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The Guardian declares war on street parties: ‘a front for a middle-class nationalism that celebrates austerity’

Barely a week goes by without the Guardian declaring war on a seemingly harmless food type. According to the paper tea-drinkers possess ‘the worst possible English trait, up there with colonialism‘, HP sauce is the condiment of the establishment and barbecues are simply borderline-racist.

Now they have a new enemy in their sights: street parties. Although tens of thousands happily gathered at the Mall today for a street party to mark the Queen’s official 90th birthday, according to the paper this is simply not a case of ‘harmless’ fun.

Instead — in a piece entitled ‘The Queen’s birthday has unleashed a pernicious new patriotism’ for the Guardian — the writer Dawn Foster says such parties are ‘a front for a middle-class nationalism that celebrates the cruelty of austerity’:

‘The coming weekend will feature an assault course of men in red trousers telling you how “jolly good” it is that “our Liz” has reached the age people in her income bracket often do, as they wave paper Union Jacks.’

It turns out that drinking cups of tea with some bunting in view is ‘not entirely separate’ to ‘openly racist’ nationalism. Nationalism of the middle-class right — ‘who wear chinos while raising a glass to “her maj” in front of a Union Jack’ — is linked to that of a ‘football supporter’ who dares to possess an England flag:

‘Nationalism now has two faces: that of the far right, signified by a certain sort of caricature of a football supporter and England flags, and now the middle-class right, posh enough to wear chinos while raising a glass to “her maj” in front of a Union Jack. The two aren’t entirely separate: the former is openly racist, the latter a frequent apologist for the British empire.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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