The English Labour Network has launched a briefing for Labour Party activists called For Labour, England and St George. You can download it here..
To form a government, Labour needs to win England, and Labour needs to win more votes from people who have a strong sense of English identity. We need to demonstrate the strong links between building a better society for the people of England and Labour’s radical policies ‘for the many, not the few’.
In the process, we can strengthen a progressive, inclusive English identity and help to marginalise the far-right groups who want to appeal to a racist and xenophobic Englishness.
Labour is proposing four new national bank holidays, including a St George’s Day bank holiday. Party activists will want to promote this popular policy and take a leading part in St George’s Day celebrations.
We know that not all activists are familiar with or instinctively comfortable with English identity or the patriotism expressed by many voters. This briefing explains why national identity is important and why the left has much to gain and nothing to lose from progressive patriotism. It suggests some topics for discussion in party meetings and practical suggestions on ways of engaging with English identity, including the celebration of St George’s Day, in ways that reflect Labour’s principled progressive values.
Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, says:
“As Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and a proud Englishman, I’m delighted to see the English Labour Network promoting a discussion about how Labour members can celebrate St George’s Day across the county.
“The Labour Party firmly believes in celebrating all Britain’s Patron Saint days which is why we made a commitment to all the nations of the United Kingdom in our manifesto to making each occasion a public holiday, including St George’s Day.
“For me personally St George’s Day is an important day of celebration because it brings together all those different strands which make up our shared English identity.
“Moving forward I hope the English Labour Network and Labour members everywhere stand up for a progressive England, and what better way to do this than by every CLP holding its own St George’s Day celebrations this April.”