Rule Britannia faces axe in BBC’s ‘Black Lives Matter Proms’

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Napp
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Now i'm usually a staunch defender of the BBC but this seems rather beyond the pale. Censoring the most enjoyed night the proms and two of the most well known hymns (two of the unofficial anthems no less) in the name of some irreverent woke ****ery. For shame.
As far as pandering to small vocal minority goes this seems rather tasteless. Not to mention historically illiterate as neither of the songs can plausibly be remotely linked to "slavery".


The BBC is discussing whether to drop Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from the Last Night of the Proms in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The traditional anthems are hugely popular with the flag-waving prommers who ordinarily cram into the Royal Albert Hall, but organisers fear a backlash because of their perceived association with colonialism and slavery.

Dalia Stasevska, 35, from Finland, who is conducting the Last Night, is among those said to be keen to modernise the evening’s repertoire and reduce the patriotic elements.

A BBC source said: “Dalia is a big supporter of Black Lives Matter and thinks a ceremony without an audience is the perfect moment to bring change.”

The team drawing up the programme for the occasion includes David Pickard, 60, director of the BBC Proms, Stasevska, who will be only the second female conductor to preside over the Last Night of the Proms, and Golda Schultz, 36, a South African soprano.

They have been meeting regularly over Zoom but have yet to agree the Last Night programme, which is on September 12. They are also concerned about how to strike a sombre tone during a global pandemic and how to respond to the ongoing debates over race equality.

The coronavirus restrictions will certainly make it difficult to perform Rule Britannia in the traditional way, and could provide an excuse for the BBC to drop it.

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 be no audience to sing along.

Jan Younghusband, head of BBC music TV commissioning, confirmed that Rule Britannia’s place in the Last Night repertoire was still being reviewed.

She added: “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.”

The coronavirus has forced the Proms’ organisers to contend with a host of new problems, including performers’ spittle, which mean spacing is vital. Robotic cameras will also replace human operators to create more space.

Tom Service, the Radio 3 broadcaster and Proms presenter, noted that the festival had faced hard times before, including during the Second World War, but said that these were “arguably the most challenging set of conditions that the Proms have ever experienced”.

One insider described this year’s season as the “Black Lives Matter Proms”. The live performances, which begin on Friday, will open with a piece written by Hannah Kendall, 36, a black British composer, and will close with Schultz leading the Last Night’s ceremony on its 125th anniversary.

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.

Wasfi Kani, 64, chief executive of Grange Park Opera in Surrey, whose parents sought refuge in the UK after the partition of India in 1947, is among those who would cheer the removal of the songs.

“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 said.

Proms presenter Josie d’Arby, who is black, 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.” She argued that the evening should be inclusive but retain tradition: “Part of being inclusive involves including your traditional audience and the diehard fans.”

Each year, the main singer on the Last Night can include a piece close to their heart. Last year, the bisexual mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton chose Judy Garland’s Somewhere over the Rainbow, a gay anthem. Schultz is yet to announce what she has chosen, but when accepting the position, she tweeted: “Honoured to be representing for Africa”.

Last month, she said: “Dalia and I want to pay tribute to the culture that has invited us into its space, and also make sure we do something that speaks to the times we are living through.”

Camilla Kerslake, 32, the Brit-nominated soprano, suggested the lyrics could be changed: “It’s possible to find a way to respect the music but make it modern.”

The Last Night ceremony will include a new work by Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi. Schultz will also pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim, in the year of his 90th birthday, by performing two numbers from his musical A Little Night Music: Night Waltz and The Glamorous Life.

While God Save the Queen and Jerusalem will be performed, Auld Lang Syne is also in peril because it is sung by the audience.

The entire Proms repertoire has had to be reworked in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. While orchestras and choirs have shrunk, the stage has expanded, and musicians will have to have daily temperature checks.

Spitting creates one of the biggest logistical problems. “There’s a lot of spittle going on in an orchestra,” said Younghusband, who is an oboist herself. “Brass and woodwind are almost impossible, and even if you are playing a flute, you are blowing across it and blowing out. It is not possible to seat an orchestra in the normal way.”

Musicians will be spaced more than 2m apart, each turning the scores themselves, and will have stand-ins ready in case they become ill.

