Britannia gagged: Insider claims BBC's bungled decision to play Last Night of the Proms anthems but not SING the 'racist' words that offend the woke was taken by 'scared white guys in a panic'

A BBC insider has slammed the corporation's bungled decision to play Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia without lyrics at the last Night of the Proms following a racism row. 
A source told The Times the BBC's handling of the programme at times felt like 'white guys in a panic' trying to appease the Black Lives Matter movement because of the songs' apparent links to colonialism and slavery.
The BBC last night said 'new orchestral versions' of the hugely popular anthems would feature in the rousing finale of its concert next month. 
Neither will be sung even though a soprano will perform the National Anthem, Jerusalem and You'll Never Walk Alone. There will be no live audience because of coronavirus restrictions.
A BBC source claimed Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia would not be sung because 'we can't do it justice without a full choir and an audience to sing along'.
The insider insisted that the singing would return next year. But the BBC's move was condemned as a 'complete cop-out' last night.
Jamie Barton waving the the rainbow flag at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London last year, while singing Rule Britannia
Jamie Barton waving the the rainbow flag at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London last year, while singing Rule Britannia
'There's no reason they shouldn't have anyone singing,' said arts commentator Norman Lebrecht. 'None of the Government guidelines forbid it.
'The BBC have shown no ingenuity and no imagination. There's no reason the Albert Hall should be empty – 500 yards down the road Cadogan Hall is putting on concerts with audiences. It has been really a season of dereliction by the BBC, a failure of imagination.
'It's a complete cop-out. I'm afraid it's another of those really weak BBC moments and as far as the Proms is concerned it's an act of self-harm.'
Father Marcus Walker, the rector at Great St Bartholomew's in London, also condemned the move.
He tweeted: 'Hilarious that people are dressing the BBC promising 'orchestral versions' of Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia as a retreat; it's nothing of the sort, it's gutting the songs of their words – of their meaning.'
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant told BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning: 'I think it's all very sad, there are some lovely words in Rule Britannia, it's not all about Britain not being slaves. You've got 'other nations not so blessed as thee must in their turn to tyrants fall while thou shalt flourish great and free'. Isn't that lovely?
'It was written in 1740. What was happening then? There was the War of Austrian Succession in which Britain was involved but it was also a time when the British allowed nationality to Jews and Huguenots overseas, so Britain was a great Liberal, trading nation.
'The National Anthem will be sung and Jerusalem will be sung so it seems like they are trying to pick out just these two songs. Confident, forward-looking nations do not erase their history, they add to it.
'And Britain's history is not all bad, we abolished slavery in 1807, more than 50 years before America got round to it, so that is something we could be proud. I can live with that [songs being sung by one person].
'When you hear some of these opera singers belting it out I don't think you'd say it's a thin voice. Let's just have one voice singing these songs loudly, why not? It's a tradition and it's a beautiful tune.'
The BBC made the announcement after reports that the organisers of the event wanted the songs dropped altogether because of their association with British colonialism.
The songs are part of the final night's finale, when thousands of flagwaving 'prommers' traditionally pack the Royal Albert Hall.
However, critics argue that the lyrics to Rule Britannia, including the line 'Britons never, never, never shall be slaves', are overtly racist given the UK's prominent role in the slave trade – and also the implication that some people could be slaves.
The 1902 lyrics of Land of Hope and Glory were reputedly inspired by Cecil Rhodes, an imperialist and mining magnate whose statue is being removed from an Oxford college following protests.
At the weekend, it was reported that the conductor for this year's Last Night, Dalia Stasevska of Finland, was keen to reduce the patriotic elements of the event, and that this year, without an audience, was the perfect moment to bring about change.
That led to a backlash yesterday, with even the Prime Minister and Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, getting involved.
In a bid to defuse the row, BBC bosses finally announced last night that the Last Night on September 12 would still feature 'familiar, patriotic elements'.
Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia are 'racist propaganda'
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time0:34
Fullscreen
Need Text
Black studies professor Kehinde Andrews (bottom right) clashed with freedom of speech campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman (bottom left) on ITV's Good Morning Britain today in a debate hosted by Adil Ray (top left) and Charlotte Hawkins (top right)
Black studies professor Kehinde Andrews (bottom right) clashed with freedom of speech campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman (bottom left) on ITV's Good Morning Britain today in a debate hosted by Adil Ray (top left) and Charlotte Hawkins (top right)
During the debate on ITV's Good Morning Britain, freedom of speech campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman said criticism of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory was 'absurd', adding that they bring 'a lot of people joy and happiness'
During the debate on ITV's Good Morning Britain, freedom of speech campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman said criticism of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory was 'absurd', adding that they bring 'a lot of people joy and happiness'
It said: 'With much reduced musical forces and no live audience, the Proms will curate a concert that includes familiar, patriotic elements such as Jerusalem and the National Anthem, and bring in new moments capturing the mood of this unique time, including You'll Never Walk Alone, presenting a poignant and inclusive event for 2020.
'The programme will include a new arrangement by Errollyn Wallen of Hubert Parry's Jerusalem alongside new orchestral versions of Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 'Land of Hope and Glory' (arr. Anne Dudley) and Rule Britannia as part of the Sea Songs, as Henry Wood did in 1905.'
But sources confirmed to the Mail that Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, which in the hall are traditionally sung by a vocal soloist, choir or both, as the audience join in, would appear as 'new orchestral versions' and without lyrics.
A BBC Source said: 'No one will be singing those songs in the hall they will be musical versions only – as Henry Wood the founder of the Proms played them in 1905.'
The announcement came just hours after Boris Johnson warned the BBC against dropping Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory. Downing Street said the Prime Minister believed in tackling the 'substance' of problems, rather than 'symbols'.
Mr Dowden tweeted: 'Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are highlights of the Last Night of the Proms.
'I share concerns of many about their potential removal and have raised this with BBC. Confident forward-looking nations don't erase their history, they add to it.'
But Kehinde Andrews, a black studies professor at Birmingham City University, said the words were 'racist propaganda' from the days of the British Empire.
Chi-chi Nwanoku, a noted classical musician, said she had written to the Proms in a plea to drop Rule Britannia. She said: 'It's so irrelevant to today's society. It's been irrelevant for generations, and we seem to keep perpetuating it.'
The singing of Rule Britannia by the star vocalist and the choir has always been much-loved part of the event.  

During a debate on ITV's Good Morning Britain, freedom of speech campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman insisted criticism of the two songs was 'absurd', adding that they bring 'a lot of people joy and happiness'.
However Kehinde Andrews, a black studies professor at Birmingham City University, claimed the line 'Britons never, never, never shall be slaves' from Rule Britannia is 'racist propaganda' from the days of the British Empire.
His comments have been echoed by musicians Chi-chi Nwanoku, who founded the first BAME majority orchestra in Europe, and Wasfi Kani, founder of Grange Park Opera in Surrey, who are also uncomfortable with the line.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Mr Andrews, who told how he did not watch the Proms, said: 'I don't think it's about banning the songs, it's about saying what songs are appropriate.

''Britons never, never, never shall be slaves,' - that's racist propaganda at a time when Britain was the leading slave trading nation in the world. The idea that we're having this conversation now, that's a disgrace.'
He added said: 'The fact that the majority of people think this is OK doesn't mean it's OK. That's because of a deficit in our school system that don't teach the horrors of the British Empire. It's not something to celebrate.
'Land of Hope and Glory, a much more reasonable name for the song would have been Land of Racism and Servitude. I understand that's not a catchy song, but that's the nature of the country we're talking about.'
But Ms Iman accused Mr Andrews of having a 'one dimensional view of Britain', adding: 'He sees it as a land of racism and hate and all of these things, that's completely and fundamentally divorced from what most people believe to Britain.
'We recognise that it has a complex history full of horror and terror but also triumph and uplifting things. I think we need to teach history holistically and not try and teach a narrative of cultural self loathing, which I think is very divisive.
