The lessons and warning from New Labour
The lessons and warning from New Labour Gerry Hassan The National, 26 October 2021 The spectre of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and New Labour may seem a long time ago given the mess the UK is in, but their period of dominance still casts a long shadow over British politics and offers lessons and warnings for the present. The new BBC five-part series: “Blair and Brown: The New Labour Revolution” is a major political documentary with all the main players - including Blair and Brown, Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson - present and correct. This is “big beast”, Westminster-focused, insider
BBC Scotland: Time to move beyond Defend or Demolish to Democratising
BBC Scotland: Time to move beyond Defend or Demolish to Democratising Gerry Hassan The National, 19 October 2021 BBC Scotland has long fascinated and agitated a large part of the country, independence supporters in particular. It is inarguable that the BBC’s shortcomings do more than irk one political constituency. Rather, BBC Scotland falls between several different stools trying not to alienate people, and in doing so fails to passionately serve any compelling version of Scotland. In recent days the death of veteran broadcaster Colin Bell has caused much retrospection on the state of BBC Scotland, specifically on how things
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How do we hold power to account in Scotland?
How do we hold power to account in Scotland? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, July 7th 2021 Scotland has a rich tradition of celebrating its difference and distinctiveness, seeing in its autonomy a kind of semi-independence that is exhibited in civil society, the public sphere and public life. Scotland’s public sphere is one of the main ways we communicate, define ourselves, relate to others in public, and hold power and institutions to account - hence contributing to the democratic and political process. This contributes to an ‘independence of the Scottish mind’ – a distinctive outlook which has evolved and separated from
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Lennon at 80 and the enduring relationship of John and Paul
Lennon at 80 and the enduring relationship of John and Paul Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, October 7th 2020 John Lennon would have been 80 this Friday. To add to the poignancy, two months later is the 40th anniversary of 8th December 1940 when Lennon was killed in front of his home, the Dakota Building, New York City, aged 40. Lennon’s life, talent and genius are wrapped in mythology and iconic images and stories. He was central to the uniqueness of the Beatles; his partnership with Paul McCartney redefined and reset popular music and culture and, after they broke up, he
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The aftermath of the Alex Salmond trial and Kirsty Wark’s take on Scotland
The aftermath of the Alex Salmond trial and Kirsty Wark's take on Scotland Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, August 19th 2020 Alex Salmond is one of the towering figures of post-war Scottish politics - a politician who dramatically changed the country and his party’s fortunes, taking it into office in 2007, winning majority government in 2011, and taking Scotland close to independence in the 2014 referendum. He has always been a divisive figure: loved by some, hated by others. This division has become increasingly bitter in the aftermath of the trial in March of this year in which he was charged
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Trouble at the BBC: Time to Demolish, Defend or Democratise?
Trouble at the BBC: Time to Demolish, Defend or Democratise? Gerry Hassan Sunday National, February 23rd 2020 The BBC is in crisis. Boris Johnson’s Downing Street are floating the scrapping of the licence fee. This when the BBC need to appoint a new Director General after Tony Hall unexpectedly resigned in January against a backdrop of impending negotiations with the government over charter renewal and the funding of the corporation. On top of this BBC Scotland’s head Donalda MacKinnon has resigned after just three years in the post when the organisation faces future uncertainty, pressures and scrutiny from all sides.
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The Trouble with the BBC and its view of Britain
The Trouble with the BBC and its view of Britain Gerry Hassan Sunday National, December 1st 2019 The BBC is one of the defining institutions of the UK for both supporters and detractors. Increasingly the BBC is not in a good place. It is not having a good election. This follows on from criticism of its coverage of the 2014 indyref and 2016 Brexit vote. On top of this the BBC finds itself under fire from every political direction - Corbynistas, Scottish independence supporters and right-wing Conservatives. The media landscape the BBC sits in is profoundly changing. This is now
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The Birth of the New: BBC Scotland Finally Takes Off
The Birth of the New: BBC Scotland Finally Takes Off Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, 27 February 2019 BBC Scotland’s new channel launched on Sunday at 7pm. There was a small amount of expectation, a countdown, and even nervousness. Sitting, waiting for it to begin, in those last few seconds I reflected how seldom a new TV channel is born on old-fashioned telly. The last I remember being Channel 4 in the 1980s, with Five not at the outset or since really registering. Then it came on air. The first night opened with the Chvrches and had ‘A Night at the
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Sorry seems to be the hardest word in Scotland
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
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The Last Days of the Old BBC Scotland
The Last Days of the Old BBC Scotland Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, January 20th 2016 These are turbulent times for the BBC. The patrician age of benign liberal paternalism and enlightened elites knowing what is best for us, unquestioned and unchallenged, have long since passed. We have now swung to the other end of the spectrum. Not a day seems to go by without the BBC being criticised from somewhere. The ‘Daily Mail’, ‘Daily Telegraph’ and Murdoch press conduct a never-ending war undermining the Beeb’s status - questioning the legitimacy of the licence fee and what they see as its