Can Starmer do patriotism?

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It was St George’s Day this week, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he has ‘no time’ for those who ‘flinch’ at the St George’s flag. But how authentic is his patriotism? Katy Balls speaks to Tom Baldwin, former Labour Party adviser and author of new book England: Seven Myths That Changed a Country – and How to Set Them Straight. Produced by Megan McElroy. 

How many black or Asian Britons feel a strong sense of European identity?

Though wokeness is a vile thing, it has contributed to our culture in one fortunate way – by inspiring brilliant books which refute it. The woeful lack of anything passing for analysis (probably a colonial tool of oppression, like brunch) on the SJW side has thrown into gloriously sharp relief the difference in the intellectual firepower between those who believe in free speech and those who resemble Veruca Salt after joining the Stasi. We have Andrew Doyle’s The New Puritans and Remi Adekoya’s Biracial Britain; they have Laurie Penny’s Sexual Revolution and Jolyon Maugham’s Bringing Down Goliath – the latter category comprising unintentionally hilarious scribblings which will soon be up

Arthur Bryant: monstrous chronicler of Merrie England

If you want to judge how much society has changed, you might do worse than visit a few secondhand bookshops. Obsolete volumes rest undisturbed on their shelves. The more popular they once were, the more unwanted copies accumulate. An almost inevitable presence nowadays is Sir Arthur Bryant, in his time a bestselling writer on historical subjects but now slumbering among the Great Unread. To browse in one of his books is a nostalgic experience. Their very titles — English Saga, for example, or Set in a Silver Sea — are evocative. They tell ‘our island story’, of an idealised agrarian past populated by merry monarchs, honest yeomen farmers, sturdy John

What’s wrong with saying ‘Rule, Britannia’?

In the age of Zoom lectures and distance learning, it is almost comforting to know that students’ unions are still up to their mad censorious antics. The new normal cannot dent their zealotry, as a recent story from the University of Aberdeen attests. The Telegraph reports today that Elizabeth Heverin, a 19-year-old history and politics student, has been banned from all students’ union buildings, debates and services for two weeks for supposedly saying ‘Rule, Britannia’ during an online discussion in December. She sits on Aberdeen University Students’ Association’s council, and they were discussing whether to renew the union’s ‘demilitarised campus’ policy, whereby the army is banned from recruiting students in

What Starmer can learn from Miliband’s mug

Since becoming Labour leader, Keir Starmer has single-mindedly been trying to persuade red wall voters that Labour is ‘patriotic’, just like them. He thereby hopes to clear away those cultural barriers that have arisen between Labour in the north and midlands where voting for the party used to be almost instinctive. As he said in his first leader’s speech back in September, Starmer wants red wall voters to ‘take another look’ at Labour now it is under his leadership: he wants to show them that it is no longer the party of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. But many in his party don’t like what Starmer is doing, because a significant

Starmer’s patriotic rebrand doesn’t fool anyone

Since Harold Wilson stood down as Prime Minister 45 years ago, there have been 11 general elections contested by seven different Labour leaders. Of those, only Tony Blair has managed to win, which he did three times in a row. The roll call of the defeated reads Callaghan, Foot, Kinnock (twice), Brown, Miliband and Corbyn (twice). As Alastair Campbell noted in a recent column for the New European, Labour’s record over the time span is lost, lost, lost, lost, Blair, Blair, Blair, lost, lost, lost, lost. Yet still we political commentators invite you to suspend your disbelief and suppose Labour is in the running. And still it is the Labour

Why are some Labour supporters embarrassed by the Union Jack?

How does Labour plan to win back the Red Wall? A leaked internal Labour strategy document gives one answer: it says the party must make ‘use of the flag’. This sounds like a sensible way to woo those voters put off by Jeremy Corbyn. But the deranged backlash from some Labour activists suggests that not everyone agrees. It also shows why the party is doomed to fail in its bit to change its image for the better. Labour activists took to social media yesterday to decry Keir Starmer on the strategy, asking why the Labour leader is risking alienating so many of his party’s core support. That just mentioning the Union flag in a positive