In Britain, notes Daniel Johnson, the waving of the Union Jack is increasingly greeted with “condescension and disdain or worse” in elite circles, although EU flags seem entirely acceptable. And for members of the Labor party, there is another favored flag:
[No] animosity greeted the unprecedented (though by no means spontaneous) flag-waving that erupted at the Labor party conference last month. Not that any member of what was once the party of Clement Attlee and Tony Blair would be seen dead waving a Union Jack. No, the eruption of flags brandished by the far-left delegates who now dominate the largest “progressive” party in Europe elicited no censure. That’s because they were Palestinian flags.
The flags alone were disturbing enough. But the context made them even more provocative. The Labor party has been embroiled in the burgeoning scandal of left-wing anti-Semitism ever since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015. Last summer, new revelations of institutional prejudice against Jews or extreme attitudes to Israel, together with attempts by the leadership to suppress criticism or to purge the critics, made the front pages almost daily. . . . In his speech to the conference, Corbyn announced that his first act on becoming prime minister, on day one, would be to recognize Palestine unilaterally as a sovereign state. . . .
[Corbyn] personifies the pathology of the left throughout the West, admittedly in an extreme form. For hardline leftists, Israel is the archetypal enemy of the archetypal victims: Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular. . . . The existence of Israel is a challenge even to liberal Europeans, because its proud defense of its national identity and independence calls into question the internationalism of the EU. But for the hard left, Israel is not merely an awkward anomaly, to be alternately chastised or cold-shouldered. For them, Israel is an arch-enemy that must be crushed. . . .
If Brexit goes badly—as it may well do, given the malice of Brussels and the muddle of Westminster—then the public will blame the Conservatives. Britain could elect a Labor prime minister who is not only unfit to lead his country, but who hates it so much that he has refused to sing the national anthem. . . . One might suppose that if Corbyn were to find himself at 10 Downing Street, the mandarins of Whitehall would sabotage any attempt by his government to carry out extremist policies. But that assumption does not hold water.