Nationhood and Belonging

Renewal - ISSN 0968-5211
Volume 29 Number 4 (2021)

Nationhood and Belonging
John Denham pages 62-74


Labour’s relationship to patriotism is more than an inconvenient electoral problem. Without a clear sense of the nation and its people, we cannot hope to develop a politics of the common good. Building a progressive future requires grappling with uncomfortable histories, fragmented identities, and the politics of the Union.

In the spring 2021 edition of Renewal both James Stafford and Eunice Goes examined Keir Starmer’s ‘patriotic turn’. They shed useful light on how Starmer has approached patriotism to date, but also epitomise the limitations of Labour’s current debates and of the Leader’s office strategy. Their contributions were written before Starmer’s conference speech and the publication of his lengthy Fabian essay, The Road Ahead. This article considers the arguments made by Stafford and Goes, and more recently by Starmer. It suggests that there is potential for Labour to frame its politics in an ambitious programme of ‘progressive patriotism’ that can appeal across the different nations and revitalise the Union itself

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To cite this article
John Denham (2021) Nationhood and Belonging, Renewal, 29(4), 62-74

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