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
We are not at war yet we are increasingly living in a warfare stateGerry HassanScottish Review, April 15th 2020 In the past week the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to be taken into hospital as a result of COVID-19, moved to intensive care with his life in the balance, and released after his condition improved on Easter Sunday. This has been a testing time for the UK government with the Prime Minister temporarily incapacitated, and for a period out of the picture, with Dominic Raab pushed into the limelight - as have been the internal workings of
Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Blair and Keir Starmer and when was Britain’s Golden Age?Gerry HassanScottish Review, April 8th 2020 Every society has a golden age – often mythical, but with some relationship to events and reality. In Britain, this is often continually referenced as World War Two, ‘the Blitz spirit’ and Dunkirk – all much in evidence in recent weeks in the face of coronavirus. Other stories are available but get less coverage and mileage. One is that of ‘the swinging sixties’ and the Beatles; another is the idea (floated by the New Economics Foundation) that 1976 was the
Gordon Jackson, Trump and the Politics of an Aging SocietyGerry HassanScottish Review, April 1st 20201. This weekend it was revealed that Gordon Jackson QC, Alex Salmond’s defence counsel, was filmed on the Edinburgh-Glasgow train talking in an indiscreet and unprofessional manner when his client’s trial was ongoing. Jackson did not paint his client in an edifying light, stating that he was ‘a sex pest’ who was ‘a nasty person to work for’, ‘a nightmare’ and ‘bully’ as well as ‘inappropriate, [an] arsehole, [and] stupid’. Even worse than this, Jackson – a longstanding figure in the Scottish legal