The aftermath of the Alex Salmond trial and Kirsty Wark's take on ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, August 19th 2020 Alex Salmond is one of the towering figures of post-war Scottish politics - a politician who dramatically changed the country and his party’s fortunes, taking it into office in 2007, winning majority government in 2011, and taking Scotland close to independence in the 2014 referendum. He has always been a divisive figure: loved by some, hated by others. This division has become increasingly bitter in the aftermath of the trial in March of this year in which he was charged
The march of centralisation is evident in Scotland and must be stopped Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 3rd 2020 The entire coronavirus pandemic has been shaped by the incompetence of Boris Johnson and the UK Government. At nearly every stage they have seemed almost wilfully too slow to act, learn or admit mistakes. One underlying problem has been the degree to which the UK Government has acted centralising English decisions. It has been unwilling to encourage or support localism, decentralism and civic leadership across the country. Instead, it has advanced a one size fits all approach for England, bypassing
Scotland’s Right to Decide and the Future of Anglo-American CapitalismGerry HassanSunday National, May 10th 2020 As we reach seven weeks of lockdown more and more questions are emerging about the actions and shortcomings of the UK Government’s approach, particularly as sections of the Tory Party get restless about the length and economic costs of the lockdown. At the centre of this is the issue of what is driving policy – scientific and public health evidence or political priorities - and how it is all presented and portrayed. Then there is the relationship between the UK Government and Scottish,
A Time for Big Ideas for ScotlandGerry HassanSunday National, February 16th 2020 Big ideas are important. Boris Johnson is talking about infrastructure projects, committing to HS2 and spending £106 billion of taxpayers’ monies. He also this week announced a review into the feasibility of a 20-mile long Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge that will cost £20 billion. Irrespective of the merits of these projects, and the obvious point that the Scottish-Northern Irish bridge has next to no chance of ever being built, they mark a different kind of politics at least rhetorically from that of Boris Johnson’s immediate Tory predecessors.
The Declaration of Arbroath is Alive and Kicking in Modern ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, January 28th 2020 This year is the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. This seminal and pivotal point in Scottish history, in the making of our nation and collective imagination, still says something about each and everyone of us to this day. It has echoed down through the years, along with William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Bannockburn and the Wars of Independence. These are all part of the foundation stories and myths of what Scotland is and what it means. The Declaration was designed
Westminster and the Scottish Parliament: Who speaks for Scotland and who will decide its future? Gerry HassanThe Audience, January 22nd 2020 As expected Boris Johnson has said no to Nicola Sturgeon and her demand for a second Scottish independence referendum. This will not be any surprise to anyone in the SNP, all those living in Scotland, or anyone who follows politics. It all had the air of inevitability, with only the tone and certainty of Johnson’s refusal having any element of surprise – born of the confidence of the recent election victory and his majority of 80 seats.
Why Boris Johnson cannot say no forever Gerry HassanSunday National, January 19th 2020 Thirty years ago the Proclaimers sang ‘What do you do when Democracy's all through? What do you do when minority means you?’ This was the environment in Scotland after Thatcher’s third term victory of 1987. The Proclaimers caught the denial of democracy and sense of powerlessness many felt in the face of that political juggernaut. They also gave voice to the need to name the democratic crisis of the UK as such and its impact on Scotland, while emphasising our collective refusal to acquiesce to
Why the Alex Salmond controversy matters beyond politicsGerry HassanScottish Review, August 29th 2018 There has only been one story in the last few days in Scotland; that of Alex Salmond. The substantive allegations and Alex Salmond’s response and denial of any wrong-doing have been amply catalogued. The whole controversy covers many issues - alleged wrong doing, how to deal with such sensitive subjects, the role of the media and wider politics, and how justice is done and seen to be done, including how we treat those accused as well as their accusers. Given there has been so much
Holyrood has given Scotland independence of the mindGerry HassanThe Guardian, September 11th 2017 Twenty years ago today Scotland voted 3:1 for the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. It was clear the old Westminster system of governing Scotland was discredited. Voters recognised it was undemocratic, and produced bad politics and legislation. The case for change had become a consensus – ‘the settled will’ in John Smith’s description – that the referendum merely and validated. Twenty years later devolution has been a success. There are no serious calls for the Scottish Parliament to be abolished or for a return of
The Named Persons legislation and who stands up for liberty in Scotland?Gerry HassanSunday Mail, July 31st 2016 The summer of 2016 is proving dramatic and historic. Brexit, David Cameron resignation as PM, Theresa May becoming the new PM, Jeremy Corbyn’s travails. That’s just Britain. Across the world there is Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, violent and terrorist attacks in Germany and France, Putin flexing his muscles, while a belligerent China shows its power in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has been playing an astute game on Brexit. This week Nicola Sturgeon spoke in a way no