‘Black Lives Matter Proms’: BBC May Scrap ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ from Last Night

People wave flags at the Royal Albert Hall in west London on September 7, 2013 during the
CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images

The BBC is reportedly considering the idea of scrapping patriotic songs Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory in a push to “decolonise” the broadcast of the Last Night of the Proms in response to the iconoclastic Black Lives Matter movement.

The left-leaning, publicly-funded broadcaster is apparently set to remove the patriotic songs from the Last Night of the Proms, the culmination of an eight-week classical music celebration of British heritage and culture, predominantly held in the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The conductor of the Last Night celebrations this year, Ukrainian-born Finnish citizen Dalia Stasevska, 35, is said to be in favour of removing patriotic elements of the concert.

“Dalia is a big supporter of Black Lives Matter and thinks a ceremony without an audience [due to coronavirus restrictions] is the perfect moment to bring change,” a source told The Times.

Black British Proms presenter Josie d’Arby said: “This year, everyone is thinking about racial equality… The Proms has always done that, but… it is upping it out of respect for the current climate.”

The chief executive of Grange Park Opera in Surrey, Wasfi Kani, 64, whose parents came to the United Kingdom from India, is also in favour of scrapping the patriotic songs from the performance.

“I don’t listen to Land of Hope and Glory and say ‘thank God I’m British’ — it actually makes me feel more alienated. Britain raped India and that is what that song is celebrating,” she alleged.

The mooted removal of the songs has drawn considerable backlash online, with many slamming the BBC’s capitulation to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney said: “In 2020 so far, the BBC has axed free licences for the over 75s & now plans to ‘cancel’ Rule Britannia from its ridiculous Black Lives Matter Proms.”

“Never has an organisation been more out of touch with its customer base!” he pronounced.

The leader of the Greater London Authority (GLA) Conservatives, Susan Hall wrote: “Stop this nonsense now!! Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are favourites of millions of us. Why should so many of us have traditions wrecked because it’s considered non PC — ridiculous!”

Earlier this month, the broadcaster removed musical version of Mandalay, the 1890 poem by Rudyard Kipling, from the televised celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the Victory over Japan (VJ) Day.

The removal was prompted by complaints from Jamaican-born opera singer, Sir Willard White, who claimed that the poem was an example of “cultural superiority” because a line in the verse described a Buddha statue in Burma as a ‘[h]eathen idol’.

The song was often sung by members of the British military in the Burmese campaign in the Second World War, with its removal causing considerable upset among the surviving veterans of the ‘Forgotten War’.

Correction: The original version of this story reported that conductor Dalia Stasevska was born in Finland. It has been corrected to reflect the fact that Stasevska is a Finnish citizen born in the Ukraine.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


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