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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Herald’

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 »

The Scottish Question has not yet been answered:

The SNP, Independence and the Future of Our Nation

Sunday Herald, August 20th 2017

Gerry Hassan

SCOTTISH politics feels, and looks on the surface, becalmed at the moment. This is an age of permanent disruption – of populist movements, protests, anger, indignation, dismay and social division. This shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the politics of the last 40 years across the West: the rise of inequality and insecurity, the grand theft and appropriation of the super-rich. In the 10 years since the financial crash, the fundamentals of finance capitalism haven’t changed, while in the UK, US and elsewhere real-terms living standards have flatlined.

Scotland isn’t an exception. But there has been a growing Scottish autonomy and detachment from the rest of Britain and the direction of British politics. The idea of Britain as a political entity, not a geographical territory, is now in crisis. This means that the idea of independence – beyond the SNP’s cautious version of it – speaks to this wider canvas – of a more autonomous, distinctive Scotland which doesn’t look to Westminster for solutions or the future, whereas unionism, despite its tactical successes in the recent election, has very little positive to offer.

There is even a difference of opinion within the independence movement, not just between the SNP and those of other and no parties. This is between those who want to navigate through this age of uncertainty by emphasising security, stability and solidarity, championing worthy British values from the immediate post-war era. And those who recognise that in this era of instability, independence can only be about embracing change as the best way to articulate the Scotland of the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Time for the SNP and Labour to break with the failed policies of divided Britain

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Herald, May 28th 2017

Until last week this election was one in which nothing seemed to be happening. All of that changed with the horrors of Manchester.

Such atrocities test the fabric of our democracy and civic culture and sadly find some – though thankfully few – wanting.

Theresa May came out saying some of the right words. But we have nearly 1,000 armed troops now on our streets:; a reflection of the huge police cuts she made in her six-year stint as Home Secretary and glaring failures in intelligence and security.

Tory McCarthyite smears will be out in force for the remainder of the election. Things haven’t gone quite to plan – with polls showing their lead slipping and one YouGov poll putting it as narrow as 5%, which would translate on a national swing to a Tory overall majority of a mere two seats. Read the rest of this entry »

Scotland the Bold: Making the Case for a Radical Scotland

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Herald, November 6th 2016

This weekend I attended a Donald Trump campaign rally in New Hampshire. It was a surreal experience – of a Presidential candidate who isn’t a professional politician, who has a limited conventional manifesto, and is running on what amounts to populist instinct and anger.

Win or lose, this offer has resonated with a sizeable audience of dissatisfied people who are looking for change and who believe that Trump rather than Hillary Clinton best provides it. Last week I was at a Clinton-Elizabeth Warren rally – the one where Warren made her ‘nasty women’ speech, and apart from that, there was much less excitement and energy than follows Trump.

Something is clearly wrong with business-as-usual politics. People across the developed world are looking for new advocates – often of a populist and unattractive kind – from Trump to Farage, from Le Pen to Hungary’s Viktor Orbán.

The UK and Scotland isn’t immune to this. The UK faces multiple crises – economic, financial, geo-political. The ‘British economic miracle’ has been shown to be nothing but a mirage, but still hypnotises the establishment. Even more seriously, the Brexit vote undermines British post-war foreign policy, and leaves the country facing its most profound set of international challenges since Munich and appeasement. Read the rest of this entry »

A Revolution is coming to BBC Scotland – let’s seize it and make it happen

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Herald, September 6th 2015

The BBC is one of the key institutions of Scotland and the UK. It arouses passion in many forms: identification, reverence for some of its past glories, fury at current and historic shortcomings. These can come from anywhere on the political spectrum.

In Scotland, many views of the broadcaster have become interwoven with how it covered the independence referendum. No-one really thinks the BBC had a good campaign. This unleashed allegations of bias, demonstrations at the BBC, and a sparring match between Alex Salmond and the BBC’s former political editor Nick Robinson.

All this has left a BBC shaken, stirred, and unsure which way to turn, while a large section of Scotland feels shortchanged and wants reform. To understand and address these feelings we need to see the referendum and its aftermath as part of a much bigger picture.

The BBC and BBC Scotland come from, and to this day are rooted in, a very different UK and Scotland. The BBC’s origins in the 1920s were as a patrician, elite-driven organisation whose motto – “Nation shall speak peace unto nation”, adopted in 1927 – showed that it saw itself as benignly speaking down to the world, at home and abroad, and enlightening it. It was also clear that “the nation” in question was Britain, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland seen as mere regions or outposts. 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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