The suggestion that Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory should be axed from the Last Night of the Proms is not, as No 10 suggests, a distracting focus on the symbols rather than the substance of a problem (Rule, Britannia! will be played at the Proms but not sung, BBC confirms, 24 August).
Symbols matter. They act as dog-whistles and means of legitimising discriminatory ideologies. The substance of racism in the UK is underpinned by an inaccurate nostalgia for a “Great Britain” which spread its “civilising” influence across the world in the 19th century and stood alone against the powers of European fascism in the 20th century. The jingoistic, flag-waving Rule, Britannia! of the Last Night of the Proms feeds into this false narrative, implying that to be British is to be a white imperial victor.
Good Freaking Grief! Churchill was no big deal I guess just another damned Caucasian oppressor