The National:

“I AM a Unionist. I don’t like nationalism. I don’t think it’s good … because I think for me nationalism is insular, it’s looking inwards.”

Those are the words of Jo Stevens, a senior Labour MP serving in Keir Starmer’s shadow Cabinet.

Unluckily for Jo, her party leader seems determined to undermine any and every claim that their party is not, in fact, deeply nationalist.

Even without all the Union flags on display at every turn – including now on their party membership cards – Starmer’s latest line means that even the most die-hard supporter would struggle to deny his nationalist tendencies. Wait, sorry, patriotic tendencies.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: Labour's naked nationalism is revealed by more than Union flags

“My Labour government will be different,” Starmer said on Monday. “We’ll run a patriotic economy where Britain’s interest is centre stage and Britain’s hardworking families reap the rewards.”

Trumpeting Starmer’s comments, the Labour party then wrote on social media: “Labour has a plan for housing that will give you and your family the stability and security you need. A future built in Britain, by Britain, for Britain.”

It’s a good thing Labour is not nationalist and insular. Otherwise, those claims about putting “Britain’s interest centre stage” would look a lot like Donald Trump’s “America First”.

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But despite Labour’s best attempts, not everyone is blind to what Starmer’s words actually mean.

That will explain the backlash after the party trotted out its “patriotic economy” line ahead of Starmer’s visit to the West Midlands.

“The economy's not patriotic enough guys! That's the problem ... Do I laugh or cry at this point?” one user wrote on social media.

“What is a patriotic economy other than just a massive dogwhistle term …” another added.

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) also called out the Labour leader, writing: “What on earth is a ‘patriotic economy’?

“Will the banks and the stock exchange have to sing God Save The King when markets open every morning?

“Will banker bonuses be paid in Union Jack flags?”

If policy is anything to go by (it increasingly is not after Starmer’s seemingly endless U-turns), Labour’s patriotic economy will be one in which bankers are allowed unlimited bonuses but children forced into poverty through accidents of birth are kept there.

How strikingly similar to the current Tory-run economy.

Others riffed on a similar idea, with one user quipping: “A patriotic economy means your foodbank parcel will come wrapped in the Union Jack.”

Another wrote: “I was honestly surprised to hear that Keir Starmer came up with the ‘patriotic economy’. I was absolutely certain it must have been something Liz Truss spouted at BonkersCon.”

If only.