Labour needs to present a generous vision for Britain’s future – or it will remain trapped by these same old accusations
The Labour party’s endless debates about “patriotism” have a Groundhog Day quality to them. From Blair to Brown, Miliband, Corbyn and now Starmer, it’s hard to remember a time when the party wasn’t earnestly interrogating itself about its supposedly antagonistic relationship to questions of British – latterly English – identity.
This discourse has barely changed since Blair’s third term, and has often exhibited the worst and most self-defeating qualities of a party in decline: inward-looking, exclusively focused on Labour and its alleged failings, and largely neglectful of the political context in which the party operates. To the wider public, Labour’s endless discussions of patriotism suggest a fatal lack of confidence and self-belief, in sharp contrast to the Conservatives’ unshakeable, breezy entitlement.