Two Brexit campaigners were chucked out of the Last Night of the Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall at the weekend after security caught them unfurling an offensive banner which read ‘Brexit Now.’ They had been attacked by Remainers in the audience who tried to rip the banner from their hands.
The official excuse proffered by the BBC, which hosts the event, was that the banner was “too big.”
But everyone knows the real reason: the BBC loathes Brexit and it loathes Brexiteers even more. That’s why it has gleefully hijacked this most quintessentially British — and Brexit-y — of events and transformed it into a toe-curling paean to the joys of political correctness, identity politics and the European Union.
Blue and gold European Union flags abounded at this year’s Last Night of the Proms celebrations, threatening to overwhelm the more traditional red, white and blue Union flags. But that’s because you had to pay for the Union flags whereas the EU flags were being handed out free by an organisation called the EU Flags Proms Team.
It claims to have handed out 50,000 EU flags during the Proms season.
Just in case Brexit Britain failed to get the message, the BBC chose to add insult to injury by opening this year’s Last Night a piece called ‘Woke’ by a half-Eritrean composer, Daniel Kidane, who was apparently inspired by #BlackLivesMatter and who believes in something called ‘institutional racism’.
Then, for its coup de grace, it had American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton – wearing the ‘bisexual pride colours of lavender, pink and blue’ [is this really a thing? Who knew?] and unfurling the rainbow-coloured gay pride flag as she sang ‘Rule Britannia.’
Yes. Homosexuality has previously been such a massive bar to the careers of musicians and composers.
This is why you have simply never heard of Britten, Tchaikovsky, Copland, Bernstein, Poulenc, Barber, John Cage, et al. Society’s prejudice just wouldn’t allow them the break they deserved. Thank goodness the BBC has finally raised awareness of this previously un-talked-about issue!
The Last Night of the Proms, of course, is traditionally the most joyously patriotic event in the English summer season, featuring much waving of Union flags and traditional performances perhaps the three most quintessentially British classics: ‘Rule Britannia’; ‘Land of Hope And Glory’ (from Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No.1) and Parry’s setting of William Blake’s Jerusalem.
And that’s why, of course, the BBC has made it its business to hijack and destroy the event with anti-Brexit propaganda and suffocating wokeness.
The patriotic — or jingoistic, as the BBC would prefer to call them — anthems are still there but the context is such that no Brexiteer could attend the event or even watch on TV without feeling nauseous and unwelcome.
The Last Night of the Proms is the sound of the BBC parking its tanks on William Blake’s lawn and announcing: “Your Jerusalem belongs to us.”
Brexiteers have been getting the message all right:
— Liarpoliticians (@liarpoliticians) September 14, 2019
— Lord Swift (@Swift4Neil) September 14, 2019
That’s those few Brexiteers that still care, mind you. Most of us are now so heartily sick of the BBC that we strive to ignore anything with which it is associated – from news to drama to events like the Proms – because its bias is so flagrant and insulting.
It’s in this context that we should consider possibly the most ludicrous claim ever made by a BBC Director-General.
Later this week, the Telegraph reports, the BBC’s Director-General Lord Hall of Birkenhead is going to claim in a Royal Television Society lecture that the BBC’s wokeness is its strength. Apparently the BBC is going to triumph over rivals such as Amazon and Netflix because audiences appreciate its “ethical” values.
It is the BBC’s “unique mission and purpose” that makes it different, Lord Hall will say. “All audiences – young and old – believe in it. Purpose and values matter today more than ever, as people pick and choose services for ethical reasons as much as economic ones.”
Actually, it’s precisely the BBC’s ethical values which have put me off listening to all its radio output and pretty much its entire TV output (which I only watch when I have to in my role as a TV critic). Millions of people feel the same way as me – as is evident from the large numbers who have stopped paying their TV licence fee in protest.
BBC classical drama, for example, used to be the best in the world. But — as I argue in this long-read here for New English Review — it has been rendered unwatchable because of its ludicrous ‘diversity’ casting policies, which put wokeness before verisimilitude.
Now the BBC has gone and destroyed another British institution – the Last Night of the Proms. As Britain’s public service broadcaster it is supposed to serve the entire nation. It most certainly doesn’t any more. That’s why so many of us have turned to Amazon and Netflix: the BBC simply isn’t fit for purpose.