The Sunday Times has been heavily criticised for running a race-baiting “non-story” that suggests Proms organisers could drop Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from the Last Night.
According to ‘BBC sources’ the traditional songs could face the axe this year in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement – despite there being little evidence to suggest that people are agitating for this.
It is more likely that coronavirus restrictions will make performing such numbers difficult.
Rule Britannia is usually performed by about 80 members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a chorus of more than 100 singers.
But social distancing guidelines mean the orchestra is expected to be at about half of its normal strength, with only about 18 singers able to perform.
There will also be no audience to sing along.
Lazy, race-baiting radio phone-in tropes
LBC presenter James O’Brien was among those who took umbrage to the spurious claims, tweeting that this is a “perfect example of how lazy, race-baiting radio phone-in tropes have infiltrated the highest levels of journalism.
“There is next to nobody agitating for this but I could make the phones ring off the hook tomorrow with misled people ‘outraged’ by a complete non-story.”
Of course, these days ‘Land Of Hope & Glory’ could be banned under the Trade Descriptions Act.— James O’Brien (@mrjamesob) August 23, 2020
But that didn’t stop the Daily Express running with the story on its front page this morning.
The tabloid newspaper, which has become the mouthpiece of the right wing, expressed outrage that the BBC is considering such changes:
Totally losing touch
Andrea Leadsom was among those most displeased after the Daily Mail also latched onto the story, accusing the Beeb of “totally losing touch”.
Former UKIP MEP Roger Helmer also tweeted his disapproval, citing claims that “too few of the black community choose to watch it”, which is completely unfounded.
“So are we to be denied access to cultural events unless sufficient black people want them?”, he questioned.