Sorry Emily, you had to go

by Kevin Meagher

Emily Thornberry is a week late with her spin.

In an interview with the Islington Tribune, her “truck-driving, builder brother,” Ben, refutes accusations that his sister is a snob after infamously tweeting a photograph of a house displaying England flags with a white van in the drive, blaming her demise on “cut-throat and dirty politics”.

Really, when in a hole, stop digging.

Now she has brought her brother into the equation, Ms Thornberry has given license to any national newspaper to crawl around and see if, indeed, Ben Thornberry, is a tradesman (implied but not actually stated in the piece). “Builder” can cover anything from semi-skilled scaffolder, through to millionaire property developer. Expect to find out more in the Mail on Sunday or The Sun.

But none if this alters the fact most people aren’t ex-barristers living in three million pound houses married to high court judges with honorary titles. Moreover, unlike Lady Nugee, most people’s dads don’t go on to become the assistant secretary-general of the United Nations.  She should have known better than to sneer at the voters for her lofty perch.

So, Ed Miliband was entirely right to be furious with her for that stupid tweet. It allowed the government to wriggle off the hook on the day it lost a safe seat in a by-election. It should have been open season on David Cameron. Instead, Labour spent three days defending its credentials as the party of hard-working people.

Emily Thornberry made an unforced error and in this age of political professionalism it was right she got the sack for making it.

The lesson for other Labour MPs is that they should try knocking on doors rather than photographing them.

And if you’re going to display your proletarian credentials, better make sure they’re fireproof.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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17 Responses to “Sorry Emily, you had to go”

  1. swatantra says:

    Meager is 100% wrong. The tweet was pretty harmless until nerdy Milliband blew his top and drew attention to it. Milliband makes absolutely no connection with White Van Man, or anybody else for that matter. We need bylaws on our Estates to stop this kind of vulgar display of St George Flags long after England matches are over. It just lowers the tone of the neighbourhood. Its antisocial behaviour; the flag bearers are making a statement, and not a healthy one at that when you gret behind the meaning.
    That is what I think Emily was trying to convey.

  2. Dave Roberts. says:

    So the flag of St George is anti social behaviour? You are disgusting and probably a fully paid up member of some loony left group.

  3. Henrik says:

    @swatantra: is it just the English flag to which you object, or is this a blanket condemnation of any and all vexillary displays?

  4. Fred says:


    How dare she judge the person who lived there without knowing what he or she was like. She was sneering pure and simple.

    I love that flag, why shouldn’t I fly it. If the PC apologists want it banned, then I want to fly it more. Proud to be English.

    Now she’s trying to weasel her way out of it. You see her on TV and all I see is a sanctimonious person, who clearly knows more than you and I and is in her bubble, better than you and I.

  5. bob says:


    Try that in either Scotland Wales or Northern Ireland and see how long you survive. A bye law that would be impossible to enforce, which is neither wanted or required, and merely reinforces your bigoted view of the English.

  6. Christine says:

    I totally agree with swatantra and feel that Millibands reaction demonstrates his insecurity.I do not believe that Emily has a sneer in her and Labour can I’ll afford to lose talent like her, one of the few from Millibands cardboard circle of conformist scaredycats, who can hold her own at Question time.He should try living next to such flags.
    I have been waiting for the last few years of the coalition, with the damage caused by this coalition not being adequately or consistently challenged and there was hardly a peep from Mr Milliband when the NHS act was going through and it felt like the impressive Andy Burnham was a sole voice in Labour.Millibands does not get angry often enough, in my opinion.I am underwhelmed by his leadership.
    He has gone completely over the top re this issue.

  7. Tafia says:

    Swat, you are a snob. I live in north west Wales and the Cross of St David and the flag of the old Kingdom of Gwynedd are flown everywhere – come to Llangefni as an example, the county town of Ynys Mon (Anglesey) – the main streets are festooned with hundreds of them all year round. The Council pays for them and the people want them.

