I see that Lia Nici, Conservative MP for the Grimsby ‘red wall’ constituency, is in the news again, repeating the disgusting libel that the Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner ‘opened her legs’ when sitting opposite Boris Johnson in the House of Commons in order to inflame him and put him off his stride (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/07/10/government-minister-repeats-claim-angela-rayner-opened-legs/). Ms Nici is now a minister in Johnson’s caretaker government; which shows how poor his choice has been narrowed down to since he purged it in 2019 of decent anti-Brexit Tories, and then so many of those who stayed on resigned in the great political drama of the past week. I rather liked Starmer’s description the other day of the Government front bench as the ‘charge of the light-weight brigade’. They really are mediocre, at best, and by any non-partisan standard one could apply.
As it happens, I have a soft spot for Lia, who was the one who provoked my new book (Britain’s Contested History. Lessons for Patriots, out on Thursday), with this statement: ‘if people are not proud to be British, or of our flag or Queen, they don’t have to live in the UK. Perhaps they should move to another country they refer.’ The book (published by Bloomsbury) is about different perceptions of British identity, or identities; of which the ‘Queen and Flag’ one ranks pretty low.