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Posts Tagged ‘Young People’

Making the Debate on More Scottish Powers Real

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Mail, July 5th 2015

Another week has seen more turbulence and uncertainty across Europe, north Africa and the Middle East. The unprecedented Greek vote on European Union intransigence will, whatever its outcome, have huge continental implications.

In this frenetic period, what have Scottish politics been dominated by, since the May general election? From nearly every corner and political persuasion – from the SNP to Labour, Tories, Lib Dems and Greens – the incessant talk has been of ‘more powers’ and whether the Smith Commission and ‘the Vow’ is being implemented in full, watered down, or even worse, betrayed.

Full Fiscal Autonomy (FFA) is impenetrable to most people. It involves huge and contested sums of monies. It is about projections into the future. In a culture and politics, where most people are confused by the difference between ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’, and are unsure what ‘austerity’ means, that isn’t surprising. Read the rest of this entry »

The Voices of Tomorrow’s Scotland: A Challenge to All Our Politicians

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, June 15th 2013

For once young people have become central to the Scottish political debate due to the Scottish Government’ giving 16-17 year olds the vote in the September 2014 independence poll.

Rarely do we hear directly and in detail from young people which is why I was enthusiastic to participate this week in the National Museums Scotland conference in Edinburgh bringing together over 300 pupils from more than 20 state schools from Glasgow and Coatbridge to Biggar and Inverkeithing and further afield, to discuss in a non-partisan way the future of Scotland.

These young people were aged 14-17. Most will have a vote next year, though not all will with some missing the eligibility cut-off by a couple of days. Most are positive about having a vote and plan to use it. And it was a fascinating, revealing day which challenged many of the ingrained assumptions we all have about Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »

From ‘Generation Self’ to ‘the Saltire Generation’

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, March 16th 2013

Scotland is to embrace giving 16-17 year olds the vote in next year’s independence referendum.

This is a powerful statement of intent of Scotland wanting to do something different, and enfranchise young people in the debate on Scotland’s future.

Yet it leaves important questions unanswered. How different are young people from the rest of society? What political motivations dominate a generation who grew up as children after Scotland last qualified for an international football tournament – the World Cup of 1998? And more seriously, who began to make sense of the world to the backdrop of 9/11, the Iraq war, and ‘war on terror’? Read the rest of this entry »

How Do We Connect with the ‘Lost Generation’?

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, November 26th 2011

The economic storm clouds are gathering and looking increasingly foreboding across Britain: rising unemployment, low to non-existent economic growth, rising debt levels and record youth unemployment.

The political ping-pong of Westminster and the Scottish Parliament seems nearly completely irrelevant to much of this showing a debate which is mostly dispiriting and irrelevant to the big economic questions.

We have to look seriously at the true nature of youth unemployment in the UK and across Europe. In the UK youth unemployment for those aged between 16-24 years is 21.9%; in Spain it is 45%, Greece 42.9%, Ireland 29.8%. The UK has 1.1 million young people not in education, employment or training (the so-called NEETs). Across the European Union 5.3 million young people are out of work, while overall 23 million in the EU are out of work. Read the rest of this entry »

The Age of Responsibility

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, August 13th 2011

As the burning embers fizzle out and the streets and cities of England return to some degree of normalcy, so the inquest begins into the causes and consequences of what we are all now calling ‘the English riots’.

It is clear the losers are those who have chosen to simplify and attempt to make too obvious political capital out of the troubles: Ken Livingstone for one was disowned by many Labour colleagues for jumping on ‘the cuts were to blame’ bandwagon ahead of next year’s London Mayoral contest.

All of our political classes are struggling to find the right words, avoid clichés and connect with the public mood. The simplicities of many on the left and right have jarred even more in these times. The left blaming ‘the cuts’ and falling police numbers, the right a police service neutered by a PC culture, alongside the last Labour Government busting the nation financially.

To some, the young people on the streets are Thatcher’s children, to others Blair’s children. They are neither. They are our children and all of us bear a responsibility. 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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