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
Rise Now and Be a Nation Again: Can a genuine English democratic politics emerge?Gerry HassanSunday National, January 26th 2020 England has always mattered to Scotland, and indeed to Wales and Northern Ireland. It has 84% of the UK’s population and 533 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons – which means that as of now how England votes gives the rest of the UK the government England wants, irrespective of how the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish vote. Yet of late, England as a substitute for the UK has become increasingly evident. This is not just
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
Taking Back Control: The Rise of People Power in Scotland Gerry HassanSunday National, January 12th 2020 Rallies and marches are an intrinsic part of politics the world over. Throughout history the politics of protesting and marching has made an impact and on occasions truly shaken power. Chartist rallies for democracy in the 19th century, Suffragette protests of the early 20th century, the civil rights marches of the 1960s of Martin Luther King and others, the anti-Vietnam war protests which spanned the globe in the late 1960s; and the anti-Communist rallies across Eastern Europe in 1989 which overthrew rotten
The Long Game of Scotland’s Independence Referendum: 2020 and BeyondGerry HassanSunday National, December 29th 2019 Scotland is on the move. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has requested that the Scottish Parliament be given the legal powers from Westminster to hold a future independence referendum, and has written to Boris Johnson asking him to enter into serious negotiations. The case for a second indyref is based on Scotland voting to remain in the UK, and being told that this was the only way for Scotland to remain in the EU. In 2016, Scotland voted 62:38 to remain in the
Time to Decide: Scottish Labour and the Independence QuestionGerry HassanSunday National, December 22nd 2019 This week reality hit the Labour Party in Scotland. In the aftermath of yet another disastrous election defeat senior figures in the party have decided to question Labour’s long held opposition to an independence referendum, believing they should champion Scotland’s right to self-determination. Paul Sweeney, Monica Lennon and Neil Findlay as well as others have indicated that the party cannot be seen as standing for Westminster minority rule and against the democratic right of the Scottish people. There was a backlash against these pronouncements.
The 2019 election and the End Games of Imperial BritainGerry HassanScottish Review, December 17th 2019 The 2019 UK election campaign had few memorable moments, but despite this the result will have implications for most of us for the rest of our lives. Maybe this is what ugly history looks like. The phrase ‘British politics’ is now a misnomer. There is no real UK-wide politics, rather a distinct four nations politics, and within this all kinds of divisions and cleavages - of young and old; within the working class; in education and housing; and between and within cities, towns
Scottish Labour, Self-Government and the SNPGerry HassanCompass, December 17th 2019 The 2019 UK general election confirmed the divided nature of politics, the demise of British-wide politics and the emergence of a four nation political system. The Tories were elected on a 43.6% UK vote made up through winning England with 47.2%, finishing second in Wales with a respectable 36.1%, while achieving second place in Scotland with 25.1%, losing votes and seats. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland increasingly march to different political beats. This is the third election in a row in which a different party has won
Is Britain Broken? And what should we do in this election and beyond?Gerry HassanSunday National, December 8th 2019 The United Kingdom is not a happy place at the moment. This has been a strange, unsatisfying election campaign. People feel ignored and distrustful of politicians. But more than that, they don’t feel that they own what passes for democracy. This has a longer tail than this election. A host of factors have contributed to the current state of Britain. There is the UK’s struggle to find a global role post-Empire. The dependency on the so called ‘special relationship’ with