Rule, Britannia gets the silent treatment as BBC cancels singing of ‘racist’ anthems

The Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2013. “I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions, and about our culture,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday about the BBC’s decision to axe popular patriotic songs from the event this year. Photo by Carl Court/AFP via Getty Images


One of the contentious issues was the line in Rule, Britannia that says, ‘Britons never, never, never shall be slaves’

August 26, 2020

Rule, Britannia, a patriotic anthem written more than 200 years ago to celebrate freedom and in defiance of “haughty tyrants,” has fallen victim to the czars at Britain’s national broadcaster, the BBC.

Land of Hope and Glory (Mother of the free are the next words of the song) also appears to have fallen foul of the culture wars.

The two songs are regular features of the BBC’s most popular classical musical festival The Proms. The audience at The Last Night of the Proms, held at the Royal Albert Hall, London, often wave flags and raise balloons as they sing along to them.

This week, following reports that the two songs were being axed from the festival program, the BBC issued a statement to clarify that orchestral versions would be played — but no soloist would be singing the lyrics.

And without a live audience because of COVID, there would be no sing-along.

One of the contentious issues was the line in Rule, Britannia that says, “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

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  1. And to think so much of my family tree was lost to keep them from speaking German today. Every time I drive by Walhachin I am reminded of the price paid. I’m sorry, I digress.

    I wonder if this sort of thing will fuel a silent revival of Kipling’s “The Beginnings”, as an unintended but wholly predictable response to this kind of nonsense.

    I suppose the death knell will be with the cancellation of Jerusalem.
    (Actually, my favourite rendition of Jerusalem is by Emerson Lake & Palmer on their live album)


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