Gerry Hassan – Scotland the Bold (3 stars)

Gerry Hassan – Scotland the Bold

Timely and thoughtful overview of how Scotland got here and where it is going

From its title, Gerry Hassan's Scotland the Bold might recall the 'wha's like us' rhetoric of romantic nationalists. His image of a bold Caledonia is more an aspiration than an affirmation, however. The author does not shy away from questioning the assumed progressiveness of the independence movement, and is particularly good on the often-unchecked nature of power and patronage in Scotland. Although Hassan's take on culture is too broadly drawn, his willingness to challenge consensus across Scottish society is welcome.

Although the book concludes with a loose manifesto written by a range of contributors, it is not a radical utopian polemic in the vein of Paul Mason's Postcapitalism. Rather, it seeks to articulate a new kind of Scottish social democracy, one that goes beyond the SNP's centrist managerialism, and what he sees, perhaps unfairly, as the 'retro-politics' of Corbynism. It would be good to see Hassan flesh out his proposals, but this is a timely and thoughtful overview of how Scotland got here and where it is going.

Out Mon 14 Nov, published by Freight Books.

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