  8. John P Ried says:

    If Emily was trying to convey what you suggest Swat, I’d suggest wh was expelled from the party,
    Flying St Georges flag, 6 months after a football match, Ms thornberry had no idea why th flag was flying there, maybe the man their harris child returning as a soldier or an observer from Afghanistan, maybe it had been to commemorate Rememberance Sunday, he could have been supporting Englnad in the cricket last week,

    The current detentions of anti social behaviour, mean curtailing people with behaviour orders, or the replacements for breach of the peace, and drunk and disorderly, work hand in hand with public order offence, and their hate crime equivalents,so the obvious view of offence, profanities, outraging public decency, obscenities, displays of disobedience, and let alone laws for blasphemy, holocaust denial, as well as public displays of gratuity or display of insensitivity ,by disrespecting people’s sensitivities for the dead, are current examples of offence, how you feel St George’s flag is a unhealthy statement, is every church,or scouts meeting police station Fire station or town hall making an unhealthy statement, what unhealthy about flying the flag, if somepne had a realities who died in th eIraq war, flying the labour parties red flag, could be much more offensive,

    Who do you think you’re to say what lowers the tone of a neighbourhood ,taking pride in ones home,is better than low hygiene,Thornberry put that up as a show of snobbery, and Ed miliband(he maybe a nerd ,I can think of worse things to be, like your racist idol Diane Abbott) , brought this atory to a close it would have been headlines for weeks afterwards had he not, you really feel going to council estates to say vote for us well stop the flag being flown, as it’s a ti social and lowers the time would be a vote winner, you’re delusioned.

  9. Tafia says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but England played Scotland either the night before that photo was taken or were due to play that night (Scotland v England, 18 Nov).

    And is there any difference between that and self-respecting Liverpool fans refusing to buy The Sun? And displaying the ‘Con’t Buy The Sun’ stickers on their cars? I wouldn’t even allow customers to bring it in my pub – they were given a choice, throw it away or get out.

  10. Vern says:

    Hopefully Swatantra will now realise just how big a deal this actually is. Thornberry’s moment will sit alongside Brown’s bigot day as moments of crass stupidity from individuals who should know better. It is these behaviours that need to be removed from the party because the working classes feel that you no longer represent them anymore.


  11. swatantra says:

    Its about time we stopped pandering to working class Tories, and UKIP, and those, antisocial elements in society that would reduce our estates to sink estates. Lets restore pride back into our community living spaces, and raise them to places where all residents feel safe comfortable and secure. That requires better management of our neighbourhoods.

  12. bob says:


    It’s working class tories and UKIP who you’d call racist for decrying and attacking heritage based CHILD RAPE AND ABUSE in places like Rochdale, Rotherham and numerous other places run by elected Labour cabals. Some who had to have their fingers prised from the doors when the eventually resigned, Sean Wright for instance. Listen to people like the old jail bird for Rotherham McShane who ‘did not want to rock the ‘community’ boat’ by speaking out and thee former member for Keighley who for years tried to raise the subject and was gagged.

    Before you go on about that scum Saville, he was one person possibly with some enablers who abused anyone who came along, whereas in Rochdale it was racist abuse of young white girls. If these scum had done it in their own community they’d have had their ***** cut off, no easier to attack vulnerable white females.

    Suggest you take your blinkers off, many labour and tory supporters will be voting UKIP in the north.

  13. steve says:

    There’s a lot to look forward to: It’ll be open season on the Blairites once the general election campaign gets into full swing, there’ll be blunders by the barrel full.

  14. BenM says:

    Like most working class people I’m offended by idiots neglectfully draping the cross of st george from gutters, allowing them to go grimy and unkempt, not only defiling the flag but the aesthetic of the street.

    White Van Dan is anathema to most working class people I know. They hate people like him too.

    The Westminster Village and this blog got this one wrong. Just admit it and move on.

    Which is why Labour’s polling has not only held up, but has strengthened this last week.

  15. Madasafish says:

    Ben M

    If I had Said “Black Van Dan is anathema” .. there would be howls of protest and “racism”.

  16. John reid says:

    Well said madasafish and Bob

  17. Mr Akira Origami says:

    How sad for English people when they are only allowed to fly their flag on football match days. The main streets in Wales and Scotland are festooned with hundreds of flags all the year round with their councils footing the bill – austerity?

    English folk! be not afraid to fly your your flag, Britishness is dead, you are being shafted by Welsh and Scottish nationalists. You are becoming an impotent people…..get up and stand up for your rights.

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