Border troubles point to the long-term crisis of unionism in Scotland and the UKGerry HassanSunday National, July 5th 2020 Reaching 100 days since the start of the UK lockdown was always going to be a milestone, but in many places it has been marked by a kind of cabin fever irritability and over the top remarks. Boris Johnson attempted to convince voters that he was the inheritor of Roosevelt’s political ambition and wanted a ‘New Deal’ in a speech he made in Dudley - whilst 56 miles away, the residents of Leicester were having to deal with a
Scotland’s future as an independent nation is being created in the here and nowGerry Hassan Sunday National, June 28th 2020 Independence is back in the news and making the news. Truth is it never went away, but last week’s 54:46 poll in this paper set a surge of energy through the Scottish political scene. The British state and government, and Boris Johnson’s serial incompetence and inability to tell the truth in a national crisis of life and death proportions, is making the case for independence. Johnson represents all that most Scots are repulsed by - a posh entitlement
After the Virus: Debating the Big Issues in Society and ScotlandGerry HassanScottish National, June 14th 2020 After COVID-19 what will our society, our lives and our politics look like? How will we return to talking about the big issues and in a way that faces up to the huge challenges in Scotland, the UK and beyond? A brief survey of the landscape we will face is illustrative. At least 64,000 UK citizens are dead from COVID-19. On Neil Ferguson’s assessment at least 25,000 of these deaths were avoidable and could have been prevented by earlier more decisive action
All Across the Globe: The Politics of ProtestGerry HassanSunday National, June 7th 2020 All around the world people are protesting. Black Lives Matter have filled the streets of America. Everywhere from Canada to Australia, New Zealand to Germany, France to England and here in Scotland people are showing their solidarity with those taking a stand after the killing of George Floyd and linking it to their own specifics in a global cause. There has never been a time in recent history when streets, park gates and public spaces across Scotland have been more festooned with home-made signs and
A new economic and social order is being born. We have to make it an egalitarian oneGerry HassanSunday National, May 24th 2020 The economic tsunami engulfing the world is like nothing experienced in our lifetimes. The scale of damage and numbers affected are almost impossible to comprehend; as is the impact on our individual and collective livelihoods, and the future of the global economy, UK and Scotland. The UK economy could contract by a staggering 35% of GDP in the second quarter of this year. Already 2.1 million people are unemployed - the highest rate in 24 years.
The State of the Union: Can Unionists reinvent their argument on the UK?Gerry HassanSunday National, March 1st 2020 In recent years the case for the union has been on the defensive - nervous and unsure of its own arguments and the future. It may have won the 2014 referendum, but there has been a rising sense of foreboding in pro-union opinion that the future is being made in the here and now by independence supporters. Such sentiment was one of the reasons behind the gathering last weekend called ‘Our Past, Present and Future’ organised by These Islands, the
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 End of an Era: The Imperial Era of the SNPGerry Hassan Scottish Review, February 12th 2020 The SNP were once the bright promising future of Scotland but all such periods of political promise come to an end. It isn’t possible to permanently remain the new kids of the block with the passing of time. The resignation of Derek Mackay as Finance Secretary and his subsequent suspension from the SNP came like a bolt out of the blue – shocking everyone in his party, fellow parliamentarians and political opponents, and the media. The SNP stands dominant in Scottish
Why the power of loss and not imagining the future aids populists and demagoguesGerry HassanScottish Review, February 5th 2020 The UK – and with it Scotland – have left the European Union after 47 years. In human terms, this is a substantial length of time - the equivalent of a lifelong adult marriage or relationship, but in that comparison the British political classes and large swathe of public opinion never fully committed themselves to the European project, making the eventual divorce unsurprising. This is a watershed moment for all of us – the 31st of January 2020 being
Scotland after Brexit: What needs to happen to win independence?Gerry HassanSunday National, February 2nd 2020 Leadership isn’t easy. It can be lonely and difficult. But it is not without rewards when you get it right. Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday: ‘leadership is not about giving people easy answers … It is about being honest with people.’ In the aftermath of Sturgeon’s announcement hours before Scotland was dragged out of the EU against our democratic wishes – many felt a plethora of different emotions about Scotland’s future, independence, and the role of the Scottish Government and SNP. Some felt