Ben Weston, the executive producer of Live Wire Productions, which is producing the TV coverage of the Proms, said the distancing requirements meant some works were impossible to perform: “We’d normally be able to get hundreds of people on the stage using the biggest extension, but we are talking about 30 to 40, not much more than that. We can’t do Mahler’s [Symphony No] 2, those types of works are out.”

There will be no audiences for any performances, which will affect the acoustics, making it more “lively” and also removing punctuation points such as bowing.

Presenters, including Katie Derham, will stand on a new platform in the stalls that Weston likened to a “helipad”: “You’d be amazed at how big the platform has to be for two guests and cameras. It is closer to the stage to stop Katie feeling like without an audience she is in outer space.”

Many pieces will be recorded live earlier in the day and then broadcast later, but the Last Night will be fully live.

Alan Davey, the BBC Radio 3 controller, said that it also represented an opportunity: “We have turned the Royal Albert Hall inside out . . . We can’t use the changing rooms, and everyone has a circle around them of 2m. But you can also do shots in the hall that we won’t normally do, and the hall can come to life, which it can’t when it is the background.”

Service added that he expected all the difficulties would mean that the concerts had an “extra fire” to them: “The audience’s absence will be felt, but . . . there will be a burning desire to communicate to everyone though the microphones and the cameras and to make that electricity happen.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/n...box=1598150117
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RtheBotanist
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(Original post by Napp)
Now i'm usually a staunch defender of the BBC but this seems rather beyond the pale. Censoring the most enjoyed night the proms and two of the most well known hymns (two of the unofficial anthems no less) in the name of some irreverent woke ****ery. For shame.
As far as pandering to small vocal minority goes this seems rather tasteless. Not to mention historically illiterate as neither of the songs can plausibly be remotely linked to "slavery".


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/rule-britannia-faces-axe-in-bbcs-black-lives-matter-proms-0fvhwmwlm?utm_medium=Social&utm_ source=Twitter#Echobox=1598
From their historical context, what do the songs represent if not British exceptionalism and a yearning for the glory days of the empire? Many people don't actually want to be whipped up into a weird blindly patriotic frenzy for the sake of a bit of 'unity' and 'national spirit'. I've been to an LPO concert where both these songs closed the show and the audience was given flags to wave, and I have to say I found it really uncomfortable and slightly dystopian. These songs aren't blatantly or even inherently that racist, but their historical context and the type of views that align with support for them mean that they are symbolic of more than just a bit of group identity and balanced national pride.
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Napp
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(Original post by RtheBotanist)
From their historical context, what do the songs represent if not British exceptionalism and a yearning for the glory days of the empire? Many people don't actually want to be whipped up into a weird blindly patriotic frenzy for the sake of a bit of 'unity' and 'national spirit'. I've been to an LPO concert where both these songs closed the show and the audience was given flags to wave, and I have to say I found it really uncomfortable and slightly dystopian. These songs aren't blatantly or even inherently that racist, but their historical context and the type of views that align with support for them mean that they are symbolic of more than just a bit of group identity and balanced national pride.
Wouldnt this logic thus apply to every single British institution from the BBC itself downwards then? To take the example to its logical, albeit extreme, conclusion we should be abolishing all vestiges of the British government and armed forces due to their historical links and what they represent, no?
Indeed they don't, then again i'm not sure anyone can call the Last Night of the Proms a "blind patriotic frenzy" as opposed to a cracking good night. It's hardly marching down the Mall waving flags and demanding to annex a few 3rd world countries after all.
More to the point though, i'm inclined to ask what exactly is wrong with being proud of our nations history? I myself cant see anything intrinsically wrong with being proud of the fact that Britain used to be able to sing, quite literally, about "ruling the waves". For better or worse the empire shaped the modern world after all.
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(Original post by RtheBotanist)
From their historical context, what do the songs represent if not British exceptionalism and a yearning for the glory days of the empire?
Wait, exceptionalism is bad now?
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imlikeahermit
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I assume that Brexit voters will be up in arms, I’m sure these songs playing loud and clear on every radio station far and wide on the day we completely cut all ties with the EU was what they would have imagined. You know, since we’ll have the empire back...

