Great Britain

POLL: Should 'Rule Britannia' and 'Land of Hope and Glory' be BANNED from Proms? VOTE

The latest demands for the songs to be dropped are being led by BBC musix expert Richard Morrison - who studied music at Cambridge University and has been a judge on BBC Young Musician of the Year. Writing in BBC Music Magazine, he said chanting the songs in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests would be "insensitive, bordering on incendiary".

I can detect absolutely no sign of irony as they roar out these crudely jingoistic texts

Richard Morrison

The traditional, patriotic songs are always hugely popular with the flag-waving crowds who cram into the Royal Albert Hall for the annual music extravaganza.

But Mr Morrison takes a different view, describing the showstoppers a "toe-curling embarrassing anachronistic farrago of nationalistic songs".

And he urged BBC music bosses to replace the songs with a "more reflective" grande finale which does not "provoke offence or ridicule" but "reflects the attitudes of its 21st-century performers and audiences, not their Edwardian predecessors".


The Last Night of the Proms (Image: PA)

Crowds will be absent from the Royal Albert Hall because of the coronavirus pandemic which Mr Morrison said provided an opportunity to scrap what most fans view as the concert's most stirring moments.

Writing in BBC Music magazine he said: "When I look around me - particularly at the people sitting in the posh seats whom I've never seen at any other Proms - and realise that I can detect absolutely no sign of irony as they roar out these crudely jingoistic texts.

"On the contrary, they seem to mean every single word. And even if they don't, what comes across to the worldwide TV audience is a stereotype of Little England that was already being lampooned when I first went to the Proms half a century ago.

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The Last Night of the Proms

Last Night of the Proms love to belt out Rule Britannia (Image: PA)

"With massed choirs and a packed, flag-waving audience ruled out on medical grounds, there will never be a better moment to drop that toe-curling embarrassing anachronistic farrago of nationalistic songs that concludes the Last Night of the Proms.

"And I don't meant drop them just for this year. I mean forever.

"They form a kind of unholy trinity: Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and Rule, Britannia!

"Jerusalem I can just about endure, though I think the questioning, almost incredulous nuances of William Blake's words are being massively misunderstood if they are hurled out like a football chant.

"But the other two? Each year I try to convince myself that they are being performed 'ironically'.

"After all, there can't be many people in 2020 who think that Britain really does rule the waves or that God will make us 'mightier still' with each passing epoch.

"How else could you sing those words, except as history re-enacted as farce?"

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Proms bosses are facing calls to ban he patriotic grande finale (Image: PA)

Mr Morrison is not the first to call for the songs to be axed.

Pop singer Lily Allen provoked outrage last year when took to social media to demand bans claiming they contained lyrics on slavery and links to the British Empire.

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