'I don't think this helps a single ethnic minority life. I find it very hypocritical that a lot of people don't have a problem with music that talks about stabbing and violence and the N word this and the N word that, but a song that brings a lot of joy to the British people is somehow an issue of censorship.'
She also argued: 'Many things are being done in the names of ethnic minorities, protecting them and stopping them being offended, when that's simply not how they feel and I'm being spoken for when actually his song brings a lot of people joy and happiness.
'The majority of people don't listen to the song and go 'oh we want to reimpose colonialism and slavery,' songs can take on new meaning, it's become part of a new story that represents pride.'
But Nwanoku, founder of the Chineke! Foundation which supports upcoming BAME musicians, told The Guardian : 'The lyrics are just so offensive, talking about the 'haughty tyrants' – people that we are invading on their land and calling them haughty tyrants – and Britons shall never be slaves, which implies that it's OK for others to be slaves but not us.
'It's so irrelevant to today's society. It's been irrelevant for generations, and we seem to keep perpetuating it. If the BBC are talking about Black Lives Matter and their support for the movement, how could you possibly have Rule Britannia as the last concert – in any concert?'
Ms Kani also raised concerns with the line on slavery, telling BBC Radio 4: 'I'm Indian, my parents came from India, I received a wonderful education in Britain, but I don't actually feel very British when I hear things like that.
'I don't feel very British when I have people say to me 'go home p***.''
The musician instead suggested the songs could be replaced with I Vow to Thee My Country or The Beatles' All You Need Is Love.
M s Kani, whose parents sought refuge in Britain after the partition of India in 1947, also told the Sunday Times: '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.' 
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that 'confident, forward-looking nations don't erase their history'.
He wrote on Twitter: 'Rule Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory are highlights of the Last Night of the Proms.
'(I) Share concerns of many about their potential removal and have raised this with (the) BBC.
'Confident forward-looking nations don't erase their history, they add to it.
Flag-waving crowds will be absent from London's Royal Albert Hall during the 125th annual Last Night of the Proms concert due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Organisers have been forced to change the entire Proms season because of coronavirus restrictions, which limit the number of singers and musicians who can perform together.
Live audiences have been banned, and this year's conductor for the Last Night, Dalia Stasevska, 35, from Finland, was said to be keen to modernise the evening's repertoire and reduce its patriotic elements.
A BBC source told the Sunday Times: 'Dalia is a big supporter of Black Lives Matter and thinks a ceremony without an audience is the perfect moment to bring change.'
A BBC spokesman refused to confirm or deny reports that the songs could be dropped, but said plans for the Last Night were still being finalised. 
Proms tweets
Proms tweets
Proms tweets
Proms tweets
Proms tweets
Proms tweets
Proms tweets
Proms tweets
The songs have become a popular fixture in the BBC's programming for the final night of the Proms, when thousands of flag-waving 'prommers' normally descend on the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, West London (pictured on September 8, 2012)
The songs have become a popular fixture in the BBC's programming for the final night of the Proms, when thousands of flag-waving 'prommers' normally descend on the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, West London (pictured on September 8, 2012) 
Flags are waved during The Last Night of the Proms celebration at Hyde Park in London on September 14, 2019
Flags are waved during The Last Night of the Proms celebration at Hyde Park in London on September 14, 2019
The songs are best known for being a triumphant finish to the BBC's coverage of the Proms each year (file picture)
The songs are best known for being a triumphant finish to the BBC's coverage of the Proms each year (file picture) 
Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are both popular anthems at the Proms but there have been previous calls for them to be dropped over perceived associations with colonialism and slavery.

Organisers of this year's Proms were said to be considering ditching them in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests but have yet to agree the controversial move, according to the Sunday Times.
Miss Stasevska has been involved in regular Zoom calls with David Pickard, 60, director of the BBC Proms, to discuss the night's programme, along with South African soprano Golda Schultz, 36, who will perform.
Organisers have had to scale back the number of musicians on stage because of social distancing requirements. 
Rule Britannia is usually performed by 80 members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a 100-strong choir, but this year a much smaller orchestra will play alongside just 18 singers. 
