BORIS Johnson has today blasted the "cringing embarrassment" over Britain's history and demanded the nation stop its "culture of wetness" after the BBC banned the words to Rule Britania.
The PM waded into the ongoing row after the BBC announced it wouldn't show the singing of Last Night of the Proms over fears over its links to the British Empire.
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Mr Johnson said on a business visit this lunchtime: "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, I wanted to get that off my chest."
It comes as:
- The Beeb face fury for axing the singing at the bash, which will take place next month.
- Earlier Alok Sharma said subtitles should be put on the BBC's proms so patriotic Brits can sing along to the huge classics including Rule Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory.
- Actor Laurence Fox today urged BBC viewers to cancel their licence fees in protest
Beeb bosses instead announced they would feature — but only as orchestral versions amid fears of a backlash from Black Lives Matter campaigners due to lyrical connotations about the British Empire.
Business secretary Alok Sharma told Times Radio that he thought the BBC could put subtitles on the screen for Last Night of the Proms so people could sing along at home.
And Mr Fox said the decision came from a "Britain-hating" BBC, calling for it to be stripped of its license fee funding.
He tweeted: "Defund this shameful, Britain-hating organisation and start again. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum #Defund the BBC."
His comments were echoed by Piers Morgan, who called the decision "absolutely pathetic".
Piers wrote on Twitter: "The BBC needs to grow a pair & stop grovelling to such insane ‘woke’ cancel culture nonsense that most Britons find utterly absurd."
Over 10,000 Brits have now called for the lyrics to be reinstated, signing a petition which hopes to reach 15,000 signatures.
The annual Royal Albert Hall concert, beamed around the world, traditionally ends with the flag-waving anthems.
But organisers were said to be concerned about their links to the British Empire, and lyrics including: “Britons never will be slaves.”
One BBC source described the handling of the line-up as “white guys in a panic,” trying to appease the movement.
The Government had expressed its displeasure with the move.
Culture Sec Oliver Dowden told the BBC that “confident, forward-looking nations don’t erase their history”.
Former Cabinet Minister Andrea Leadsom tweeted: “Seriously? Has the Beeb totally lost touch?”
Tory MP David Morris said: “We cannot erase our history. We have got to be proud to be British. It does not matter what colour, creed or religion you are.”
It came as leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed into the row defending the “pomp and pageantry” as “a staple of British summer.”
Asked if he backed the move to censor the words to Rule Britannia, a Labour spokesman said “enjoying patriotic songs does not – and should not – present a barrier to examining our past and learning lessons from it."
But they stopped short if demanding a uturn, insisting the running order was a matter for the organisers.
The spokesperson said: "The running order is a matter for organisers & the BBC, but enjoying patriotic songs does not… present a barrier to examining our past."
Labour's Lord Adonis said today: “It’s part of being English, I don’t understand what the problem is.
"It seems almost laughable to think we are going to start censoring some of these great national songs.
"What are they going to next, the national anthem? It’s ridiculous this whole thing."
Labour’s catastrophic election defeat last year was partly down to the party’s ‘patriotism problem’.
Party insiders said furious voters repeatedly raised the issue on the doorstep.
Sir Keir Starmer had promised to change all that and called for the party to finally embrace patriotism.
Speaking in April this year, he said: “I’m really proud of my country and I wouldn’t be leader of the Labour party if I wasn’t patriotic.
“What I desperately want for our country is for our country to get better. In the Labour party we should be proud of being patriotic.
“We’re all working, knocking on doors in the rain or shine, to try to put in place a team that can go into government to improve the country we live in because we love the country we live in.
“I don’t think we should shy away from that. That is a really good thing to be proud of, and to want your country to be the best it possibly can be.”
Land of Hope and Glory lyrics
Land of Hope and Glory
Mother of the Free
How shall we extol thee
Who are born of thee?
Wider still, and wider
Shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty
Make thee mightier yet!
Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned
God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned
Once more thy crown is set
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained
Have ruled thee well and long;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained
Thine Empire shall be strong
Thy fame is ancient as the days
As Ocean large and wide: A pride that dares, and heeds not praise
A stern and silent pride
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son
Debating the issue on Good Morning Britain, freedom of speech campaigner Inaya Folarin Iman said criticism of the two songs was "absurd", adding that they bring "a lot of people joy and happiness".
But Kehinde Andrews, a black studies professor at Birmingham City University, said the line "Britons never, never, never shall be slaves" from Rule Britannia is racist propaganda dating back to the British Empire.
Rule Britannia! lyrics
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
When Britain first, at heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter of the land,
And Guardian Angels sang this strain:
The nations not so blest as thee
Must, in their turn, to tyrants fall,
While thou shalt flourish great and free:
The dread and envy of them all.
Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful from each foreign stroke,
As the loud blast that tears the skies
Serves but to root thy native oak.
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame;
All their attempts to bend thee down
Will but arouse thy generous flame,
But work their woe and thy renown.
To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles, thine.
The Muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coasts repair.
Blest isle! with matchless beauty crowned,
And manly hearts to guard the fair.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves
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