The UK has failed but we have to address Scottish shortcomingsGerry HassanNewsnet Scotland, April 26th 2014 The Scottish independence debate is about many things. It is about the state of modern Scotland and its different possible futures. But it is also about the condition of the UK, its multiple crises and how these impact north of the border. The state of the United Kingdom is one of the main drivers of the Scottish debate. It has become an accepted fact that the UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world, ranked fourth in a
The Rise of a Very Different Nation: The Emergence of ‘the Third Scotland’Gerry HassanThe Guardian, April 23rd 2014 The Scottish independence referendum has in the past few months become more alive and interesting. The polls have narrowed markedly and what was previously seen by many on the pro-union side as a mere formality has become a real competitive contest. Such a swift transformation has left most of the British political classes and media struggling to catch up with events. But it has also left large parts of pro-union Scotland feeling bewildered and disorientated at the pace of change.
Scotland’s Historic Year and the Zeal of the Missionary MenGerry HassanScottish Review, February 12th 2014 This is Scotland’s great date with destiny. The biggest moment in 300 years of history. So how are we doing versus the hype and expectation? There is an echo chamber in large parts of public life which so far most of the Yes/No debate has amplified. There is the trench warfare of various tribal positions and the numerous one-way conversations with people talking past one another. And just as problematically, in some of the radical shades of opinion and institutional Scotland, there is
Why the Politics of Hope not Optimism are the Future Gerry HassanThe Scotsman, January 4th 2014 One of the great myths of modern life is the power of optimism. Optimism, so the argument goes, can get you far. It can make you a winner, change individual life circumstances, make people rich or help them battle out of poverty. In the world of politics and campaigning, optimism is seen by many as the key particularly in American Presidential elections – such as Ronald Reagan in 1984 (‘It’s morning again in America’), and Barack Obama in 2008 (‘Yes We Can’)
The continuing relevance of solidarity and classGerry HassanThe Scotsman, November 16th 2013 Scotland has been informed by the experiences and memories of working class life and culture since the time of the industrial revolution. A majority of Scots see themselves as working class and more people do now than over a generation ago in 1979. In a strange turn of affairs, being working class post-crash is all the rage nowadays. It might not be the sixties when being working class was associated with the age of meritocracy and tearing down the old elites, but change is in
Changin ScotlandScotland’s alternative festival of ideas, culture and politicsFriday November 1st-Sunday November 3rd Newbattle Abbey College, by Dalkeith This November Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart are at Newbattle Abbey College just south of Edinburgh for a weekend on how to do social change, activism and campaigning in a different way! This weekend will be a departure in feel, style and setting – and is facilitated and led by Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert of the Centre for Artistic Activism who are based at New York University. This will be a participatory weekend bringing together community politics with