Labour troubles, the Independence Question and the future of BritainGerry HassanSunday National, September 27th 2020 Labour conference met this week but in the new online world of Zoom the only cut through was Keir Starmer’s keynote address along with his TV response to Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 broadcast. It is now nine months since the Tories won a landslide election victory. But the world has been turned upside down since last December. Boris Johnson was sold as a great communicator and campaigner, but as UK Prime Minister has proven inept, unfocused, untrustworthy and amateurish. Labour matters in UK politics.
Labour has to stop being ambivalent and tell a convincing story about Britain: its past, present and futureGerry HassanProspect, September 24th 2020 Keir Starmer in his keynote conference address has indicated that he wants to reclaim patriotism as a principle and thread that runs through everything the Labour Party stands for. This on the surface might sound uncontroversial but it isn’t. The Corbynistas had an instinctive opposition to all things patriotic and to many of the traditional symbols and institutions of Britishness. More than this the Conservative Party have long claimed patriotism as their own. And in response
What comes after Richard Leonard for Scottish Labour? Time for an Independent Labour Party Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 9th 2020 Scottish Labour once seemed to have an ironclad grip on Scottish politics, winning election after election, and seeing off opponents whether it was Tories, SNP or the occasional Lib Dem. For two political generations - from 1959 to 2007 - Labour won every single nationwide election for Westminster in seats, and from 1964 in votes; and in the first two Scottish Parliament elections to 2007. It became defined as the party of power, the insider class and hence,
The future of Labour matters to everyone – and to Scottish self-governmentGerry HassanSunday National, January 5th 2020 Nearly a month ago Labour stumbled to one of the worst defeats in its history. Yet the weeks after the calamity of the election of a Boris Johnson government with an overall majority of eighty seats, have seen Labour no further forward in recognising the scale of its reverse or how much it needs to change. This matters – for, despite everything, Labour still matter. They are still by far the principal opposition to the Tories at Westminster and the only
Time to Decide: Scottish Labour and the Independence QuestionGerry HassanSunday National, December 22nd 2019 This week reality hit the Labour Party in Scotland. In the aftermath of yet another disastrous election defeat senior figures in the party have decided to question Labour’s long held opposition to an independence referendum, believing they should champion Scotland’s right to self-determination. Paul Sweeney, Monica Lennon and Neil Findlay as well as others have indicated that the party cannot be seen as standing for Westminster minority rule and against the democratic right of the Scottish people. There was a backlash against these pronouncements.
Scottish Labour, Self-Government and the SNPGerry HassanCompass, December 17th 2019 The 2019 UK general election confirmed the divided nature of politics, the demise of British-wide politics and the emergence of a four nation political system. The Tories were elected on a 43.6% UK vote made up through winning England with 47.2%, finishing second in Wales with a respectable 36.1%, while achieving second place in Scotland with 25.1%, losing votes and seats. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland increasingly march to different political beats. This is the third election in a row in which a different party has won
Daring to be Different: Scotland’s politics and culture of independenceGerry HassanSunday National, December 15th 2019 Scotland after the fourth Tory election victory in a row is never a happy place. But in 1992 it felt desolate, soul-destroying and potentially hopeless with no sign of an exit route. Whereas in 2019, and for all the horrors of facing a Tory Government elected with a sizeable working majority, it does feel very different. That is because of the existence of the Scottish Parliament, the politics of its centre-left majority, and the prospect of an escape hatch via independence. 2019 seems
Is Britain Broken? And what should we do in this election and beyond?Gerry HassanSunday National, December 8th 2019 The United Kingdom is not a happy place at the moment. This has been a strange, unsatisfying election campaign. People feel ignored and distrustful of politicians. But more than that, they don’t feel that they own what passes for democracy. This has a longer tail than this election. A host of factors have contributed to the current state of Britain. There is the UK’s struggle to find a global role post-Empire. The dependency on the so called ‘special relationship’ with
Democracy isn’t working: Can it be fixed?Gerry HassanScottish Review, December 4th 2019 Britain likes to claim to be the inventor of democracy, and England to assume the mantle of being ‘the mother of Parliaments’. These are national myths - leaving aside that the oldest national legislature in the world is the Icelandic Parliament. The Whig story of democracy has been one of the most prominent interpretations of British and English public life and traditions. It is one which has been told and retold by enlightened and less enlightened sections of the British establishment. It has also been uncritically
History in the Making: The End of the Era of Neo-liberalism – in the UK and GloballyGerry HassanScottish Review, November 27th 2019 This, we are continually told, is meant to be a seismic, even historic election - usually referring to the fundamental implications of Brexit. What is seldom addressed is that this election also signifies far-reaching change in another aspect of politics. This is the confirmation of the jettisoning of the economic assumptions which have defined UK politics for the past 40 years - sometimes described as neo-liberalism. This shift is a continuation and reinforcement of a change