My Favourite Books of the Year 2021Gerry HassanScottish Review, 15 December 2021 2021 has been a dramatic year - defined by COVID and the incompetence and deceit of Boris Johnson’s Tory administration. For myself, the year was divided between the first eight months on Glasgow’s Southside followed by moving to Kirkcudbright for the rest of the year and beyond. That entailed packing eighty plus boxes of books, then unpacking them and putting them on newly built shelves – as well as thinning them out. Unconnected to all this (so it is claimed!), within two months of moving
Scottish independence needs to offer “a shining city on a hill”Gerry HassanThe National, 14 December 2021 Scottish politics feels once again stuck in a Groundhog Day. We are only seven months from the endorsement of the SNP in the May elections, and only weeks from the English political commentariat being convinced that Boris Johnson was a sure-fire winner who would continue to carry all before him. Things that seem secure can suddenly change and crumble. Yet there is currently low-level trench warfare in Scottish politics as the forces of the union and independence psyche each other out, waiting
‘No Sex Please we are Scottish’: The rise of the Scottish miserabilistsGerry HassanScottish Review, 8 December 2021 These are times of huge challenge – globally, in the UK and Scotland – and an age where we need to get serious, mobilise and prioritise given the scale of problems humanity and the planet faces. Too often the big problems of our age struggle to get time and attention. These include the climate emergency and the urgent need to rethink economic growth. There is the march of AI and how work and employment will change in the near-future. There is
Scotland’s progressive politics needs some championingGerry HassanThe National, 30 November 2021 Scotland’s progressive values have defined much of our politics - the first 20 years of devolution, majority opposition to Thatcherism, and the independence debate. And yet for all their wide support they need attention, nurturing, and championing. On Saturday Plaid Cymru voted to endorse a deal with Welsh Labour for a co-operation agreement in government covering 46 areas including free school meals for primary children, free childcare, and tackling the second homes crisis. Adam Price, Plaid leader, said that this renewed “trust in a new democracy with
Seven years of Nicola Sturgeon and resolving the tensions between party and movementGerry HassanThe National, 23 November 2021 Nicola Sturgeon has been First Minister and SNP leader for seven years. This formidable achievement is part of a bigger picture of the SNP’s emergence as the dominant party, the rise of independence, and the relationship of the Nationalists to the wider independence movement. This is an appropriate time for reflection and assessment not just of her leadership but of the wider context in which it sits. Specifically of the SNP as a party and its record in office, and
The Keir Starmer-Brian Cox exchange tells us how Scottish independence needs to be reframedGerry HassanThe National, 9 November 2021 The past week has been one of the worst in British public life for decades as the scale of corruption of the UK Government and the Tories has been further revealed. This should be a good time for Labour and Keir Starmer – the latter appearing on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show after a period in isolation due to COVID. Instead, Starmer gave an interview where his main takeaway was that the UK should shift focus from “Get Brexit Done”
A Short Cut Out and Keep Guide to Scotland for COP26 Gerry HassanScottish Review, 3 November 2021 Welcome to Scotland. This is your chance to contribute to saving the planet – or at least to making it a slightly more hospitable place. While undertaking your serious work in Glasgow here is your concise cut out and keep guide to some essential facts about life in Scotland.
Scotland is a nation. It was once an independent nation. It might be an independent nation in the future. And it might not.
The world comes to Glasgow: Time to Think and Act BigGerry HassanSunday 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
The case for the union is not in a good way but that doesn’t mean independence can be complacentGerry HassanThe National, 12 October 2021 The pro-union argument has been playing hard ball of late but underneath the posturing is a profound lack of substance and coherence. One minute the Downing Street union unit is promising this and that; the next it is disbanded; the next we have “muscular unionism” followed by “wheesht on independence” – to the backdrop of Boris Johnson’s bravado boosterism. Johnson’s speech minus the gags and unending optimism had little to say on Scotland. We
Is this really the best Tory case for the union?Gerry HassanBella Caledonia, 10 October 2021 Strength in Union: The Case for the United Kingdom, edited by Andrew Bowie, Centre for Policy Studies. The Tory Party are seeking a coherent strategy to deal with Scotland and the threat of independence – one that twin-tracks between looking at iconic infrastructure projects they can fund and wrap a Union Jack around, and the ‘wheesht on independence’ mindset – that entails not talking about the issue to avoid making it more real. If the latter is more than a passing Downing