Health Minister likes tweet warning Labour against ‘flag sha**ing’

Union Flag

The Health Minister for the Welsh Government has liked a tweet warning Labour against “flag sha**ing”.

Vaughan Gething, who is the Labour MS for Cardiff South and Penarth, liked a tweet by campaigner Rob Simkins, who hit out at what he called “flag discourse”.

It comes following the news that an internal strategy presentation was leaked to The Guardian that said Labour must make “use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly”.

Mr Simkins said: “This flag discourse is literally exhausting. Yes we need to not be hollow, ‘flag sha**ing’ unionists in the UKIP/Tory mould but we also need to show the flag sha**ers that the Union Jack isn’t theirs and that it can also belong to normal people, proud of their country. The end.”

The strategy presentation is aimed what the Labour Party calls, “foundation seats”, a new term for the “red wall” constituencies, many of which are in Wales and the north of England, that helped Boris Johnson to a landslide in 2019, as well as other seats it fears could also turn blue.

Among the top recommendations is: “The use of the flag, veterans, dressing smartly at the war memorial etc give voters a sense of authentic values alignment.”

‘Backlash’ 

In the strategy presentation, the party is warned to brace for a backlash from “Scots and younger remain voters”, especially ahead of the Holyrood elections in May.

According to the strategy presentation Labour has “excluded” and “ignored” once-core voters, which it blames on the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, under which the party is described as a “party of protest”, expressing “unpatriotic” sentiments, with “arrogance” and “idealism”.

It is understood that Labour’s new strategy is based on extensive focus groups from Watford to Grimsby, which were conducted in September alongside nationwide polling.

Clive Lewis, one of Labour’s leading ethnic-minority MPs, is critical of the strategy.

He said: “The Tory party has absorbed UKIP and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party.”

A senior Labour official said: “Different parts of the Labour party have different opinions on what was got wrong and what wasn’t – this is broadly a reality check of what the public thinks of Labour.”

Labour said the presentation consisted of conclusions reached by a third party rather than Labour officials.

A spokesperson for the party told The Guardian: “This is a report by an external organisation from September 2020. It deals with pre-existing perceptions of the party. Keir [Starmer] and Angela [Rayner, deputy leader] have been very clear that Labour has a mountain to climb to win in 2024 but is on the right path.”

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