Boris Johnson has issued a warning to “tackle the substance of issues and not the symbols” following stories Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory may very well be axed from the Last Night of the Proms.
The two songs are well-liked with Proms followers, who typically enthusiastically wave flags and sing alongside through the closing night of the BBC’s summer time sequence of classical music live shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Downing Street signalled the prime minister can be amongst these to not be supportive of the songs’ elimination from the night’s conventional setlist.
Asked a couple of Sunday Times report that the songs may very well be dropped, a Number 10 spokesman stated on Monday: “It is clearly a call for the organiser of the Proms and the BBC.
“But the prime minister has previously set out his position on these issues and has been clear that, while he understands the strong emotions in this, we need to tackle the substance of issues and not the symbols.”
The Last Night of the Proms is because of happen on 12 September, albeit with out an viewers as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed he had raised his “concerns” concerning the matter with the BBC.
“Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are highlights of the Last Night of the Proms,” he posted on Twitter.
“Share concerns of many about their potential removal and have raised this with @BBC. Confident forward-looking nations don’t erase their history, they add to it.”
BBC bosses are stated to be reconsidering the songs’ inclusion due to their perceived affiliation with colonialism and slavery.
According to The Sunday Times, there are additionally considerations about how Rule Britannia – which is often carried out by about 80 members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a refrain of greater than 100 singers – may very well be carried out underneath coronavirus restrictions.
A spokeswoman for BBC Proms stated: “We are still finalising arrangements for the Last Night of the Proms so that we are able to respond to the latest advice in regards to COVID-19 and deliver the best offering possible for audiences.”
She added: “Full details will be announced nearer the time of the concert.”
At the peak of Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of George Floyd within the US, which included the toppling of a statue of a slave trader in Bristol, the prime minister stated there was a must “address the present, not attempt to rewrite the past”.
He wrote in The Daily Telegraph in June: “That means we cannot and must not get sucked into never-ending debate about which well-known historical figure is sufficiently pure or politically correct to remain in public view.”