scottish Constitutional Convention, which in turn gave birth to the Parliament. This is myth and folklore.

For a start, the Convention wasn’t an adequate expression of civil society. It was an unrepresentative gathering of the great and good, of the political and administrative classes who had their noses by the Thatcher Government. Read the rest of this entry »

The Divine Right to Rule: Power and the Scots

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, March 12th 2011

Scotland likes to see itself as a land of passion, romance and rebellion: a disputatious society where no one is allowed to get too big for their boots: a permanent ‘diverse assembly’ in Robert Crawford’s telling phrase.

At the same time the Scots have displayed a curious attitude towards power, who has it, how they exercise it, and what it means. One could characterise it as an indifference, but it slips over into something much stronger: acquiescence.

One account, found in the Scottish Government and its extended networks, business and wider public life is to see those that exercise power and influence as doing so informed by the public good and general sense of a common weal.

This perspective blows over into a brazen conceit in some parts in those who have power and influence. Magnus Linklater once declared with certainty, ‘It would be very hard to talk about a Scottish establishment’ and that there was no ‘clubland’, a comment which could only be made by someone deeply entrenched within insider Scotland. The fact that he did it in the introduction to a book entitled ‘Anatomy of Scotland’ which was meant to look at influence and elites only made it more significant. 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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