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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Mail’

The Named Persons legislation and who stands up for liberty in Scotland?

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 31st 2016

The summer of 2016 is proving dramatic and historic. Brexit, David Cameron resignation as PM, Theresa May becoming the new PM, Jeremy Corbyn’s travails.

That’s just Britain. Across the world there is Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, violent and terrorist attacks in Germany and France, Putin flexing his muscles, while a belligerent China shows its power in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has been playing an astute game on Brexit. This week Nicola Sturgeon spoke in a way no pro-European UK politician has yet managed. She was empathic, thoughtful, and forward-looking, while calmly making the case that this mess and crisis is not of Scotland’s making.

It then comes as a bit of a bolt and bringing back down to earth that the UK Supreme Court found against the Scottish Government on the Named Persons Act – which would appoint for every child a named person to look after their wellbeing – finding it not unlawful in principle, but in practice, and in particular, in terms of data sharing between public agencies. Read the rest of this entry »

The Labour Party: that pillar of the British constitution doesn’t have a right to exist

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 25th 2016

Politics requires a credible opposition that holds government to account. One that offers the prospect of an alternative government – but now, and for the foreseeable future, Scotland and the UK is without one.

This is due to the state of Labour. The last year has been one of the most disastrous in the party’s history. A second election defeat, Scotland lost – and then Brexit. And after last year’s defeat the party curled up even more in its comfort zone and elected Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn now faces a proper leadership contest against Owen Smith. The party has in two days enlisted 183,541 new members, producing 515,000 card-carrying members. But the party has lost control of who it is, or who its members are.

One big difference between Labour and Tories is that Tories love power and know how to use it. Labour don’t love power and don’t know how to use it. This division between the two parties has always been so. Read the rest of this entry »

A Very British Coup: The rise of Theresa May could see the end of the UK

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 17th 2006

Theresa May became the UK Prime Minister this week – elected on a mandate of 199 Tory MPs in what amounted to a very British coup.

She is only Britain’s second ever woman Prime Minister, following in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher. But in other respects she follows Gordon Brown as the twelfth PM in the last 100 years who has entered Downing Street without a popular mandate.

Jeremy Corbyn is clinging on as Labour leader – aided by his party’s decision to let him on the leadership ballot – irrespective of how few parliamentary colleagues support him. For all the rhetoric of a Blairite coup against him, it is Tories historically who have known how to get rid of failed leaders.

Meanwhile Scotland quietly gets on with a different, more serious politics. It is one nearly entirely bereft of the theatrical politics of Westminster we have seen these last few weeks. Yet, with May coming north to meet Sturgeon, the chasm between the Scottish and UK Governments on EU membership and nationals – as well as Trident – couldn’t be bigger. Read the rest of this entry »

This is the Age of Groupthink Britain and it is increasingly been found out

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 10th 2016

When has British politics ever been in such a state of flux? The Tories, UKIP and English and Welsh Greens in leadership contests; the Labour Party in a series of convulsions from top to bottom; Brexit; and now thirteen years after the UK went to war in Iraq finally comes the publication of Chilcot.

The Tories do know how to utilise a crisis. It is one of the reasons that they are one of the most successful electoral parties in the democratic world.

Labour have never grasped the need in a crisis for decisive action – and currently seem to be stuck in the worst of all worlds. The Labour anti-Corbyn rebels have wounded Jeremy Corbyn, but have failed to depose or force him to resign.

Post-Brexit and in the week of Chilcot, the British political classes have never been more ill-thought of, yet the Tory show goes on as if nothing has changed. ‘Take Back Control’ – the slogan of the Leave campaign – turns out to mean little more than fewer than 150,000 aging members deciding who the next Prime Minister is – Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom. Read the rest of this entry »

Is this the beginning of the end of Britain?

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 3rd 2016

It may not be the beginning of the end of the UK quite yet. But it is the end of British politics – and Britain, as we know it.

The British state faces its biggest geo-political set of challenges in generations. Blair and Iraq, Anthony Eden and Suez pale compared to this in terms of damage to the UK’s reputation, and only Neville Chamberlain and Munich, and Lord North’s loss of the American colonies, are in any way in the same league.

Fifty years of British statecraft towards the EU have been completely blown up, itself part of over two hundred years of how the UK has seen itself in relation to Europe – in attempting to keep the balance and prevent one country from controlling the continent. Now the EU will be left even more to German dominance.

A sizeable minority of Europe led by France want to punish the UK; the majority led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel still hope to do the best deal possible with the British. But there is widespread anger with the usually calm Dutch Prime Minister Mark Ruffe commenting, ‘England has collapsed politically, monetarily, constitutionally and economically.’ And that’s from a friend. Read the rest of this entry »

The People’s Flag and the Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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