Not much – that is to say, nothing – on my social network pages about the Last Night of the Proms. Yet just a couple of weeks ago, people were losing their shit because the ‘woke’ BBC had bowed to ‘political correctness gone mad’. People were threatening to stop paying their licence fees if the Beeb didn’t reinstate singing to the music of Rule Britannia. The power of the internet for you and, moreover, the power of lies and spin. The BBC had a very valid reason for not having ‘live’ singing this year: a deadly virus called COVID-19. You might have heard of it. But the prime minister, Dominic Cummings, turned it into a row about something else. The corporation bottled it in the end and came up with a way of having people singing, so, what was it like?
Don’t bother to answer that question if you don’t want to because, quite honestly, I couldn’t care less. Ever since I was a young boy and became aware of the Last Night of the Proms, I have avoided it like the plague. I was far more keen to sing along with the Beatles or T Rex than Rule Britannia. For one thing, I knew many of the words of Beatles songs but knew little beyond Rule Britannia ruling the waves and how we would never be slaves. I had nothing against it but would no sooner listen to it than I would listen to anything by a Britain’s Got Talent runner-up, a speech by Jeremy Corbyn or a song by Queen. I am not alone.
3.5 million people watched the Last Night of the Proms last year, over two thirds of whom were over 65. It is hardly the most watched programme of the year since there were something like 64 million people who didn’t watch it. For all that, I strongly support the fact that the BBC Proms are shown to a minority audience every year. Even though I would never dream of watching any of the concerts. This, to me, is what the BBC is all about, catering for a wide variety of viewers and listeners. If the BBC didn’t host the Proms, no one would. So, 3.5 million mostly elderly people would be deprived of the opportunity to wear a silly hat, wave a Union flag and sing Rule Britannia. Happily, at least for now, we still have the Beeb, at least until Cummings says otherwise.
I’m guessing that last night’s gig, shown on BBC One, was a slightly subdued affair, so come on the anti-woke, anti-PC brigade; tell us all about it. Who was the conductor and how many death threats did s/he get for not trying to ban the words to Rule Britannia? Come on people: you were fuming a few weeks ago. You must be thrilled today. Why aren’t you talking about it? is it because you don’t give anymore of a toss than I do and you took the opportunity to fall into a trap Dominic Cummings laid for you?