Jan Younghusband, head of BBC music TV commissioning, confirmed that Rule Britannia's inclusion in the Last Night repertoire was still under review.
She said: 'We have a lot of problems about how many instruments we can have. It is hard to know whether it is physically possible to do it.
'Some of the traditional tunes, like Jerusalem, are easier to perform... We also don't know if we'll be in a worse situation in two weeks' time.'
Rule Britannia, a poem by Scottish playwright James Thomson, was set to music by English composer Thomas Arne in 1740.
But lyrics including the line 'Britons never, never, never shall be slaves' have prompted anger in light of Britain's own role in the slave trade.
Land of Hope and Glory was composed by Edward Elgar and Arthur Benson later added the lyrics in 1902.
The words were reputedly inspired by colonialist Cecil Rhodes, whose statue was among those targeted for removal by the Black Lives Matter protests.
Politicians and campaigners voiced their anger over moves to drop the songs.
International trade minister Ranil Jayawardena, the MP for North East Hampshire, shared an article about the row with his followers on Twitter.
He wrote: 'What a load of... [sic] This is a chance for BBC bosses to prove they have ventured outside the M25 and understand the British people, rather than just campaign groups and lobbyists in London.'
Conservative MP Paul Bristow tweeted: 'Is it time to put the BBC out of its licence fee misery? It must be painful for them to be funded by millions of people it no longer has anything in common with?' 
Protesters at a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside Tottenham police station in North London on August 8
 Protesters at a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside Tottenham police station in North London on August 8
Dalia Stasevska (pictured front with her violin in Peenemuende, Germany, in September 2012) is conducting the Last Night
Dalia Stasevska (pictured front with her violin in Peenemuende, Germany, in September 2012) is conducting the Last Night

And Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage tweeted: 'So the BBC may drop Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from The Proms because the Finnish conductor is too woke. Why not drop her instead?'
Headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh, whose father was Indian-Guyanese and whose mother was Jamaican, said she had 'waved flags and sang Rule Britannia' at the Royal Albert Hall last year with black friends.
She said: 'The white people in the audience did not tell us to stop, that the song isn't ours, that we are too black to sing it. So what's the problem?'
Susan Hall, the leader of the Conservatives in the Greater London Authority, said: 'Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are favourites for millions of us.
'Why should so many of us have traditions wrecked because it's considered non PC - ridiculous.'
Former Brexit MEP Alexandra Phillips tweeted: 'Do this at your peril, BBC. If you ban patriotic songs at Last Night of the Proms you should have the name British Broadcasting Corporation rescinded.
'You do not represent our nation, culture or heritage. You represent those who wish to destroy it.'
Former Conservative MP Neil Hamilton said the BBC had 'decided to surrender to the Black Lives Matter mob'.
Proms presenter Josie d'Arby, who is black, said the Proms programme this year reflected 'respect for the current climate'.
She said the Last Night should be inclusive but retain tradition, adding: 'Part of being inclusive involves including your traditional audience and the diehard fans.' 
Live performances at the Royal Albert Hall start on Friday with a piece written by Hannah Kendall, 36, a black British composer.
The Proms' live soloists include Anoushka Shankar, who will perform on the sitar in honour of her late father, Ravi; the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason - who played at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - and his sister, the pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason; and the Japanese-born pianist Mitsuko Uchida.
A BBC spokesman said: 'We are still finalising arrangements for the Last Night of the Proms so that we are able to respond to the latest advice in regards to Covid-19 and deliver the best offering possible for audiences.
'We have announced that conductor Dalia Stasevska, soprano Golda Schultz and the BBC Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Last Night of the Proms this year. Full details will be announced nearer the time.'
Britannia gagged: Insider claims BBC's bungled decision to play Last Night of the Proms anthems but not SING the 'racist' words that offend the woke was taken by 'scared white guys in a panic' Britannia gagged: Insider claims BBC's bungled decision to play Last Night of the Proms anthems but not SING the 'racist' words that offend the woke was taken by 'scared white guys in a panic' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 02:04 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.