Starmer's plan to rebrand Labour as the party for patriotism is too little too late

By William Hallowell | Editor

"First virtual PMQs and Ministerial statement on Coronavirus 22/04/2020" by UK Parliament

Under new reform, Starmer seeks to focus on patriotism and the union flag to win back lost votes.


It was recently announced that out of fear that Sir Keir Starmer would be seen as “sitting on the fence” by the electorate, it has been reported that he is looking to take a more patriotic stance towards Britain. This is too little too late for the staunch Remainer who was so keen to side with his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, who was famously anti-Britain during the 2019 election.


What has caused this sudden change in presentation of the Labour Party? This intended reform comes from a man who was very quick to ‘take the knee’ for radical Black Lives Matter activists. This comes from a party whose MPs and supporters – on the whole – see Britain as boastfully upholding its colonial past. This comes from the party who so proudly supported a group of ‘anti-racism’ activists who were seen defacing the Cenotaph in London, defacing Sir Winston Churchill’s statue and burning our union flags.


To endorse these actions does not seem like a step towards patriotism; neither does the video that has only recently emerged of Starmer saying “I used to propose the abolition of the monarchy”. How can a man, who is so clearly not patriotic, suddenly claim to be the bastion of patriotism? This is the same man who’s party opposed the deportation of foreign criminals from our lands only a few months ago.

This whole policy idea is a lie and a strategic move that we can see straight through. Starmer is a populist who will clearly do or say anything to win power. The only difference between him and the government is that he thought it would advance his career far more by painting himself red, and not blue. He is a centrist. He is sitting on the fence. The fact that there is still a debate over this is astonishing.


This Remainer is merely pleading for Red Wall votes back. Those working-class Brexit voters in the north who were so fed up of being ignored by out-of-touch, London-centric, Corbynite politics are now expected to turn back to Labour just because Starmer is jumping up like an excited puppy saying ‘pick me!’


How can he expect this not to backfire? Given the nature of many on the left and their sentiments of shame towards our fantastic country, how can he expect not to get egg on his face? The Guardian’s coverage of Starmer’s new strategy reads: “Left-wing MPs say plan risks alienating young and BAME voters and lacks ambition and authenticity”.


A “leaked strategy document… advised Labour to ‘make use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly'” it continued.


What a stark contrast to the regime of the former leader, who (as previously mentioned), Starmer was so eager to back in December 2019. So either: Starmer is a patriot who kept his mouth shut during Corbyn’s reign in order to retain a shadow cabinet (and potentially a government) position, or this attempt to rebrand a toxic, unpatriotic party as patriotic is an unreserved attempt at populism to win back working-class voters. “Making use of veterans” doesn’t sound very sincere.  


This is nothing other than cringeworthy. How can anyone – Labour-supporting or not – take this move by Starmer seriously? If the policy idea came from a more likely source, it may be more credible; but how can a man claim to be patriotic if he “used to” [and probably still does] want to abolish the monarchy, despite his ironic knighthood? It has been reported that opinion polls have recently been swinging in the favour of the government due to the success of the vaccine rollout, so perhaps that is what has invoked this conveniently sudden announcement of party reform.


What is for certain is that Starmer is a populist; all serious, career-motivated politicians are – but the difference between Starmer and Johnson is that Johnson isn’t trying to hide it.

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Rob Davis
9 months ago

Great article Will. You might like to note this which emerged today

El Tel
9 months ago

Very well written Will. Keep it up.