To the issue in hand, just more left wing cancel culture. I don’t really care either way, however this left wing rubbish needs to stop. This will not be popular with the majority of voters, only your virtue signalling celebs. Interested to see what line Starmer has on this.
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Black lives only matter more like

Amazing you Brits are forced to pay for their propaganda.. What a country.
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(Original post by civilwar2020)
Black lives only matter more like

Amazing you Brits are forced to pay for their propaganda.. What a country.
You don't have to pay for it. I don't. Never have, never will.

The BBC should just get it over with and change their name to 'Big black c**k', because that is basically what they have been figuratively sucking upon for the past decade.
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RtheBotanist
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(Original post by Napp)
Wouldnt this logic thus apply to every single British institution from the BBC itself downwards then? To take the example to its logical, albeit extreme, conclusion we should be abolishing all vestiges of the British government and armed forces due to their historical links and what they represent, no?
Indeed they don't, then again i'm not sure anyone can call the Last Night of the Proms a "blind patriotic frenzy" as opposed to a cracking good night. It's hardly marching down the Mall waving flags and demanding to annex a few 3rd world countries after all.
More to the point though, i'm inclined to ask what exactly is wrong with being proud of our nations history? I myself cant see anything intrinsically wrong with being proud of the fact that Britain used to be able to sing, quite literally, about "ruling the waves". For better or worse the empire shaped the modern world after all.
Most British institutions serve a purpose other than solely as a symbol and reminder of the empire, so this logic wouldn't apply to them.

And seriously, you're proud that we colonised and subjugated millions of indigenous people, taking their resources, brutally murdering dissidents and justifying it all with racist pseudoscience? That was the entire premise of the empire and Britain as a major military power. It's great to be interested in UK history, but being proud of an oppressive regime (or rather, an oppressive regime in each colonised nation) seems a bit off to me.

It's scary that people like you actually give moral credence to a country that destroyed so much human life, without even a noble cause as an excuse.
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(Original post by Ascend)
Wait, exceptionalism is bad now?
We're not even in the top 10 countries by HDI.

And the alternative to praising the UK's superiority nowadays is praising its power and influence historically, which was based on mass subjugation and killing.
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(Original post by RtheBotanist)
We're not even in the top 10 countries by HDI.

And the alternative to praising the UK's superiority nowadays is praising its power and influence historically, which was based on mass subjugation and killing.
It is however ironically exceptional for the UK and other Western societies to not only acknowledge but also self-flagellate over their historical injustices when virtually every powerful empire throughout history was built on equal if not worse injustices. The very notion of human rights and the anticolonial narrative you're using has been exceptionally Western since its inception.

Not that I have any particular problem with it. It makes sense for a society of high standards to hold itself to them. But let's not kid ourselves that those higher standards are not exceptional relative to other states and societies.
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It is however ironically exceptional for the UK and other Western societies to not only acknowledge but also self-flagellate over their historical injustices when virtually every powerful empire throughout history was built on equal if not worse injustices. The very notion of human rights and the anticolonial narrative you're using has been exceptionally Western since its inception.

Not that I have any particular problem with it. It makes sense for a society of high standards to hold itself to them. But let's not kid ourselves that those higher standards are not exceptional relative to other states and societies.
I'll happily admit that the UK provides a better standard of living than most countries, even the majority of the developed world. However, I don't think it's right to celebrate and praise any regime that committed atrocities. I hold issue with:

- People wanting to bring back the 'glory days', when we've actually improved in every objective metric other than power over the rest of the world.
- People giving moral credence to oppressive regimes. While we can acknowledge any good that came out of the empire or any other, we can't label the regime itself as 'good' or worthy of moral gratitude for this when it has been causing immense suffering elsewhere.
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(Original post by RtheBotanist)
I'll happily admit that the UK provides a better standard of living than most countries, even the majority of the developed world. However, I don't think it's right to celebrate and praise any regime that committed atrocities. I hold issue with:

- People wanting to bring back the 'glory days', when we've actually improved in every objective metric other than power over the rest of the world.
- People giving moral credence to oppressive regimes. While we can acknowledge any good that came out of the empire or any other, we can't label the regime itself as 'good' or worthy of moral gratitude for this when it has been causing immense suffering elsewhere.
I agree there.
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It's all about demonising and creating self hate and removing any kind of national ethnic disctictivness

