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From Hartlepool to the hangman: the flag-wavers now running the Tory Party could take Britain back to the gallows

Eventually the new nationalists will need a new populist cause: a referendum on the death penalty is becoming a frightening possibility

By Chris Mullin   July 2021

Labour’s recent drubbing in Hartlepool and other working-class strongholds is a symptom of a wider problem: the rise of English nationalism. And there is no easy solution.

Three months ago, during an online session of the Public Accounts Committee, James Wild, a Conservative MP for a leafy part of Norfolk, asked what one political commentator said may be “the stupidest question ever asked by an MP.” It may not have been, but only because there are many contenders for that honour. The committee was interviewing the BBC director general, Tim Davie, about the corporation’s annual report. Wild wanted to know how many images of the Union flag were to be found in the document. Davie was momentarily stumped. “Of all the briefings I got for this meeting, that was not one of them, I am afraid.”

“Well it’s zero. Do you find that surprising?” Davie remained dumbfounded:…

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