BORIS JOHNSON has called for an end to ‘cringing embarrassment about our history’ after the BBC decided to play Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule, Britannia! at the Last Night Of The Proms — without any singing.
The ‘censoring’ was revealed after it was claimed the two pieces were associated with imperialism and slavery.
The prime minister, on a visit to Devon, told reporters: ‘I was going to tweet about this, but I just want to say… if it is correct, which I cannot believe that it really is, but if it is correct, that the BBC is saying that they will not sing the words of Land of Hope and Glory or Rule, Britannia! as they traditionally do at the end of the Last Night of the Proms.
‘I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions, and about our culture, and we stopped this general fight of self-recrimination and wetness.’ He added: ‘I wanted to get that off my chest.’
The BBC blamed the decision on the lack of a live audience at the Royal Albert Hall on September 12, and said the songs will return in 2021. It said: ‘For the avoidance of any doubt, these songs will be sung next year. We share the disappointment of everyone that the Proms will be different but believe this is the best solution and look forward to their traditional return next year.’
However Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, told Times Radio the BBC panicked when it came to issues of race. ‘The principle reason it has no confidence… is that there is no ethnic diversity at the top of its decision-making tree,’ he said. ‘What you have is white men panicking that someone is going to think they are racist.’
Museum plays down slave-owning founder
THE British Museum has removed a bust of its founding father, who was a slave owner. Sir Hans Sloane’s likeness has been placed in a secure cabinet alongside artefacts explaining his work in the context of the British Empire, museum director Hartwig Fischer said. A physician born in 1660, Sir Hans partly funded his collection from enslaved labour on Jamaican sugar plantations. Mr Fischer told The Daily Telegraph: ‘We have pushed him off the pedestal. We must not hide anything. Healing is knowledge.’