Gerry Hassan is one of those few people aspiring to, and maybe even capable of, seeing events as they unfold within the context of history. He attempts to do just that in his new book, Scotland the Bold, which was published only last week. At his book launch at Blackwell’s last Thursday, however, he did not just explain the modern shifts of Scotland with which his book is concerned, but also deliberated over President-Elect Trump’s rise to power, Brexit, Scottish independence movements, and contextualised current political news within broader events occurring in society.
Hassan refuted many explanatory theories for the shocking election outcomes in past weeks and months, repeatedly asking the audience to consider the bigger picture, realising the complexity behind many of these situations. Scotland the Bold expands on this sort of discussion: explaining how modern Scotland’s political climate has developed; detailing what the recent events mean for Scottish society; and proposing ways to confront some of the upcoming challenges that Scotland will have to face.
During the talk, Hassan revealed many nuanced takes he has on various issues. The fervent debate of a second referendum on many a Scots’ tongues was inevitably going to be discussed. Nevertheless, Hassan proposes a new way to consider the modern Scottish dream: as something separate from but related to the referendum, something already started, continuously developing and imprecise. He claims that there is more to independence than “full parliamentary powers”, and that the realisation of greater independence for Scotland can have a disruptive impact, allowing for important changes to be made within society.
After the talk, Hassan answered a few questions for The Student about the role students will have in shaping Scotland’s future. Particularly, he spoke about “the great fissure in Western society” that is generational politics: “Young people are more . . . comfortable with a kind of politics and organisation that is a bit more fluid.” He suggests that a kind of “DIY Politics” and “energy” is playing an increasing role in society, and that young people have a greater capacity to get involved in this way. Perhaps as the future of Scottish Independence and some of the wild tides that have upturned modern politics develops, our voices and our generation’s unique style of political organising will matter more and more.