Rule, Britannia! petition has been dropped

Rule, Britannia! petition has been dropped


norman lebrecht

July 16, 2020

Activists who sought to pressure the BBC to drop traditional anthems from the Last Night of the Proms over alleged slavery links have scrapped their petition after it gathered fewer than 200 signatures.

We first disparaged the petition here.



  • Jeremy Wardle says:

    Good. Let’s move on

    • buxtehude says:

      FFS Jeremy — Somebody’s got to rule the waves! — let’s have some pro-activity here. If not Britannia, then who?! Do these petitioneers want Trump ruling the waves? Really?

      And what if nobody turns up, what if nobody is on duty anymore ruling the waves? Waves once just a few feet from trough to crest will swell to meters, 10s of meters even, who’s to say where it will stop in this climate-warming era, tsunamis coursing up the Thames estuary to flatten even the Royal Albert Hall.

      • The View from America says:

        I think the PRC is making a major play for ruling the waves in the South China Sea right now …

        • buxtehude says:

          Nobody “rules the waves,” View — it’s another of those preposterous conceits like “conquer nature” which have helped land us in the mess we’re in today.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Lets face it, Rule Britannia is embarrassingly jingoistic. It should have joined Arne’s other works into oblivion long time ego.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Ah good, so these people who have got nothing better to worry about can move on to something else!

    • Counterpoint says:

      I concur it is time to move on but I wish those who were signatories of this abandoned petition or have supported it with militant zealotry on this site would take time to reflect. Modern slavery and exploitation is around us in so many sectors. Think about how you acquire home delivery of products, the cost of production behind much of clothing and the practices of what used to be termed ‘domestic service’. Look at this with eyes wide open to the colour, sex, race and religion of the perpetrators. Meaningful progress there would something for pride rather than the mob rule tokenism of ripping down statues or censoring the words of music written centuries ago. Of course self-examination of cause and effect can be much painful.

    • Jim says:

      Sadly, those who have nothing better to worry about are precisely those who are least likely to move on.

  • Leo Doherty says:

    We don’t do censorship in UK.

  • SamUchida says:

    I note the petition says, ” … written in 1740 at the height of British slavery … ” If it were just British why did the traditional African leaders apologize for the slavery, admitting that without the part played by Africans, no such slavery would have been possible. Just on the grounds of historical accuracy, the petition was invalid!

    This does not of course absolve the Europeans for their part, but the latter could not have bought the slaves in the first place had not the Africans already enslaved some of their own people.

  • Allen says:

    They should move on. Those that don’t want to can re-write the words as they wish and hold an alternative Last Night in the Purcell Room.

    The turnout should be low enough to ensure social distancing.

  • Nick2 says:

    I totally fail to understand why this should continue to be part of every Last Night. Forget slavery in this case. Britannia rules the waves? Britannia is now a second tier country at best and could not rule the waves even if it tried. I have no problem with the music. In today’s context, though, the words are total nonsense.

    • Alan says:

      Spoken like a True patriot. Well done.

    • Stuart says:

      unlike the majority of libretti for most operas in the standard repertoire where the words make total sense…

    • Sue Firth says:

      Art galleries are full of paintings of subjects that make little sense today, but people like them. That’s justification enough. The miniscule response to this opportunistic, trouble-making petition speaks for itself.

      And BTW, the wording is “Britannia! rule the waves”.

  • Alan says:

    Excellent. I hope this is a sign that sensible, moderate people have had enough of the post modernist/ SJW loons.

  • Miko says:

    There’ll be a huge Ode to Joy accompanied by 5000 EU flags outside the RAH for contrast.
    Enjoy, my little gammon friends.

  • David Whelbourn says:

    But it seems the 200 have been successful after the BBC announced it has banned the song and the singing of the lyrics