James O'Brien's passionate take on defining patriotism

5 January 2022, 12:51

By Tim Dodd

James O'Brien gave a thought-provoking take on the meaning of patriotism, as Keir Starmer sets himself "the challenge of unhooking patriotism from racism".

It comes as the Labour leader delivered a message to former Labour voters in the so-called Red Wall seats, saying "it's not just the flag that drives our patriotism...it's really the values that lie behind that."

"The values I've outlined today of security and prosperity and respect. They're the three values that lie behind patriotism as far as I'm concerned," he said.

James said: "I've always taken it to mean something quite similar to community spirit.

"The hardest bit to negotiate is the idea that by thinking that your country is X there is an inevitable implication that that country over there is a Y. Where X is a positive and Y is a negative.

"I've never lived anywhere else. How the hell do I know that this is the best place to live?"

Read more: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tests positive for Covid-19 again

"Patriotism has to mean people doesn't it?... Which people does it mean? It means the people that you live with and the people that you live alongside.

"What does it actually mean?"

Read more: Pre-departure Covid tests for travellers returning to UK set to be scrapped

James later said: "Patriotism, I would argue, propels me to want to see everybody living here not being in poverty.

"I felt patriotic when Marcus Rashford led his free schools meal campaign, and I felt patriotic when Marcus Rashford and his teammates got into the final of the football.

"Some people booed England's footballers and hated the free school meals campaign, and they're probably people who wear union flag underpants and consider themselves to be patriotic."

'Almost anybody' would be better PM than 'shoddy' Boris Johnson, Rory Stewart tells LBC

'Almost anybody' would be better PM than 'shoddy' Boris Johnson, Rory Stewart tells LBC

James O'Brien's brutal dismantling of PM's plea to Tories

James O'Brien's brutal dismantling of PM's plea to Tories

James O'Brien skewers Tory politicians who don't want PM to face leadership contest

James O'Brien skewers Tory politicians who don't want PM to face leadership contest

Home Office 'tried to bury' report exposing racist origins of Windrush scandal, says journalist

Home Office 'tried to bury' report exposing racism that led to Windrush, says journalist

Author explains fascinating history of metric system amidst imperial measurements row

Author explains fascinating history of metric system amid imperial measurements row

Lord O'Neill hails 'really cool' initiative for people to donate energy bill rebate to less fortunate

Lord O'Neill hails initiative for people to donate energy bill rebate to less fortunate

James O'Brien dissects 'baffling' US gun control opposition

James O'Brien dissects 'baffling' US gun control opposition

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'thinks he's the real victim' of Partygate

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'thinks he's the real victim' of Partygate

'I feel used!' Tearful veteran 'embarrassed' by Britain's Afghan withdrawal

'I feel used!': Tearful veteran 'embarrassed' by Britain's Afghan withdrawal

James O'Brien's 'astonishing' takedown of PM's Partygate misconduct

James O'Brien's 'astonishing' takedown of PM's Partygate misconduct

Boys at Rishi Sunak's school had 'no idea' about outside world says ex-employee

Boys at Rishi Sunak's school had 'no idea' about outside world says ex-employee

James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

John Sweeney: I do not think that Vladimir Putin has long for this world

John Sweeney: I do not think that Vladimir Putin has long for this world

James O'Brien tears apart government's 'ideological' opposition to a windfall tax

James O'Brien tears apart government's 'ideological' opposition to a windfall tax

Most Red Wall seats worse off under Boris Johnson despite levelling up promise

Most Red Wall seats worse off under Boris Johnson despite levelling up promise

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'running scared of backbenchers' over obesity

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'running scared of backbenchers' over obesity