I'm boycotting BBC (not that i pay their stupid license) and anyone who supports them.
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Napp
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(Original post by RtheBotanist)
Most British institutions serve a purpose other than solely as a symbol and reminder of the empire, so this logic wouldn't apply to them.
1. That isnt what you said
2. The songs clearly serve a deeper point that simple nostalgia
3. It still does.
And seriously, you're proud that we colonised and subjugated millions of indigenous people, taking their resources, brutally murdering dissidents and justifying it all with racist pseudoscience? That was the entire premise of the empire and Britain as a major military power. It's great to be interested in UK history, but being proud of an oppressive regime (or rather, an oppressive regime in each colonised nation) seems a bit off to me.

It's scary that people like you actually give moral credence to a country that destroyed so much human life, without even a noble cause as an excuse.
:rofl: the fact your knowledge of British history ends at "Britain bad" rather speaks volumes. If you are ignorant of the fact the empire shaped the world, that lack of knowledge is on you.
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(Original post by RtheBotanist)
I'll happily admit that the UK provides a better standard of living than most countries, even the majority of the developed world. However, I don't think it's right to celebrate and praise any regime that committed atrocities. I hold issue with:
Would you kindly name a single, solitary, government that actually meets this quaint definition then?
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(Original post by Napp)
1. That isnt what you said
2. The songs clearly serve a deeper point that simple nostalgia
3. It still does.


:rofl: the fact your knowledge of British history ends at "Britain bad" rather speaks volumes. If you are ignorant of the fact the empire shaped the world, that lack of knowledge is on you.
Sure, the empire shaped the world, it even helped some areas develop economically. Doesn't mean we should assign it moral value though and pretend that its purpose wasn't to economically exploit as much of the world as possible, regardless of the human cost. At the time of the empire, all the other empires were bad too, and probably some of the places they colonised as well. Why do we need to celebrate any of them rather than just being aware that it all happened?
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Apparently the BBC aren’t removing the songs completely, just the lyrics.

I don’t know how the BBC intend to stop people from waving the Union Jack, the Red Dragon, The Saltire or any other flag, and singing along though...

The LNP will happen on septembre 12th and will feature no audience, and include a “new arrangement” of Jerusalem...

The lyrics will return after the pandemic, so it’s all good.
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If they were imaginative, it is the Beethoven 250th anniversary year and Beethoven wrote a set of 5 piano variations on Rule Britannia. Problem solved.
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(Original post by RtheBotanist)
From their historical context, what do the songs represent if not British exceptionalism and a yearning for the glory days of the empire? Many people don't actually want to be whipped up into a weird blindly patriotic frenzy for the sake of a bit of 'unity' and 'national spirit'. I've been to an LPO concert where both these songs closed the show and the audience was given flags to wave, and I have to say I found it really uncomfortable and slightly dystopian. These songs aren't blatantly or even inherently that racist, but their historical context and the type of views that align with support for them mean that they are symbolic of more than just a bit of group identity and balanced national pride.
We are often told that we should "celebrate diversity" and yet when people try to celebrate British culture we are accused of being racist. So can people make up their mind, is celebrating culture a good thing or not?

I've been to some proms and I really enjoy Rule Britannia. There's something about the way you see people from all walks of life uniting together in song, with pride. It's like all the usual daily stress and grind is put to one side and we celebrate our history and culture in friendship together. I don't believe Britain or the British people are superior to anyone else, but there are lots of little things that make me proud of our culture. The stiff upper lip, the blitz spirit. The tea, I always love a cuppa. We queue like civilized people instead of mad scrambles. I don't see why it's wrong to celebrate culture?

Maybe that's old fashioned and people today just aren't into patriotism. Fair enough I suppose. But try to imagine an interest that you feel passionate about, something that doesn't harm anybody, and yet other people tell you you shouldn't be doing it or try to cancel it. Wouldn't you feel that was unfair for them to try and dictate what you should be doing?
Last edited by JWatch; 1 month ago
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
If they were imaginative, it is the Beethoven 250th anniversary year and Beethoven wrote a set of 5 piano variations on Rule Britannia. Problem solved.
How very interesting. Unfortunately, they aren’t really.

That would have been nice to hear in the Albert Hall.
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