Speaking as is his habit now in front of union flags, Sir Keir Starmer tells his audience that he leads what is a ‘deeply patriotic party’ and says that ‘2022 is a big year for the country’. But ‘big’ for whom and why?
He cites the following things which for him characterise this upcoming ‘big year’:
– the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
– Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games
– both England’s men’s and women’s football teams competing for international honours – well that’s what the BBC is reporting so it must be correct!
– the need to tackle some “big challenges” including “making Brexit work”.
On the scale of things that could make for a ‘big year’ for the many not the few given all the serious ‘issues’ facing the UK, how do the Starmer factors stack up ?
– a monarch’s birthday, even a ‘big number’ birthday, will come and go with little or more likely, no beneficial, tangible impact on the well-being of the vast majority of the UK population. Is this being seen by party strategists as an opportunity for Labour to out-compete the Tories over who can display most ‘patriotism’?
– hosting the Commonwealth Games happens somewhere every four years. What lasting, significant impact on the well-being of the majority of the UK population have previous Games in the UK had – unless of course we are to be sustained by the vicarious pleasure of gold medal winning and the patriotic glow that comes from the playing of a national (England’s?) anthem time and again in the space of a few weeks!
– England’s football teams competing during the year – one nation, one country against the world and that one is …. ‘England’? (By the way are NI, Wales and Scotland’s sporting teams having a year off from international competition in 2022?)
– ‘making Brexit work’ – is Labour now going to campaign to re-establish the custom’s union with the EU; re-join the EU single market; reinstate freedom of movement? And if not, what will it do? Is this just about a more competent pursuit than the Johnson government’s of otherwise similar ‘global Britain’ exceptionalism?