The European debate begins but what about a debate about Britain?
The European debate begins but what about a debate about Britain? Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, February 21st 2016 After months of rumours the official countdown to the European referendum on June 23rd begins. This is David Cameron’s triumph, the high point of his Premiership, and the beginning of the end for him. Whatever the merits of his ‘deal’, power now and particularly after the vote, irrespective of the result, flows away from him. It is a huge moment for Britain. Its ‘special status’ in Europe has been formally recognised – making explicit something obvious from the moment the UK joined
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The Europe Debate will tell us much about the state of Britain
The Europe Debate will tell us much about the state of Britain Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, January 24th 2016 2016 will be a turbulent year for Britain and the world. One issue will dominate the UK political classes beyond economic and financial worries or anxieties about immigration and security, and that is Europe. Europe will connect with all of the above and more. Cameron’s main impetus is to have a quick referendum, to win it and get on with the rest of his Prime Ministership. It won’t work out that way. To have the referendum relatively soon (meaning before Scottish
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2016: The Year of the UK as a Disunited Kingdom in an Unstable World
2016: The Year of the UK as a Disunited Kingdom in an Unstable World Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, December 27th 2015 ‘The future ain’t what it used to be’ - said American baseball player Yogi Berra. This year saw unpredictability, shocks and upsets. There was the election of a majority Conservative Government which no polls predicted. There was the tartan tsunami which saw the SNP sweep nearly all before it. There was the rise and victory of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, while across the world a whole range of populists, from Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders to Marine
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The Wider Syria Debate: Challenging Britain’s ‘Empire of the Mind’
The Wider Syria Debate: Challenging Britain’s ‘Empire of the Mind’ Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, December 6th 2015 Britain is off to war again. The parliamentary debate did not live up to the billing. Cameron and Corbyn underperformed. Hilary Benn stole the show and headlines. Great rhetorical moment this was not. This wasn’t of the quality of 1939 and the outbreak of World War Two, 1940 and the resignation of Chamberlain as PM, Suez and Anthony Eden comparing the Egyptian leader Nasser to Hitler and Mussolini, or even more recently, the Falklands war, when at the outset Margaret Thatcher’s political
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‘English votes’ is political vandalism and fundamentally changes Britain
‘English Votes’ is political vandalism and fundamentally changes Britain Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, October 25th 2015 This week the United Kingdom profoundly changed in how it does politics, democracy and how Parliament operates. The House of Commons decided by 312 to 270 voters to alter the nature of its composition by differentiating the voting rights of MPs through introducing English votes for English laws. Meaning that – for English-only matters and legislation - Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs will be excluded from a new ‘grand committee’ stage of the bill – which effectively replaces the substantive second reading
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The Appeal and Vision of Tory Britain shouldn’t be underestimated by the left
The Appeal and Vision of Tory Britain shouldn’t be underestimated by the left Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, October 11th 2015 The Tory conference gathered this week in good spirits after unexpectedly winning an overall majority in May, and with all their main UK political opponents in disarray. One rather significant anniversary passed unnoticed this week. This was the 65th anniversary - the day after Cameron’s speech - of Harold Macmillan’s ‘you’ve never had it so good’ election victory in 1959 when the Tories won a third term and overall majority of 100 seats. Britain and Scotland have changed dramatically
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Is Osborne’s Budget the Future or Will His Bubble Burst?
Is Osborne’s Budget the Future of Britain or Will His Bubble Burst? Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, July 12th 2015 For the last fortnight I have been sailing round the northern coast of Norway on holiday – perhaps an appropriate place to view George Osborne’s budget. He clearly thinks that he is on top of the world - the first Tory majority government budget since 1996, his seventh budget, and the second this year, the last only in March. Osborne did many traditional Tory things – cutting inheritance tax and welfare, stole some of Labour’s clothes on a higher national minimum
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A Tale of Two Nations. And Two Leaders
A Tale of Two Nations. And Two Leaders Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, May 10th 2015 We awoke on Friday morning to a very different world. A nearly completely yellow Scotland. A bluer England. And a patchwork Wales. The first majority Tory Government elected since 1992 whilst Scotland passed in one night from Labour dominance to an even more impressive SNP strength. These and more things weren’t meant to happen. David Cameron’s re-election as Prime Minister with a majority has taken many people by surprise. No UK Government sitting for a full term has seen its vote rise since Anthony
We are One Scotland: Anatomy of a Referendum
We are One Scotland: Anatomy of a Referendum Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, September 24th 2014 It was a momentous moment in Scottish and British history. The Scottish independence referendum. It dominated Scottish and British airwaves in the last couple of weeks, and became a huge international story. Nearly every single cliché has been dug up, used and then over-used to exhaustion. What then as the excitement, claim and counter-claim quieten down, is there left to say and do? Actually, there is quite a lot. Let’s talk about the immediate reactions post-vote from the Scottish and British political classes. They both
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Britain is on Borrowed Time: The Future of Scottish Independence
Britain is on Borrowed Time: The Future of Scottish Independence Gerry Hassan Open Democracy, September 19th 2014 Scotland voted No to independence. In answer to the question, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’, 1,617,989 voted Yes (44.7%) and 2,001,926 voted No (55.3%) in a massively impressive turnout of 84.6%: the highest ever anywhere in the UK in post-war times. The result, and campaign, will be rightly mulled over and analysed for years, but in the fast moving aftermath it is important to lay down some thoughts and calm-headed thinking. Scotland has changed and shifted in how it sees itself
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