Emily Thornberry’s ‘sneer’ at working class voters over St George’s cross flag REVISITED

Thornberry calls on PM to 'apologise for misleading Parliament'

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Today marks St George’s Day, the annual celebration of the life of Saint George, believed to have died around AD 303. England’s patron saint became an early Christian martyr as he was tortured and executed in Palestine. While his day — observed on April 23 each year — is not a bank holiday, it is still a day for celebration for many people in England. Saint George is strongly associated with England’s national flag, the St George’s Cross, which forms part of Britain’s Union Jack.

England’s flag, which has its origins in the 10th Century, is linked to the crusades and from the Late Middle Ages began to be associated with Saint George.

Although the flag is proudly flown by English people up and down the country and around the world, its use has also been criticised due to its association with English nationalism.

In 2014, Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Attorney General resigned from Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet after posting a photo of a house bedecked with three St George’s flags in Rochester on polling day.

The MP for Islington South and Finsbury posted a picture of a property — which had a white Ford Transit van outside — on Twitter with the caption: “Image from Rochester.”

Ms Thornberry had been out campaigning in the Rochester and Strood byelection at the time of her post.

JUST IN: Scotland short changed! Sturgeon demands £130M in EU row – ‘Boris promised’

The by-election was won by UKIP candidate Mark Reckless, who had defected to the party from the Conservatives.

The MP’s resignation and subsequent apology came after she was accused of sneering at working-class voters by highlighting the house.

Mr Miliband, the Labour leader at the time, summed up some of the anger over Ms Thornberry’s tweet, saying it “conveyed a sense of disrespect”.

He told reporters at the time: “I was angry because I thought her tweet gave a misleading impression, when she photographed the house in which the family lived, that somehow Labour had the wrong view of that family.”

The resident of the property sporting the flags, Dan Ware, branded Ms Thornberry a “snob”.

Meanwhile, then-Prime Minister David Cameron claimed the Labour MP’s post was “completely appalling”.

He also accused her of “sneering at people who work hard, are patriotic and love their country”.

In her apology, Ms Thornberry admitted she had “made a mistake” and said she was sorry “if she had upset or insulted anybody”.

The MP’s apparent opposition to the use of the St George’s flag was deemed to be part of a wider reluctance within Labour to fly England’s red and white colours.

David Barnett summed up the negative connotations the flag now harbours in a 2018 opinion piece for The Independent.

DON’T MISS: 
Meghan and Harry ‘pushed out’ to stop clash with ‘lazy’ Kate and William, Vine guest slams [LATEST]
Royal POLL: Can Harry and Meghan help boost Netflix after major subscriber loss? [INSIGHT]
Sophie and Edward ‘forgiven’ by Royal Family after ‘humiliating’ misstep early on [ANALYSIS]

He wrote: “The Union Jack and the St George cross have been tainted by association with the far right.

“Nobody seems surprised any more to see some bull-headed idiot draped in the flag and performing a Nazi salute. Which is a quite remarkable state of affairs.”

Nick Tyrone, the director of CentreForum, also addressed controversy surrounding the flag in an essay for the Spectator last year.

He claimed some Labour activists are now more comfortable flying the colours of Palestine to show solidarity with the country’s occupation by Israel, rather than the St George’s flag.

The writer was responding to reports that under its new leader Sir Keir Starmer, Labour was set to make “use of the flag” in its imaging in a bid to woo voters.

He wrote: “If this dislike of the Union flag was just about internationalism, the rejection of the symbols of the nation state, this would still be a huge problem for Labour – yet it is even worse than that.

“If you’re a Labour activist, ask yourself why you’re happy with seeing the Palestinian flag waved at Labour conference but think the leader of your party standing in front of his and your own country’s flag is unacceptable.”

Source: Read Full Article