The left is rightly internationalist. It sees the problems and injustices that scar – and define – our society as transcending national borders, and impossible to solve in one country alone. It wants to bring working people together, wherever they are, because as multinational corporations globalise, labour has to globalise too if it is to be an effective counterweight to the concentration of wealth and power.
But allowing itself to be defined as in any way hostile to its own country – however monstrously unfair and pernicious such an accusation – is a total non-starter. Previous polling finds that nearly eight out of 10 Brits are proud to be a British citizen (and I would bet a big chunk of those lacking pride do so for pretty reactionary reasons). Among certain minority groups, like Muslims, the level of pride is even higher. Patriotism is a big deal for millions of working-class people, and particularly for older people, who Labour and the left generally are currently struggling to inspire.
That’s why we need a new approach. What is more loving of one’s own country than wanting to rid it of injustice?