My Scotland and Glasgow during lockdownGerry HassanScottish Review, June 24th 2020 The past three months have been different to anything any of us have previously experienced. We have all lived our lives differently; changed our patterns of behaviour, both work and personal; and been affected by the absence of people who we would normally regularly see and meet, as well as friends, family and people we know becoming ill. Alongside this other big stuff has happened. There has been the staggering incompetence of the UK Government which has contributed to the avoidable deaths of thousands of UK citizens.
When music could make the future: The legacy of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 17th 2020 Music is pivotal to what it is to be human. It is part of our universal language and connected to how we live, breathe and at a fundamental level the rhythm of the human heart. A world without music would seem to be missing part of the human spirit – and to an extent the current COVID-19 pandemic seemed like the day the music stopped. Concerts big and small, festivals corporate and local, records shops and many new
The legacy of Empire is not just about the past but about present day Scotland and Britain Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 10th 2020 Black lives matter has become an international issue with street protests, rallies and gatherings across the globe. People have been mobilising, getting animated and becoming visible as they emerge from the shadows of lockdown. In Scotland and the UK home-made slogans and painted posters have appeared tied to railings and hanging from windows, while in Bristol the statue of slave owner Edward Colston was toppled by a crowd and thrown into the harbour. Debates have
The march of centralisation is evident in Scotland and must be stopped Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 3rd 2020 The entire coronavirus pandemic has been shaped by the incompetence of Boris Johnson and the UK Government. At nearly every stage they have seemed almost wilfully too slow to act, learn or admit mistakes. One underlying problem has been the degree to which the UK Government has acted centralising English decisions. It has been unwilling to encourage or support localism, decentralism and civic leadership across the country. Instead, it has advanced a one size fits all approach for England, bypassing
The long descent to Dominic Cummings and what comes after?Gerry HassanScottish Review, May 27th 2020 The story of Dominic Cummings has been everywhere in the past few days. Meanwhile the actual total of UK excess dead from COVID-19 is according to the Financial Times at a cautious figure of 64,000 and will shortly exceed the number of British citizens killed in the Second World War (67,200). The real scandal is much more alarming than Cummings, and goes way beyond his breaking the lockdown in making a 500 mile round trip to County Durham with his wife and child.
Walking through the history of Glasgow and ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, May 20th 2020 The past weeks of lockdown have produced a rich panoply of emotions and feelings that recognise the different times we are living in. Over the past eight weeks I have used my daily walk to understand better my surrounding streets and area, and to take photos of things I find memorable; then writing a short chronicle and picking one set of images each day. I have lived on Glasgow’s Southside for 28 years – first in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, then Moray Place, Strathbungo. In that
Is Boris Johnson the most incompetent UK Prime Minister in living memory?Gerry HassanScottish Review, May 13th 2020 This is a time of national and international crisis. Governments and leaders need to step up to the plate; be honest, open and adaptive, and treat their citizens as adults who know these are difficult times and that inevitably mistakes will be made. In this environment Boris Johnson and the UK Government have had numerous advantages: newly elected in a December election with a comfortable majority of 80, a Prime Minister known for his ability to communicate, and with a relative
How we should and shouldn’t commemorate VE DayGerry HassanScottish Review, May 6th 2020 This coming Friday May 8th is an important moment in the history of all of us - the 75th anniversary of the defeat of fascism and Nazism in Europe in World War Two. It is important to mark, commemorate and remember those who gave their lives in the defeat of fascism - and to learn from what happened. This means not allowing the anniversary to be taken over by unchallenged official accounts that feed into the endless British obsession with 1939-45. The rise and defeat
Where is the wisdom and ability to ask big questions in our present crisis?Gerry HassanScottish Review, April 29th 2020 The world is united for once in sadness, tragedy and death. Everywhere there is crisis and anxiety, and in most places a lack of political leadership and absence of candour in public debate, despite the best intentions of the scientific community. In these trying times a degree of honesty about difficult choices facing government, society, businesses, families and individuals would be a good starting point. As would be more of a sense of wisdom and insight in public debate.
Where is the political leadership in this time of crisis in the UK?Gerry HassanScottish Review, April 22nd 2020 The news this weekend was dominated by controversy over Boris Johnson’s absentee leadership in the midst of the early stages of the coronavirus before his recent illness. Johnson missed five Cobra meetings, had a mini-holiday and delayed for 38 crucial days the UK giving the virus the importance and priority it deserved. Exemplary investigative journalism from the ‘Sunday Times’ has revealed a government asleep at the wheel, the diversionary cost of Brexit over recent years, and the cumulative effect of