The 2019 BBC Proms season ended yesterday with the now traditional Last Night celebrations. In the second half of the concert at the Royal Albert Hall, we heard part of Henry Wood’s arrangement of the Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March #1, aka Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia! and of course Elgar’s orchestration of Parry and Blake’s Jerusalem.
It was all good stirring stuff, added to which there was the overture to Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld - which includes the Can Can - and Percy Grainger’s Marching Song of Democracy. All who attended appeared to be having a grand time. But at the Northcliffe House and Baby Shard bunkers, there was deep disquiet at what the BBC was broadcasting. Because many Promenaders were waving EU flags.
Worse, some wore EU berets. It was all too much for the Mail, which proclaimed “BBC viewers slam anti-Brexit campaigners for hijacking Last Night of the Proms by waving EU flags”. The Sun concurred, telling its audience “FOOL BRITANNIA BBC viewers blast anti-Brexit campaigners for ‘hijacking’ Last Night of the Proms by waving EU flags”.
The Mail droned on “Viewers of the Last Night Of The Proms last night voiced their disgust that the concert had been hijacked by anti-Brexit campaigners waving EU flags … Those watching live on BBC1 took to social media to air their fury … One wrote on Twitter: 'The Remoaners have hijacked a British institution with all the EU flags at The Last Night Of the Proms’ … Another said: 'Just watched it now - full of EU flags and hats. I really want to know what motivates these EU fanatics. They must hate their country.’”
The Sun added “The flag stunt was organised by an anti-Brexit campaign group but many BBC viewers condemned what they claimed was the politicising of the traditional evening … Others took aim at the BBC with one tweeting: ‘Disgusted to see the Last Night of the Proms politicised by remainers - shame on them and the bbc.’”
And three things here. One, all those wearing EU berets and waving EU flags did so of their own volition: none of them were coerced into the act. Moreover, it’s not as if the Proms is some kind of elitist bash: the Prommers’ standing tickets, for most Proms, cost £5. So does standing up in the Gods. My seat in the Rausing Circle at an August prom cost all of £12.50. These are ordinary people making a voluntary choice.
Two, of the two Twitter accounts that the Mail article shows, one Retweets a lot of stuff from people whose bios contain the phrase “No surrender”, with the other Retweeting the Brexit Party and a lot of people whose bios contain the word “Patriot”. Of the millions who watched the broadcast, that’s not exactly the most representative sample.
And Three, just to show just how desperate our free and fearless press is to shut out reality, the Mail has even whined about the selection of music. Seriously. “There were also accusations of bias in the music selection, with some saying the inclusion of The Marching Song Of Democracy by Percy Grainger was pointedly political”. Oh what a giveaway!
The Mail says democracy is A Very Bad Thing! Someone’s 1930s slip is showing. But seriously, this is press panic at the realisation that Brexit is not as popular as they believe. Last night showed the tide has most definitely turned. I’ll just leave that one there.
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And it's been like this for years. Not that Sun and Mail readers will have noticed, because they were all watching Britain's Got Talent. But they know how the Proms should be, or how they were before those rotten lefties got their hands on them.
It's the same howls of rage whenever they cast a black actress at the RSC. Like the average Sun reader would be seen dead in a theatre. But they have this preconceived idea of what a thing [i]should[/i] be like, and damn reality.
"I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms" so sang Billy Bragg once, and I always concurred...until last night that is.
It must be so galling for these caricatured Brits like Farage, Boris and Rees Mogg (is it just me or do they all look like a Beano cartoon example of a toffee-nosed British zealot?) to learn that they can't claim such a traditionally British institution for themselves. It's not surprising the knives are out from their propaganda machines.
Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are not political, of course (although Elgar hated his music being co-opted for displays of jingoism).
I beg to disagree, Mark. Picture Farage wearing a striped pullover and a beret and smoking a Gaulois Bleu - the image of a cheap French pimp who beats his toms. Put a leather great coat on Rees-Mogg - an aristocratic Gestapo sadist who has ways of making you talk. As for Johnson - would you trust him anywhere near a little girl? Comparing them to beloved Beano characters misses their essential nastiness.
Stirring music doesn't help dispel the deluded idiocy of a country sinking under the weight of too many Little Englanders and Alf Garnetts.
Much-missed Spike Milligan once said Hitler got Wagner a bad name. Looks like the Murdoch/Rothermere goons are on the same road.
When the media selectively pick out Tweets to show their pre-chosen narrative or point of view is annoying, isn't it Tim?
The difference is of course Tim isn't far right corporate media, doesn't support "austerity" and its deliberately inflicted poverty, and didn't launch foreign wars that killed hundreds of thousands of innocents while also creating millions of refugees.
I hope this helps. But I doubt it.
What Anon said @ 18.46.
I just spoke to my Brexit pal here in Sydney who I know is a Proms fan and yes, he attended the live broadcast performance at a Sydney theatre where they live stream the Proms for the foolhardy who like music at odd hours, to 1000s in the audience with obviously many ex-pats. And yes he noticed the EU flags but only after being prompted and actually said "makes you proud to be British, everyone gets a say".
If there had been 1000s of tweets the Mail / Sun may have had reason but there weren't. This IS Fake News and bordering on Fascist claptrap.What is depressing is that 10,000s of people may actually believe the atrocious lies in these gutter antidemocratic rags.
More to the point, he's clear that this blog is opinion. The Mail and Sun articles are opinion dressed up as reportage.
They've dusted off their outraged editorials form the London 2012 opening ceremony.
You know, the one that had nurses and non-white people enjoying life.
Makes you wonder what the tabloid columnists would select as their British cultural touchstones?
* A fox hunt.
* William the bastard harrying the north.
* Rudolph Hess enjoying a nice cup of tea.
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