The Legacy of Donald Dewar and Scotland’s Stories: Past, Present and FutureGerry HassanSunday National, October 11th 2020 Twenty years ago today Donald Dewar tragically died at the age of 63. His loss was an incalculable one to the fledgling Scottish Parliament and to Scottish Labour: the first institution eventually finding its feet, while the second lost its way. Dewar was Scotland’s first ever First Minister who presided over the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. He reasserted Labour’s devolution commitment when others doubted it and, in the months following the 1997 Labour election victory as Scottish Secretary of State,
Donald Dewar and the Lost Story of DevolutionGerry HassanBella Caledonia, October 8th 2020 A significant and poignant moment in Scotland’s recent history comes up this weekend on Sunday, with the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of the first ever First Minister Donald Dewar at the age of 63. Donald Dewar was a profoundly decent person, imbued with an older sense of public mission and morality, who often seemed out of kilter with the times - drawing from a deep reservoir of how the middle and professional classes used to behave. His death robbed the Scottish Parliament of
Labour troubles, the Independence Question and the future of BritainGerry HassanSunday National, September 27th 2020 Labour conference met this week but in the new online world of Zoom the only cut through was Keir Starmer’s keynote address along with his TV response to Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 broadcast. It is now nine months since the Tories won a landslide election victory. But the world has been turned upside down since last December. Boris Johnson was sold as a great communicator and campaigner, but as UK Prime Minister has proven inept, unfocused, untrustworthy and amateurish. Labour matters in UK politics.
What comes after Richard Leonard for Scottish Labour? Time for an Independent Labour Party Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 9th 2020 Scottish Labour once seemed to have an ironclad grip on Scottish politics, winning election after election, and seeing off opponents whether it was Tories, SNP or the occasional Lib Dem. For two political generations - from 1959 to 2007 - Labour won every single nationwide election for Westminster in seats, and from 1964 in votes; and in the first two Scottish Parliament elections to 2007. It became defined as the party of power, the insider class and hence,
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
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.
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
What has Labour got to say as the British establishment collapses?Gerry HassanSunday National, September 22nd 2019 The Labour Party meets for its annual conference at Brighton this weekend, confident about its future prospects. The reality is that the state of Labour is not good. The party are polling between 21% and 28% in the polls - with the two pollsters who called 2017 most accurately putting it on 21% and 24%, and in one they are third place behind the Lib Dems. This puts Labour on course to lose a massive six million votes from 2017 to the
What should we talk about to make Scotland a place we are proud to call home?Gerry HassanScottish Review, August 7th 2019 There is only one subject on the lips of many this week: independence and Michael Ashcroft’s 52:48 poll. This is the Scotland of 2019 - twenty years of the Scottish Parliament, five years since the indyref, nine years of Tory-led government, and with less than 90 days to the prospect of a ‘No Deal Brexit’. We have also had twelve years of SNP Government. Once upon a time its admirers talked of its competence and sure touch,
The Scottish Parliament at 20: Are we really ‘Children of the Devolution’?Gerry HassanBella Caledonia, July 1st 2019 It was twenty years ago today that the Scottish Parliament officially opened. Donald Dewar spoke eloquently, the Queen attended, and there was a small amount of pomp and circumstance in Edinburgh Old Town. Time for reflection and an assessment - cue Allan Little’s ‘Children of the Devolution’ shown on the new BBC Scotland channel, and subsequently BBC Scotland (the last episode shown this Tuesday on the former, and Wednesday on the latter). This offers an appraisal of the past twenty years: