The Missing Ingredient in Scottish Labour: LeadershipGerry HassanThe Scotsman, September 17th 2011 The Scottish Labour Party might be in a terrible place at the moment, but it believes that it is slowly beginning to dig itself out of the mess it is in. It has started to address the inadequacies of its structures through the Jim Murphy-Sarah Boyack review – which seems so far more cautious, than transformative. Politics isn’t just about structure, but more tangible issues such as culture, purpose and the issue of leadership. Labour politicians touched on this during and after the election when
The New Market Man of History and the McCliche View of ScotlandGerry HassanOpen Democracy, April 7th 2011 The Scottish Parliament elections are if not in full swing, then reaching a certain tempo. This week has seen the launch of the Tory, Lib Dem and Labour manifestos, next week the SNP, and even the notorious Londoncentric media and political classes have twigged that there something is going in Scotland which they don’t like or understand. Andrew Neil is a talented broadcaster and ‘The Daily Politics’ and ‘This Week’ both good TV and must watches for the Westminster classes.
Devolution, Unionism and Independence: Nick Pearce RepliesNick PearceOpen Democracy, February 16th 2011 Dear Gerry, Once again, thanks for your reply. I found it very stimulating. Here are some points by way of response: 1. A small clarification: by “unionist project” I simply meant that, in fact and law, Scotland’s Parliament remains within the United Kingdom, and was designed as devolution of power within the union. The devolution project is unionist, therefore, even if its parents had a range of perspectives, including nationalist ones. 2. I think if you want to claim that the “primary account of devolution” was
A Scottish and British Conversation: A Reply to Nick PearceGerry HassanOpen Democracy. February 16th 2011 Dear Nick, Many thanks for your thoughtful response. 1. Devolution was not just a ‘unionist project’. That is much too simple – just as it was never a Labour project on its own. The midwives of the Scottish Parliament are many: a Labour story, a nationalist (or accurately a Nationalist and nationalist) story, and the account of what for better words we can call ‘civic Scotland’. Its parentage and its point is a pluralist, contested one. 2. The primary account of devolution became
Nick Pearce Responds on Scotland, Labour and Devolution Nick PearceOpen Democracy, February 15th 2011 Gerry Hassan has written an insightful critique of a blog I posted last week following a trip to Edinburgh. He generously credits the IPPR with being unique amongst think-tanks in taking an interest in the world beyond Westminster through our series of publications, Devolution in Practice, and the creation of IPPR North. But he takes me to task for some of my observations and conclusions on Scottish politics. I defer to Gerry’s greater knowledge and experience of these issues; mine is a view informed
Whatever happened to Scotland’s Salon Society?Gerry HassanThe Scotsman, February 5th 2011 One of the early hopes of the Scottish Parliament and the era of ‘new politics’ was that Scotland would awaken to a new age of engagement which would produce a more informed, inclusive politics. A lot of this was wish-fulfilment; certainly much of the talk of ‘new politics’ and an emboldened civil society was just that. Yet at the same time this feeling tapped a sense that Scotland could sustain a kind of salon society – a modern day harking back to the Enlightenment vision of Edinburgh.
Back to the Future, Or Not: The Strange Rise of Scottish LabourGerry HassanOpen Democracy, January 19th 2011 Scottish politics is away to change and not change – with according to the most recent TNS-BMRC poll – Scotland getting itself into a frenzy of excitement at the anticipation of Iain Gray’s Scottish Labour returning to office (1). The figures are worth highlighting: Labour is polling 49% of the constituency vote and 47% of the regional vote: enough to see it get an impressive 69 seats in the 129 seat Parliament and thus an overall majority. What is going on