Boris Johnson and the Tory attack on Devolution is about more than JohnsonGerry HassanSunday National, November 22nd 2020 Thirty years ago today Margaret Thatcher resigned as UK Prime Minister and yet still casts a shadow over British politics and the Tories. Fast forward to this week, with Boris Johnson revealing his true feelings about Scotland and devolution – saying that ‘devolution has been a disaster north of the border’ and that it was ‘Tony Blair’s biggest mistake’ - a bit of a tall statement given the Iraq war over which Johnson called for Blair’s impeachment. Cue lots of
Let’s Talk about Power in ScotlandGerry HassanSunday National, October 25th 2020 Britain is broken. Its state and government is callous, indifferent and incapable of looking after the interests of the people. And even more so, the British establishment – old and new – only cares about itself and its cronies. As Britain is engulfed in multiple crises, we cannot just sit back and idly watch and assume that we are different and morally better here. We have to prove that this is so, and embody it in our actions. The now well-used term ‘British establishment’ slipped into popular
The fate of Scottish football is about much more than footballGerry HassanScottish Review, September 30th 2020 Scottish football is about more than who makes the most noise whether it be ten in a row - or stopping ten in a row - or the obsessions of the top league and clubs. Scottish football’s deep roots reach much further than the dominant media narratives. They provide an insight into wider society, with the state of the game reflecting how healthy and vibrant Scotland is – and how we are being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic. Scotland has 42 senior
After the COVID recession: The age of conservatism is coming to endGerry Hassan Sunday National, August 16th 2020 This week the scale of damage done by COVID-19 to the UK economy was confirmed as much more serious than previously thought. The drop in GDP for the second quarter of 2020 was 20.4% - the highest on record for a quarter - contributing to a 22.1% fall in the first six months of the year, plus a significant rise in the claimant count to 2.7 million people and a dramatic fall in employment. But this is nothing compared to
The rise and fall of civil society in ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, August 12th 2020 Last year in the US in the town of Williamstown, Massachusetts I got into a conversation with a complete stranger who followed politics avidly. I naturally asked him about the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, to which he responded that even more important than defeating Trump was the vibrancy and health of civil society. It struck me as a perceptive remark in seeing past the debris of the Trump Presidency and looking at something deeper, more long-term and centred on the health of
We are living through history and we are the history makersGerry HassanSunday National, July 12th 2020 The UK Government is convulsed in multiple crises - COVID19 and the related coming economic storm - while Brexit still remains unfinished business with a No Deal Brexit still highly likely by the end of this year. If this were not enough, the UK is committing self-harm at the bequest of a government both rudderless and dogmatic. It is treating large parts of England like distant provinces while remembering Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland only when they cause trouble or to keep
My Scotland and Glasgow during lockdownGerry HassanScottish Review, June 24th 2020 The past three months have been different to anything any of us have previously experienced. We have all lived our lives differently; changed our patterns of behaviour, both work and personal; and been affected by the absence of people who we would normally regularly see and meet, as well as friends, family and people we know becoming ill. Alongside this other big stuff has happened. There has been the staggering incompetence of the UK Government which has contributed to the avoidable deaths of thousands of UK citizens.
After the Virus: Debating the Big Issues in Society and ScotlandGerry HassanScottish National, June 14th 2020 After COVID-19 what will our society, our lives and our politics look like? How will we return to talking about the big issues and in a way that faces up to the huge challenges in Scotland, the UK and beyond? A brief survey of the landscape we will face is illustrative. At least 64,000 UK citizens are dead from COVID-19. On Neil Ferguson’s assessment at least 25,000 of these deaths were avoidable and could have been prevented by earlier more decisive action
The march of centralisation is evident in Scotland and must be stopped Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 3rd 2020 The entire coronavirus pandemic has been shaped by the incompetence of Boris Johnson and the UK Government. At nearly every stage they have seemed almost wilfully too slow to act, learn or admit mistakes. One underlying problem has been the degree to which the UK Government has acted centralising English decisions. It has been unwilling to encourage or support localism, decentralism and civic leadership across the country. Instead, it has advanced a one size fits all approach for England, bypassing
The long descent to Dominic Cummings and what comes after?Gerry HassanScottish Review, May 27th 2020 The story of Dominic Cummings has been everywhere in the past few days. Meanwhile the actual total of UK excess dead from COVID-19 is according to the Financial Times at a cautious figure of 64,000 and will shortly exceed the number of British citizens killed in the Second World War (67,200). The real scandal is much more alarming than Cummings, and goes way beyond his breaking the lockdown in making a 500 mile round trip to County Durham with his wife and child.