We need a Spirit of Independence to shape the Scotland of the FutureGerry HassanBella Caledonia, September 19th 2016 No one needs reminding that Sunday represented the second anniversary of the indyref. It was a significant watershed: a passing of time from being in the shadow of the 2014 vote to looking to the future. If that’s true, then an awful lot of attitudes are fairly entrenched. While that’s true of both pro-union and independence opinion, it belies the forces of change to more ruthlessly assess, be honest about failings and foibles, and change and adapt to be successful.
Armageddon Days are Here Again: Ulsterification and the Potential of DIY ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, May 11th 2016 Language, words and how people communicate matter. Yet, many would agree that much of the conduct of politics and politicians - and even public life in Scotland and the UK – falls short and leaves a lot to be desired. There is a lack of straight-talking and honesty, and over-use of worn out phrases and expressions, along with attempts to close off debates by caricaturing and stereotyping opponents and their arguments. This week David Cameron decided to invoke, in relation to
Scotland, the Clash of Two Nationalisms and ‘the Children of the Echo’Gerry Hassan New Statesman, April 7th 2015 Scotland has always had a reputation for tempestuous disagreements – for fighting and flyting. Power, passion, tribalism and men staying in pubs for long hours drinking and insulting each other are long-standing notions. Last Saturday I went to Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre to see David Hare’s ‘The Absence of War’ set in the run-up to Neil Kinnock’s ill-fated campaign in the 1992 general election. Watching it in the turmoil of the current election campaign, and on the day of the ‘Daily
The disunited Kingdom and the confusion in Britain's political elitesGerry HassanOpen Democracy, April 5th 2015 Scotland is still making the news. The tartan tsunami that is the SNP surge shows little to no sign of abating as election day approaches. Beyond Scotland’s shores the UK and international media are making frequent references to the debate north of the border. Strangely some of this coverage – mostly in London based outlets – is even more ill-informed and inaccurate than was seen during the indyref. This is itself no mean feat. Then most neutral and pro-union opinion thought No would win.
Time for a Future Scotland of Head and Heart: A Challenge to Independence and the Union Gerry HassanSunday Mail, March 22nd 2015 Scotland for many at the moment feels an exciting place. But for others there is a sense of dismay and confusion. The latter is particularly evident in pro-union opinion. This week, ‘The Times’ commentator Magnus Linklater agreed with William McIlvanney’s recent revision of L.P. Hartley’s ‘the past is a foreign country’, referencing Scotland - ‘when you get to my age the present is a foreign country’. Linklater agreed. He noted falling oil prices, the economic balance
George Robertson and the Scots’ Crisis of UnionismGerry HassanScottish Review, April 16th 2014 Something seems to be seriously wrong in the pro-union campaign, ‘Better Together’. They may still be ahead in the polls, but the gap has narrowed significantly. Two years of dire warnings about the perils of ‘separatism’ and ‘tearing Scotland out the United Kingdom’ have only exposed the threadbare, tetchy character of the pro-union argument so far. In November last year ‘The Economist’ declared the referendum won for the union; now it reflects on the ‘teflon’ qualities of Scottish nationalism, and the incessant ‘pessimism’ of the
Sceptical Scotland needs to be listened to and respectedGerry HassanScottish Review, April 9th 2014 There are many Scotlands – generational, by social background, interests, opinions and beliefs. One Scotland that tends to get overlooked is the thoughtful, but sceptical part of our nation – not Yes but not completely No – who look on with bewilderment and an element of confusion at much of what passes for public debate. We owe it to ourselves to reach out and to understand this Scotland. Refrains heard recently from this group include, ‘When will this be over’ and ‘When will it
The Big Question: Who ‘Lost’ Scotland?Gerry HassanScottish Review, March 12th 2014 The independence debate is a product of Scotland changing over decades and generations. Subsequently, this debate has also accelerated and abetted change, challenging old assumptions and throwing light on parts of our public life never previously thoroughly examined. This transformation will continue whatever the result. One big observation, which needs to be stated, is that whatever the referendum result independence has already won. And Scotland has already been ‘lost’ – a point understood by some of the more thoughtful pro-union observers such as Alex Massie and James
The Battle for Britain and Why Alex Salmond and Independence Has Already WonGerry HassanOpen Democracy, February 7th 2014 This year is witnessing several battles for Britain – of numerous anniversaries of past military triumphs, of the Scottish independence referendum, and the rising tide of the Tory Party’s continued obsession with Europe. All of these are inter-related in the long-term, almost existential, crisis of what Britain is, what is it for, what kind of society and values it represents, and what kind of future it offers its people. This tumultuous moment we now find ourselves in is one with
Unionists, come out and declare your ‘nationalism’Gerry HassanThe Scotsman, August 10th 2013 The story is familiar: there is a pesky, partisan, immature nationalism out and about influencing our body politic. This is the account of Scottish nationalism put forward by a range of commentators and public figures. Yet it could as easily be articulated about the ideas of unionism because unionism is at its heart a form of nationalism - British state nationalism. Scottish nationalism has its faults and limitations. It is cautious, conservative and shaped by the characteristics of the society from which it was born. It