Politicians defend Rule Britannia & Land of Hope and Glory amid the BBC cancelling their lyrics.
The BBC has been heavily criticised over its decision to censor the lyrics of the Proms anthems and play instrumental versions because woke activists find them “racist”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions and about our culture, and we stop this general bout of self-recrimination and wetness.”
Tory MP David Morris said: “We cannot erase our history. We have got to be proud to be British. It does not matter what colour, creed or religion you are.”
Sir Keir Starmer had also entered into the row defending the “pomp and pageantry” as “a staple of British summer”. When asked if he backed the move to censor the words to Rule Britannia, a Labour spokesman said: “Enjoying patriotic songs does not – and should not – present a barrier to examining our past and learning lessons from it.”
However, Kehinde Andrews, a black studies professor at Birmingham City University, said that the line “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves” from Rule Britannia is racist propaganda dating back to the British Empire, which was the topic on ITV’s This Morning when Nigel Farage and Femi Oluwole were involved in a heated debate.
When Eamonn Holmes asked why he had an issue with the lyrics of Rule Britannia, Femi stated: “Most people don’t really care about that song because we almost never sing it. But as for that song specifically, it was written at a time that the UK was actively engaged in the slave trade, selling people across the waves, selling black slaves, so they were singing about how we ourselves will never be slaves.”
Nigel Farage responded by saying, “We have always been about liberty, and I make this point to Femi – rather than constantly attacking everything this country has ever stood for, can we agree it’s a very good thing that Britain did rule the waves, because for 50 years in the 1800s, it was the British Navy that got rid of the slave trade when all the other countries wanted to continue it.”
The BBC’s controversial decision has reignited the debate regarding the TV licence fee, with Brexit Party Chairman Richard Tice saying: “If the BBC wants to cancel our patriotism and our history by not singing Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory … I want to cancel my licence fee. They are in breach of their contact with the British people.”
The BBC has blamed the decision on Covid-19 as there is to be no audience, and the anthems have parts where the audience sings along. They have stated the lyrics will be sung at next year’s event.