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The last night of the silly season

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

I know I keep saying I was late to the party and it’s become a reoccurring theme of recent posts but it’s true, which brings me to the proms.I know a lot of American folk follow this blog so apologies up front as the Proms is not easy to explain outside the UK

Like pimms and Strawberries, afternoon tea and not being able to hold our drink the proms are quintessentially British. A series of Promenade concerts culminating in the weird yet fascinating spectacle of union jacks, bobbing heads and Elgar that is the climax of the season, the last night.

It is at the end of the last night that the oddness really ramps up with rousing patriotic renditions of Rule Britannia and land of hope and glory, the concert takes on a anthemic slightly unruly edge, it’s odd, it’s fun, it’s silly and enjoyable.

So imagine the outcry this year when it was announced the BBC were planning on doing away with rule Britannia and land of hope and glory in some Woke, mad BLM cull of all that is good and British, our local MP (conservative) was of course incensed stoking up the sort of jingoistic sabre rattling that has been en vogue since the brexit vote of 2016. Cries of defund the BBC followed as good ole patriotic John Bull types from lands’ end to John O’Groats (well possibly Carlisle) voiced their displeasure.  

It was of course all nonsense, stoked up by a media who see division as a sure fire way to keep their circulation and internet hits at least ticking over. While there were one or two BBC figures who expressed concern over the empirical leanings of the two songs but as the rather bemused BBC DG himself remarked he expects the tradition to continue for a long time to come. This year, due to covid restrictions in a very much scaled down last night the music will be played without singers.

The trouble is by now the damage is done, Farage I filmed belting out his own version of rule Britannia, Andrew Neil comments how the Great British navy was responsible for ending the slave trade (that’s a whole new box of Pandora’s boxes to unravel) and Mr Johnson is wheeled out to complain how wet and unpatriotic the BBC’s stance has been.

It is and always was a non-story, outrage that was whipped up to add petrol to the fire, to just bring all the lunacy together the funniest and saddest moment was one poor fella that was incensed with rage that the BBC were banning Royal Brittania(sic) .The saddest part were the amount of comments it got supporting his rant.

I suspect like me a few years ago this gentleman had never given the proms a second thought, most people don’t, Most like me view it as a bunch of flag waving toffs listening to classical music, its popular yet very much highbrow viewing with a select niche audience, at least it was, now it has become another right wing tool to bash the liberals with.

Ironically the fervour of the Rule Britannia chorus is that Britains never, never will be slaves yet I somehow feel we have become enslaved in a dystopic social media/PR led crusade to create mistrust, division and discord at the heart of our fair isle.  

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