Whatever happened to the springtime for democracy?Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 18th 2018 Three decades ago democracy was the future and carrying all before it. The Soviet bloc was collapsing, the South African apartheid regime was crumbling - and all across South America brutal dictatorships were being replaced by democracies (however imperfect) symbolised by the fall of the Pinochet junta. Today the state of the world could not look more different and feel less optimistic. There are still many more democracies than there even a decade ago, but somehow the springtime for people power promised three decades ago has
What are politicians for today? In Defence of a Different PoliticsGerry HassanScottish Review, March 9th 2016 For all my adult life, I have defended the potential of politics and politicians to aid a better world. I have defended politics as the means to bring about change, for people to come together collectively and exercise power, and to aid the art of living together well. I have defended politicians as both a necessary evil - not all being the same and tarred with the same brush – and as people undertaking an activity in which many try their best.
Scotland isn’t really this Divided Nation. The Importance of Detail, Dissent and Deeds Gerry HassanSunday Mail, January 3rd 2016 One of the recurring stories of Scotland in the referendum and after has been to say that politics and debate have become bitterly polarised and divided. This sense of a divided Scotland links into history: that once upon a time we couldn’t surmount our own differences: Highland/Lowland, West/East, Glasgow/Edinburgh, Protestant/Catholic. This had a feeling of powerlessness – pathologising differences to the extent they became disabling. These were identities found everywhere in the developed world but in Scotland we were
After the Spirit of 2014Gerry HassanScottish Review, October 1st 2014 It is now coming up for two weeks tomorrow since Scotland’s independence referendum. The world moves on. The UK media’s attention has switched back to its usual tropes: Westminster parlour games and internal Tory and Labour machinations. The UK Parliament was recalled, not as some expected it would be, to deal with the backwater of a Scottish Yes vote to independence, but the predictable act of the UK providing cover for US lead action, yet again, in Iraq. There was dignity and solemnity in the Commons debate, showing