The world comes to Glasgow: Time to Think and Act Big
The world comes to Glasgow: Time to Think and Act Big Gerry Hassan Sunday National, 31 October 2021 Glasgow can do big things. It has revelled in being an international host city – from the most memorable European Cup finals to European City of Culture 1990 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The city’s sense of swagger, ambition and constant reinvention has sustained it through good times and bad, and aided it through difficult periods such as post-war deindustrialisation and the Thatcher era. But alongside that, the city has been constantly battered by external forces and had huge change imposed on
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Glasgow on the Edge
Glasgow on the Edge Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, April 28th 2021 Glasgow is a great city with a proud history, traditions, cultures and a rich record of invention, industry and radicalism. There are of course many different Glasgows within the city’s boundaries – and often reality jars with how the city likes to see and think of itself. One key example is the consistent conservatism and high-handed bureaucracy of Glasgow City Council in a city that prides itself on its commitment to radicalism. Too often though down the years the city’s municipalism has been characterised by the exact opposite
The rise and fall of civil society in Scotland
The rise and fall of civil society in Scotland Gerry Hassan Scottish 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
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The march of centralisation is evident in Scotland and must be stopped
The march of centralisation is evident in Scotland and must be stopped Gerry Hassan Scottish 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
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2018 will be the Year of Dundee but whose Dundee will it be?
2018 will be the Year of Dundee but whose Dundee will it be? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, February 20th 2018 2018 will be the Year of Dundee. There is excitement and expectation in the city. After years in the doldrums, Dundee has now been punching above its weight for over a decade. It is not just the anticipation of the V&A’s public opening on September 15th. The city has been picking up international attention and plaudits as variously ‘Scotland’s coolest city’ (Wall Street Journal), the ‘coolest in Scotland’ and undergoing a ‘renaissance’ (Condé Nast Traveller), ‘Britain’s coolest city’ (GQ magazine),
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Glasgow’s Success is Key to Scotland’s Success
Glasgow’s Success is Key to Scotland’s Success Gerry Hassan Sunday Mail, May 29th 2016 Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest city. It may only contain 606,340 people in its council boundaries, but the Greater Glasgow conurbation is double that - at 1.2 million. Glasgow is one of the drivers of the Scottish economy and society: a place of great wealth, enterprise, jobs and culture. But it is also characterised by staggering degrees and levels of poverty, inequality and disadvantage. This isn’t anything remotely new and has been the case since the city experienced rapid industrialisation from the early 1800s, but it limits
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Dundee: City of Discovery and the West Dunbartonshire Question
Dundee: City of Discovery and the West Dunbartonshire Question Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, April 13th 2016 Dundee, Scotland’s fourth city is on the move. It is often forgotten about or even patronised by those in the Central Belt - ‘it is a place I have only passed through’ is a regular refrain I have heard over the years – and is still seen by many, as my astute Dundonian Auntie Betty observes, as a ‘Cinderella city’. In reality contemporary Dundee is a hive of energy, optimism and purpose. The V&A is coming, Malmaison is already making a mark, and there
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Who will make the big, bold decisions if Nicola won’t?
Who will make the big, bold decisions if Nicola won’t? Gerry Hassan Sunday 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
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Scotland’s Democratic Revolution is Long Overdue
Scotland’s Democratic Revolution is Long Overdue Gerry Hassan The Scotsman, September 15th 2012 Scottish devolution was always going to produce centralisation, such as the Procurement Reform Bill along with single police and fire forces, and at the same time the rhetoric of change seen in the current Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill. It is over a year since the publication of the Christie Commission and as financial circumstances tighten, never has the time been more ripe for radical reform. One approach is already on offer: the English marketisation route beloved by Andrew Lansley when he was at health; an alternative
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What is the story of Scotland’s biggest city and who will tell it?
What is the story of Scotland’s biggest city and who will tell it? Gerry Hassan The Scotsman, April 14th 2012 The forthcoming local elections are reduced in most of their coverage to their impact on UK and Scottish politics. Most attention is focused on the tragi-comedy and pantomime of Boris versus Ken, with even the plethora of local referendums on Mayors across some of England’s cities concerned with what happens to this or that Labour MP. The only other place that gets a serious look in is the battle for Glasgow, between Labour and SNP for control of
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