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Posts Tagged ‘Scottish National Party’

Why Boris Johnson cannot say no forever

Gerry Hassan

Sunday 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 it.

Many feel that these sentiments resonate down through the years to the present. They feel that Scotland is trapped and that democracy is being denigrated. All of this raises the questions: what do we do after Boris Johnson has said no? Can he really go on indefinitely saying no? And how should the Scottish Government and wider independence movement respond?

Johnson’s defiant stand follows on from two years of Theresa May saying ‘now is not the time’. The latter was obviously playing for time: a hope that something would somehow turn up which would change events north of the border. Read the rest of this entry »

Taking Back Control: The Rise of People Power in Scotland

Gerry Hassan

Sunday 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 Stalinist dictatorships. All these show the potential of people power to aid change – including regime change.

Recent Scottish and UK politics cannot match the above drama and history. But we are still living in an UK political environment affected by the deceits of the Iraq war and the anger of the anti-war protests of 2003. In Scotland the anti-poll tax demos of 1989-90 contributed to the tax being seen as illegitimate and defeated; while the Edinburgh pro-home rule gathering of December 1992 as a backdrop to the EU summit in the city highlighted and internationalised the cause of self-government to dramatic effect.

Present day Scotland now witnesses regular marches undertaken by pro-independence forces, many organised by the umbrella organisation: All Under One Banner (AUOB) – the body behind yesterday’s march in Glasgow. Read the rest of this entry »

The 2019 election and the End Games of Imperial Britain

Gerry Hassan

Scottish 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 and rural areas.

A stark contrast is the different UK and Scottish mandates. Boris Johnson’s Tories were elected with 43.6% of the vote, 365 seats and an overall majority of 80. This is the highest Tory vote since 1979 and first overall working majority since 1987. Caveats should be made. For all the media hype of Johnson’s appeal to former Labour voters, he and his government remained throughout the campaign hugely unpopular by historic standards – with Johnson as unpopular as John Major was in the 1997 Labour landslide. Read the rest of this entry »

Scottish Labour, Self-Government and the SNP

Gerry Hassan

Compass, 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 each of the four nations.

The SNP have been the dominant party in Scotland since 2007 and at Westminster since 2015 – having won three Scottish Parliament elections and three Westminster elections in a row. In this election, the party won 45% of the vote, its second highest vote at a Westminster contest. It won 48 seats – taking seven from the Conservatives, six from Labour – reducing it to the sole one held by Iain Murray, and one from the Lib Dems, taking the scalp of Jo Swinson, while losing Fife North East. Read the rest of this entry »

Daring to be Different: Scotland’s politics and culture of independence

Gerry Hassan

Sunday National, December 15th 2019

Scotland after the fourth Tory election victory in a row is never a happy place.

But in 1992 it felt desolate, soul-destroying and potentially hopeless with no sign of an exit route. Whereas in 2019, and for all the horrors of facing a Tory Government elected with a sizeable working majority, it does feel very different. That is because of the existence of the Scottish Parliament, the politics of its centre-left majority, and the prospect of an escape hatch via independence.

2019 seems more substantial as a Scottish result than 2015. That was a high watermark and called ‘a tsunami’ at the time. This seems much deeper, considered and sustainable – confirmation if needed that Scotland marches to a different beat.

The SNP have now won three Westminster elections in a row. The party won 45% of the vote, its second highest vote ever at a Westminster contest. It won 48 seats – taking seven from the Conservatives, six from Labour – reducing them to the sole Iain Murray, and one from the Lib Dems in taking the scalp of Jo Swinson, while losing Fife North East.

With success comes new expectations, challenges and pressures and it is clear that the SNP official line which, over the past five years post-2014 has often seemed about management, control and not quite being sure what to do with the energies and passions of independent supporters, will have to adapt to new circumstances, shaped by winning even more emphatically. Read the rest of this entry »

The People’s Flag and the Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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