Kezia Dugdale and the Jungle that is the Scottish Labour ‘Family’Gerry HassanScottish Review, November 22nd 2017 The big story of the last few days in certain quarters hasn’t been Zimbabwe, allegations of child sexploitation in Govanhill on Glasgow’s Southside, the saving of BiFab, or the election of Richard Leonard as Scottish Labour’s ninth leader. And not even Alex Salmond’s weekly programme on ‘Russia Today’. Instead our airwaves, papers and social media have been obsessed with news that Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour’s outgoing leader, will appear in the TV reality show ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’.
Scottish Labour after Dugdale and what comes next?Gerry HassanScottish Review, August 30th 2017 Scottish Labour used to offer certainty. It had its differences and divisions, but it was in the business of running Scotland, dominating local government and town halls, and was concerned with administration, holding office and doing practical things. That seems a long time ago. Where did it all go wrong for Scottish Labour? The resignation of Kezia Dugdale means the party has gone through a staggering eight leaders in eighteen years, and will by the end of this year have a ninth. Scottish Labour’s neverending
Does the appeal of Corbyn in Scotland hold the keys to Downing Street?Gerry HassanThe Guardian Comment, August 28th 2017 Jeremy Corbyn has been causing waves in Scotland, as he has been across the entire UK. A five-day visit has seen him get lots of coverage and in places crowds, while annoying his political opponents. It wasn’t always so. Pre-election Corbyn had written Scotland off as hostile and unfriendly territory. Now it is back in play – after six Labour gains in June from the SNP, along with a small rise in their vote - all against everyone’s expectations.
The Limits of the Ruth Davidson Show Gerry HassanScottish Review, June 21st 2017 These are times of change. An election that shocked. Parties in crisis. And a world which never seems to stop in terms of news, surprises and tragedy. Scotland isn’t immune to this. But one take as we come up for two weeks after the election has been that the Tories are back and that this is all due to the appeal of Ruth Davidson. And then there is the secondary story of Scottish Labour showing that it isn’t dead, and has possibly even come off
The End of An Era: Goodbye to the 1980s and the Age of the Imperial SNPGerry HassanSunday Mail, May 8th 2016 Last week’s election marked the end of a historic era - a Scotland defined by the explosion and aftermath of the independence referendum. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have been given a mandate of sorts – not the kind they were looking for or expecting. It is much more conditional, while still tinged with respect. The SNP won but their expectations about a landslide got the better of them. Sturgeon tried to play it both ways on
The Scottish Revolution that isn’t quite what people expectedGerry HassanMay 6th 2016 The Scottish election was a foregone conclusion. Everything was settled we were told. But it hasn’t quite turned out that way. A third SNP term, but without the expected overall majority that the Nationalists and polls expected. A Tory revival beyond expectations. And a Labour nightmare implosion which makes it difficult to see a way back. Decent results for the Greens and Lib Dems. All of this will throw up big questions about politics, power and legitimacy. Nicola Sturgeon has talked about ‘a clear and unequivocal
Who will make the big, bold decisions if Nicola won’t?Gerry HassanSunday Mail, March 6th 2016 These are supposedly exciting times in the broad sweep of Scottish history. There’s the epic spectacle of the referendum; a union questioned and nearly broken; and an upsurge of political engagement, activism and hopes. Yet, sometimes the predominant story of any period belies much of what it is going on. Take the art of government and making decisions as an example. How local government is paid for might sound arcane and boring, but it is one that politicians have long been wary of
Labour’s Taxing Problems: The Party is fighting for its very existenceGerry HassanSunday Mail, February 7th 2016 This week Scottish Labour made a move on tax. Is it a daring or desperate move? It broke with the party’s position since the Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999 not to propose any tax increases. At the same time, as the SNP retained its stratospheric poll ratings for the May elections, the Tories drew level with Labour for second place, while Labour issued their regional list candidates with an obvious lack of ‘new blood’ or talent. With the Scottish Parliament
Let’s Talk about Tax if we don’t want to be Safety First ScotlandGerry HassanSunday Mail, December 20th 2015 This was a significant week for the Scottish Government and Scottish politics. John Swinney presented his first ever budget since Scotland had been given limited income tax powers which allowed variety up or down by up to 10p. That he choose not to do so is significant. Swinney’s ninth budget came against the backdrop of a decade of real terms cuts by the Tories which we are only half way through. Against this backdrop and a Scottish election next year
If Independence is a State of Mind then we have to fundamentally changeGerry HassanSunday Mail, November 8th 2015 Years ago the dream was that the Scottish Parliament would usher in a new politics. It was going to be different from adversarial Westminster – consensual, caring, thoughtful, leading to better debates and laws. Much of this was wish-fulfillment. There has always been mutual scorn between Labour and SNP – aided by the fetishisation of tiny differences, given they agree on so much. But in recent years all of this seems to have got worse. And the last week in