The 2019 election and the End Games of Imperial Britain
The 2019 election and the End Games of Imperial Britain Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, December 17th 2019 The 2019 UK election campaign had few memorable moments, but despite this the result will have implications for most of us for the rest of our lives. Maybe this is what ugly history looks like. The phrase ‘British politics’ is now a misnomer. There is no real UK-wide politics, rather a distinct four nations politics, and within this all kinds of divisions and cleavages - of young and old; within the working class; in education and housing; and between and within cities, towns
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Scottish Labour, Self-Government and the SNP
Scottish Labour, Self-Government and the SNP Gerry Hassan Compass, December 17th 2019 The 2019 UK general election confirmed the divided nature of politics, the demise of British-wide politics and the emergence of a four nation political system. The Tories were elected on a 43.6% UK vote made up through winning England with 47.2%, finishing second in Wales with a respectable 36.1%, while achieving second place in Scotland with 25.1%, losing votes and seats. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland increasingly march to different political beats. This is the third election in a row in which a different party has won
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Daring to be Different: Scotland’s politics and culture of independence
Daring to be Different: Scotland’s politics and culture of independence Gerry Hassan Sunday National, December 15th 2019 Scotland after the fourth Tory election victory in a row is never a happy place. But in 1992 it felt desolate, soul-destroying and potentially hopeless with no sign of an exit route. Whereas in 2019, and for all the horrors of facing a Tory Government elected with a sizeable working majority, it does feel very different. That is because of the existence of the Scottish Parliament, the politics of its centre-left majority, and the prospect of an escape hatch via independence. 2019 seems
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Isn’t it time we got serious about democracy?
Isn’t it time we got serious about democracy? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, December 12th 2019 Democracy is not in good health in the UK or across most of the developed world. The UK election has not been, putting it mildly, an edifying spectacle or healthy clash of ideas and interests. Instead, it has signalled something deeply wrong in the democratic process – something that the political classes do not seem to understand needs to fundamentally change. This election has not felt owned by people. Rather it has felt like something done to voters by others. This malaise is evident
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Is Britain Broken? And what should we do in this election and beyond?
Is Britain Broken? And what should we do in this election and beyond? Gerry Hassan Sunday National, December 8th 2019 The United Kingdom is not a happy place at the moment. This has been a strange, unsatisfying election campaign. People feel ignored and distrustful of politicians. But more than that, they don’t feel that they own what passes for democracy. This has a longer tail than this election. A host of factors have contributed to the current state of Britain. There is the UK’s struggle to find a global role post-Empire. The dependency on the so called ‘special relationship’ with
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Democracy isn’t working: Can it be fixed?
Democracy isn’t working: Can it be fixed? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, December 4th 2019 Britain likes to claim to be the inventor of democracy, and England to assume the mantle of being ‘the mother of Parliaments’. These are national myths - leaving aside that the oldest national legislature in the world is the Icelandic Parliament. The Whig story of democracy has been one of the most prominent interpretations of British and English public life and traditions. It is one which has been told and retold by enlightened and less enlightened sections of the British establishment. It has also been uncritically
The Trouble with the BBC and its view of Britain
The Trouble with the BBC and its view of Britain Gerry Hassan Sunday National, December 1st 2019 The BBC is one of the defining institutions of the UK for both supporters and detractors. Increasingly the BBC is not in a good place. It is not having a good election. This follows on from criticism of its coverage of the 2014 indyref and 2016 Brexit vote. On top of this the BBC finds itself under fire from every political direction - Corbynistas, Scottish independence supporters and right-wing Conservatives. The media landscape the BBC sits in is profoundly changing. This is now
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Class still defines and disfigures Britain and Scotland
Class still defines and disfigures Britain and Scotland Gerry Hassan Sunday National, November 24th 2019 Class still matters and defines much of Britain and Scotland. It shapes life chances, educational opportunities, work advancement and careers, health, life expectancy, culture, politics - and who makes and does not make the key decisions in society. Dr. Fiona Hill, the British-born US public servant, spoke this week at the Trump impeachment hearings about being born in Bishop Auckland in the north of England, saying: ‘This country [the US] offered me opportunities I would never have had in England. I grew up poor with
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Jeremy Corbyn, Labour and Scottish Independence
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour and Scottish Independence Gerry Hassan Sunday National, November 17th 2019 This week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s trip to Scotland made the headlines - and not for positive reasons. Corbyn’s position in less than 24 hours changed more than once on independence. First, he shifted from his previous position of not having an independence referendum in the ‘early years’ of a Labour Government, indicating that a vote would not take place in ‘the first term’ of an administration. Then when this was seen as the significant shift it was, he rowed back and returned to the first position,
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Conventional wisdom is no guide to the future in an age of turmoil and surprise
Conventional wisdom is no guide to the future in an age of turmoil and surprise Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, November 13th 2019 UK general elections are never about one single subject even when politicians try to define them as such. Ted Heath’s ‘Who governs Britain?’ election of February 1974 became about the state of the country, and Winston Churchill’s belief after the war in Europe ended in 1945 that he would be elected by a grateful electorate turned out to be illusive as voters instead looked to the future. Similarly this election will not be about just one issue
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