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Posts Tagged ‘SNP’

Independence has to be about more than an indyref. It is a state of mind

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Herald, May 13th 2018

Scotland and the UK feel in hiatus and stasis – awaiting the unfurling and unraveling of Brexit.

Some people are marching. Last Saturday’s gathering was significant given the lack of SNP and Scottish Green support. It shows the energy, but also frustration and impatience, in parts of independence opinion. But it also shows the limits of such a politics. Any movement that marches under banners like ‘Tory Scum Out’, and with Tommy Sheridan on the platform, isn’t out to win floating voters.

Four years after the 2014 referendum, independence faces difficult choices and challenges, none of which are answered by a politics of simple assertion, hectoring fainthearts or dealing in abstracts. Similarly, the absence of the SNP leadership facilitating a public debate about the strategic choices of independence has produced a huge vacuum, which some people have filled with passion, while others have become slowly disillusioned.

No one quite knows what Nicola Sturgeon is up to. Is she playing a longer game of inviting the UK Government to self-implode over Brexit? Is she slowly letting the political heat out of the Scottish situation to regroup at a latter stage. Maybe she is making it up as she goes along, but the absence of candour and honest reflection means that many are left thrashing about in the dark. Read the rest of this entry »

Sorry seems to be the hardest word in Scotland

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, May 17th 2017

Power and privilege seldom likes to have to openly reflect on its place in front of others.

Instead, power likes to present its position as a natural state of affairs – to just be, manifesting and imbuing a sense of its own importance. This is how power exerts and expresses itself, from the City of London to senior bankers and the forces of international capitalism.

The same is true of Scotland and in recent years this has been aided by, in significant areas, power being in flux, challenged and even in crisis. This has in places forced it to openly talk about itself and hence its position. Examples of this include Royal Bank of Scotland after the crash, the Catholic Church and its serial scandals, or the implosion of CBI Scotland in the indyref.

Across a number of public institutions a common pattern can be observed about the way power and privilege operate when they are challenged. The three different examples chosen to illustrate this are one traditional force which imploded (Glasgow Rangers FC), one body which has played a central role in society (BBC Scotland), and another which has relatively recently become one of Scotland’s dominant institutions (the SNP). Read the rest of this entry »

The SNP has got us where we are, but the SNP on its own isn’t enough in the future

Gerry Hassan

Bella Caledonia, October 12th 2016

The SNP have played a huge role in getting us to where we are today. They are central to where Scotland goes in the future – but they on their own are not enough.

Without the SNP there is significant doubt that we would ever have got a Scottish Parliament. It is true that Labour legislated for it, but they were first brought back to devolution in the 1970s by the electoral threat of the SNP. Without the SNP there would have been no indyref1, and without them there will be no indyref2.

Therefore Scottish politics owes a great deal of gratitude to the SNP. Just for one second imagine politics over the last 40 years without the SNP. All Scotland would have available to show any dissatisfaction with Westminster and desire for self-government would have been to vote Labour or Lib Dem (with the Greens under FPTP remaining a minuscule force, and without the SNP there being no guarantee Labour reverted to its earlier home rule stance).

All of the above is increasingly important as the SNP prepare to meet for its Annual Conference in Glasgow, but it is also true that the SNP on their own are not enough. And blind loyalty to one party is different from passionate support for ‘the cause’ and, even at times, counter-productive. The SNP contributed hugely to getting us where we are. But they are not enough to take Scotland to the next stage: winning an indyref and making the politics of a new independent state. Read the rest of this entry »

The Coming Scottish Revolution

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, January 22nd 2011

The appeal of the familiar. Or so it seems. Apparently Scots are in their droves returning to Scottish Labour with the latest polls predicting the party could win an overall majority in next May’s election.

There are only two governing parties in this contest: Labour or SNP – either on their own, or in alliance with others, but never each other. What kind of appeal are they going to offer to Scottish voters?

Scottish Labour have learnt the trials of opposition after the wobble of Wendy Alexander’s leadership, going after the SNP and turning into a formidable campaigning machine in by-elections and the UK election.

Labour presents a story of its eight years in office in Holyrood as a world of sunlit uplands: 34,000 apprenticeships, 200,000 children lifted out of poverty, 120 new schools and 2000 more teachers. This begs the question: if it was as good as this how come it didn’t feel like that? And how come the voters kicked out Labour? Read the rest of this entry »

Back to the Future, Or Not: The Strange Rise of Scottish Labour

Gerry Hassan

Open 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 behind these figures? Can they be possibly right? And what happens if they – or something similar – does come about?

First, those figures with Labour on 49% and 47% show the SNP on 33% on both votes. This shows Labour gaining massively since 2007 and the SNP holding the vote which saw them win the elections and become for the first time the Scottish Government. The most recent movement in the polls since August 2010 shows Labour up in both votes, and the SNP up one point in the first and three in the second. Read the rest of this entry »

Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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