After a summer festooned with Union Jacks for the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, Ed Miliband’s catchphrase at the Labour Party conference was “One Nation”. Faced with the increasingly nasty face of the reigning Tories, Red- White- and- Blue Ed took on the mantle of Disraeli to proclaim that it’s the Tories with their vicious austerity policies who are waging class war, and it’s Labour who are the true patriots.
The preparations for the referendum on Scottish independence, leaving aside Westminster’s legal wrangles over the wording, seem to be going ahead, prompting the question: is this for real, or is it just another form of the democratic diversion?
The massive street protests in Israel seem, for the moment at any rate, to have gone into retreat; the social question, which they raised so noisily around issues of housing, inflation, and unemployment, is once again being sidelined by the national question.
In the lead up to the local and European elections, great play has been made of the threat posed by the British National Party. It is true that the BNP represent a particularly odious form of racism. When it comes to campaigning in the EU elections on the basis of out and out nationalism, the left is not be outdone by the right. No2EU, a coalition initiated by the RMT union, supported by various leftist groups, serves up its own brand of nationalist policies.