The State of the Union: Can Unionists reinvent their argument on the UK?Gerry HassanSunday National, March 1st 2020 In recent years the case for the union has been on the defensive - nervous and unsure of its own arguments and the future. It may have won the 2014 referendum, but there has been a rising sense of foreboding in pro-union opinion that the future is being made in the here and now by independence supporters. Such sentiment was one of the reasons behind the gathering last weekend called ‘Our Past, Present and Future’ organised by These Islands, the
Does Boris Johnson’s ‘deal’ pose the end of the Union?Gerry HassanSunday National, October 20th 2019 It has been another tumultuous Brexit week. But this is not the end of Brexit, or even the beginning of the end, but just another staging post in this drawn-out process. Fundamental to the Johnson deal is what is proposed for Northern Ireland. In place of the so called ‘backstop’ the province is instead put in a special place in relation to the rest of the UK and EU. It remains legally in the UK customs territory, while practically remaining in the EU
The death of British conservatism as we have known itGerry HassanScottish Review, September 11th 2019 British conservatism has been one of the most successful political philosophies and political parties the world has ever known. As we speak it is engaged in the latter stages of its thirty year civil war on Europe, which has convulsed the party, bringing it to a state of near self-destruction, abandoning its traditional tenets and debasing constitutional norms that for most of its history have been its raison d’etre. Whatever happens on Brexit in the next few months and years, much will have
We need a Spirit of Independence to shape the Scotland of the FutureGerry HassanBella Caledonia, September 19th 2016 No one needs reminding that Sunday represented the second anniversary of the indyref. It was a significant watershed: a passing of time from being in the shadow of the 2014 vote to looking to the future. If that’s true, then an awful lot of attitudes are fairly entrenched. While that’s true of both pro-union and independence opinion, it belies the forces of change to more ruthlessly assess, be honest about failings and foibles, and change and adapt to be successful.
Armageddon Days are Here Again: Ulsterification and the Potential of DIY ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, May 11th 2016 Language, words and how people communicate matter. Yet, many would agree that much of the conduct of politics and politicians - and even public life in Scotland and the UK – falls short and leaves a lot to be desired. There is a lack of straight-talking and honesty, and over-use of worn out phrases and expressions, along with attempts to close off debates by caricaturing and stereotyping opponents and their arguments. This week David Cameron decided to invoke, in relation to
Scotland, the Clash of Two Nationalisms and ‘the Children of the Echo’Gerry Hassan New Statesman, April 7th 2015 Scotland has always had a reputation for tempestuous disagreements – for fighting and flyting. Power, passion, tribalism and men staying in pubs for long hours drinking and insulting each other are long-standing notions. Last Saturday I went to Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre to see David Hare’s ‘The Absence of War’ set in the run-up to Neil Kinnock’s ill-fated campaign in the 1992 general election. Watching it in the turmoil of the current election campaign, and on the day of the ‘Daily
The disunited Kingdom and the confusion in Britain's political elitesGerry HassanOpen Democracy, April 5th 2015 Scotland is still making the news. The tartan tsunami that is the SNP surge shows little to no sign of abating as election day approaches. Beyond Scotland’s shores the UK and international media are making frequent references to the debate north of the border. Strangely some of this coverage – mostly in London based outlets – is even more ill-informed and inaccurate than was seen during the indyref. This is itself no mean feat. Then most neutral and pro-union opinion thought No would win.
Time for a Future Scotland of Head and Heart: A Challenge to Independence and the Union Gerry HassanSunday Mail, March 22nd 2015 Scotland for many at the moment feels an exciting place. But for others there is a sense of dismay and confusion. The latter is particularly evident in pro-union opinion. This week, ‘The Times’ commentator Magnus Linklater agreed with William McIlvanney’s recent revision of L.P. Hartley’s ‘the past is a foreign country’, referencing Scotland - ‘when you get to my age the present is a foreign country’. Linklater agreed. He noted falling oil prices, the economic balance
George Robertson and the Scots’ Crisis of UnionismGerry HassanScottish Review, April 16th 2014 Something seems to be seriously wrong in the pro-union campaign, ‘Better Together’. They may still be ahead in the polls, but the gap has narrowed significantly. Two years of dire warnings about the perils of ‘separatism’ and ‘tearing Scotland out the United Kingdom’ have only exposed the threadbare, tetchy character of the pro-union argument so far. In November last year ‘The Economist’ declared the referendum won for the union; now it reflects on the ‘teflon’ qualities of Scottish nationalism, and the incessant ‘pessimism’ of the
Sceptical Scotland needs to be listened to and respectedGerry HassanScottish Review, April 9th 2014 There are many Scotlands – generational, by social background, interests, opinions and beliefs. One Scotland that tends to get overlooked is the thoughtful, but sceptical part of our nation – not Yes but not completely No – who look on with bewilderment and an element of confusion at much of what passes for public debate. We owe it to ourselves to reach out and to understand this Scotland. Refrains heard recently from this group include, ‘When will this be over’ and ‘When will it