In a new book published on Monday 23rd May, Jamie Reed MP sets out the role English patriotism played on the doorsteps of Copeland during last year’s general election.
The book, edited by former Labour frontbencher Tristram Hunt MP and published by the University of Winchester, features a collection of hard-hitting chapters by MPs and former Parliamentary candidates on Labour’s ‘identity crisis’ in England.
In his chapter, the Copeland MP talks of his experience as a West Cumbrian Member of Parliament, and Labour’s approach to peripheral areas. He explains that;
“As the Member of Parliament for Copeland, England’s most remotely accessible constituency from Westminster, I know more than most that the Labour Party needs to learn serious lessons from our catastrophic election defeat. Principally, Labour’s approach to peripheral areas and non-metropolitan communities must now be fundamentally reassessed, as must the Party’s approach to England. London is not England, and Labour must listen to the marginalised, peripheral communities of our country in a way in which it has not done for decades as the United Kingdom risks disintegrating before us. “
The book covers constituencies in the North, South, East and West of England, and alongside Jamie Reed, contributors include current and former Labour frontbenchers Ben Bradshaw and Lisa Nandy.
Writing in his chapter, Copeland MP Jamie Reed said:
“…if Labour were to be invented today, its structures would be federal; it would be home to a discrete English Labour identity in the same way that it is home to discrete Scottish and Welsh identities. Its purpose would be ‘nation-building’ and, in an age where social change is rapidly driven by technological innovation, it would look nothing like the ponderous, monolithic, overly centralised structure that it has become.”
“Labour requires a renaissance, not a reboot. Only by rediscovering our purpose can we reconnect with those communities who need a Labour government but who, at the last election, didn’t think it was worth voting for one. Labour’s radical English heritage is something to be uniquely proud of and something to be built upon, more now than ever before. To do this, and to change our country for the better, Labour needs to change its attitude towards England.”
Writing in the Introduction to the book, Tristram Hunt MP says:
“If Labour is in any way serious about taking on anti-politics and reclaiming the cultural affinity of the working class then such unnecessary metropolitan squeamishness is simply unacceptable – nurturing a civic English patriotism is now absolutely essential. This, in a nutshell, was the genius of Orwell’s English socialism – to combine mission and motivation; the poetry of radicalism with the purpose of patriotism.”