The politics of populism in Scotland and the challenge of Alex Salmond and George Galloway
The politics of populism in Scotland and the challenge of Alex Salmond and George Galloway Gerry Hassan Sunday National, April 11th 2021 Once upon a time politics were simpler. Parties stood unambiguously on the left and right; politics was about class and the economy, and there was no such thing as “identity politics”. This is of course make-believe as politics was never so completely clear cut. But in recent decades this has become even more messy and unpredictable, with existing parties open to new challenges across the developed world. Today one of the big stories of politics is the rise
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The Worldwide War over Truth and Free Speech
The Worldwide War over Truth and Free Speech Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, December 2nd 2020 The battle for truth is all around us. Fake news. Fake media. The argument over free speech and freedom to say what we like and think, alongside controversies over ‘cancel culture’ and ‘safe spaces’. Meanwhile an American President who has lost an election still, one month after polling day, refuses to accept the result. He has called the contest ‘rigged’ and ‘stolen’ – a denialism that 77% of Trump voters agree with according to a Monmouth University survey. This is the world all around us.
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The Politics of Hate and why it has to be defeated – from the US to Scotland
The Politics of Hate and why it has to be defeated – from the US to Scotland Gerry Hassan Sunday National, November 1st 2020 We live in divisive, contentious times where the noise and claims and counter-claims in public life seem to never stop. Many people yearn for this age of rage and hatred to stop, and for a return to supposedly calmer, more enlightened times. This can be seen in part of the logic of support for Democrat Joe Biden against Donald Trump in next week’s US Presidential election. However, there will be no return to a so-called ‘normal’
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Why the power of loss and not imagining the future aids populists and demagogues
Why the power of loss and not imagining the future aids populists and demagogues Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, February 5th 2020 The UK – and with it Scotland – have left the European Union after 47 years. In human terms, this is a substantial length of time - the equivalent of a lifelong adult marriage or relationship, but in that comparison the British political classes and large swathe of public opinion never fully committed themselves to the European project, making the eventual divorce unsurprising. This is a watershed moment for all of us – the 31st of January 2020 being
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Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban: This is not an Age of Fascism Yet
Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban: This is not an Age of Fascism Yet Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, October 31st 2018 A spectre is haunting the modern world: fascism. All around the world people are talking about and identifying fascists. Newspaper headlines abound in the US such as ‘Is Donald Trump a fascist?’, ‘How fascist is Donald Trump?’ and even more emphatically, ‘Donald Trump is actually a fascist’: all from mainstream liberal papers. The threat of fascism is now a worldwide phenomenon. We have just seen in the Brazil the victory of ‘strongman’ Jair Bolsonaro; the Hungarian authoritarianism of Viktor Orban; the rise
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How do we have public conversations in the age of rage?
How do we have public conversations in the age of rage? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, August 15th 2018 Has the world of politics and public life ever been so messed up? And at a time of global confusion, disruption and challenge when intelligent politics is more needed than ever before. British politics in the last week has seen stormy arguments over the rights and wrongs of Tory Boris Johnson and his comments about Muslim women wearing the burka. At the same time, Labour’s discomfort and problems over anti-semitism, which I wrote about last week, refuses to go away, continuing to
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How Trump Shook America and the World: My Letter from America
How Trump Shook America and the World: My Letter from America Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, November 10th 2016 America has shaken itself and the world. Something seismic has happened which has compounded experts, the political classes, and observers all round the world. But in this year of revolt and surprises - from Leicester City and the Cubs to more seriously Brexit and Trump - the question is why should we be surprised anymore? I spent the last three weeks in the States, attending rallies, speaking and listening to people, and trying to understand what was going on. It was clear
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Fear of a Trump Planet
Fear of a Trump Planet Gerry Hassan Open Democracy, November 4th 2016 Could Donald Trump actually pull off the biggest election shock in post-war US politics? One week ago the US Presidential election was meant to be over. Now the weekend before the election things look very different. For the past week the Clinton campaign has hit stormy waters, aided by FBI Director James Comey, while Trump has in the last stages found a momentum and even belatedly embraced a degree of message discipline. On Friday I went to a Trump rally in the palatial surroundings of Atkinson Country Club,
After Cameron, Boris and Corbyn: What will Tomorrow’s Leaders Look Like?
After Cameron, Boris and Corbyn: What will Tomorrow’s Leaders Look Like? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, July 14th 2016 Leadership in the modern world is cited as the answer to nearly every issue, problem or area of life – from business, to turning round failing organisations, to the success of football clubs. In the last month, political leadership has been all over the news. There has been David Cameron’s rather hasty resignation; the coronation of Theresa May as Prime Minister; and Boris Johnson’s positioning for power, withdrawal from the Tory leadership contest, and then subsequent appointment as Foreign Secretary in May’s
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