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
The lessons and warning from New LabourGerry HassanThe National, 26 October 2021 The spectre of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and New Labour may seem a long time ago given the mess the UK is in, but their period of dominance still casts a long shadow over British politics and offers lessons and warnings for the present. The new BBC five-part series: “Blair and Brown: The New Labour Revolution” is a major political documentary with all the main players - including Blair and Brown, Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson - present and correct. This is “big beast”, Westminster-focused, insider
Labour’s problems are about much more than Keir Starmer Gerry Hassan The National, 28 September 2021 Labour meet in Brighton this week for another conference in opposition and in the wilderness, with clear evidence of being collectively bewildered and confused. Not only that but Keir Starmer’s leadership is openly being questioned across the party – not just from the Corbynite left but on the centre and right from where he has drawn most support until now. No one seems sure what Starmer stands for, or even if he has the real skills needed to be a leader. Yet
A Tour Inside Gordon Brown’s BritainGerry HassanScottish Review, November 25th 2020 Gordon Brown in recent times has increasingly recognised that something is wrong, even rotten, in the state of Britain, regularly talking about ‘a dysfunctional UK’. This is part of Brown’s continual manoeuvres post-2014 to have a say in the future of Britain’s constitutional arrangements and to make the case that the status quo increasingly ill-serves the nations and regions of the UK. Thus it comes as no surprise that he has taken pen to paper and written a substantial New Statesman essay that makes his case of
What comes after Richard Leonard for Scottish Labour? Time for an Independent Labour Party Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 9th 2020 Scottish Labour once seemed to have an ironclad grip on Scottish politics, winning election after election, and seeing off opponents whether it was Tories, SNP or the occasional Lib Dem. For two political generations - from 1959 to 2007 - Labour won every single nationwide election for Westminster in seats, and from 1964 in votes; and in the first two Scottish Parliament elections to 2007. It became defined as the party of power, the insider class and hence,
History in the Making: The End of the Era of Neo-liberalism – in the UK and GloballyGerry HassanScottish Review, November 27th 2019 This, we are continually told, is meant to be a seismic, even historic election - usually referring to the fundamental implications of Brexit. What is seldom addressed is that this election also signifies far-reaching change in another aspect of politics. This is the confirmation of the jettisoning of the economic assumptions which have defined UK politics for the past 40 years - sometimes described as neo-liberalism. This shift is a continuation and reinforcement of a change
Gordon Brown: The Ghost in the MachineGerry HassanScottish Review, November 14th 2017 Gordon Brown, like him or loath him, was a titan of a figure in British politics for close on two decades. Along now comes Brown’s attempt at putting his case and a call for understanding and redemption in his autobiography - ‘My Life, Our Times’. It comes with much baggage for all who will read and encounter it, including from the author himself who goes through the pretense that he had to be reluctantly dragged into writing it, explaining himself: ‘For me, being conspicuously demonstrative is
Scotland the Bold or Scotland the Timid? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, November 22nd 2016 Is Scotland really special? Are we a land that has bucked the retreat of the centre-left and social democracy, and proven itself immune to the right-wing populism sweeping the West from Brexit to Trump? Significant parts of Scottish opinion are always looking for any reason to jump on a wha’s like us exceptionalism: one which invokes our morality, values and commitment to social justice, alongside our collective opposition to all things evil from Thatcherism and Blairism to neo-liberalism. Truth of course is rather different.
The Labour Party: that pillar of the British constitution doesn’t have a right to existGerry HassanSunday Mail, July 25th 2016 Politics requires a credible opposition that holds government to account. One that offers the prospect of an alternative government – but now, and for the foreseeable future, Scotland and the UK is without one. This is due to the state of Labour. The last year has been one of the most disastrous in the party’s history. A second election defeat, Scotland lost - and then Brexit. And after last year’s defeat the party curled up even more in
Nine Months in the Death of Labour: A Response to the CorbynistasGerry HassanScottish Review, June 28th 2016 These are surprising times in Britain and its politics. Cameron gone. England and Wales dragging the UK out of the EU. The England football team defeated by Iceland. And somehow Jeremy Corbyn was meant to be the antidote to these political times. He was different from the typical 21st century politician, a throwback to the days when all male left-wingers were like underpaid sociology lecturers - badly dressed and presented, rambling but affectionate and with their heart in the right place.