You have to go back a very long time in history to find a successful invasion by an enemy power of the UK. Whilst most European nations have had their borders redrawn time and time again, the UK has had very few changes (the last being the creation of the partition of Ireland over 100 years ago). There are two reasons for this. The first is the English Channel and the second is the Royal Navy. The Navy is known as the senior Service and the received political wisdom used to be that a powerful navy kept the citizens of the UK safe at home. As recently as 1982, the Royal Navy astounded the other major powers, by successfully mounting a campaign to retake The Falkland Islands following an Argentinian Invasion. The Russians and the Americans doubt that the UK had either the ability or the will to mount such a campaign, but the Navy confounded all and put together a task force and pulled off a spectacular victory.
There were three major elements that made this possible. The first was the two aircraft carriers equipped with Harrier Jump Jets. These protected the fleet from air attack. The second was the amphibious assault ships that allowed the delivery of the army and marines to the Falklands. The third element was the Hunter Killer Submarines that scared off the Argentinian fleet after the sinking of the Belgrano.
The surface fleet is now around half the size it was in 1982. The Navy has born the brunt of the cuts to the MOD budget. Should the same situation arise, the capability would simply not be there. What has all of this got to do with the Proms? Well I awoke to hear several Conservative MP's criticising the BBC for its decision to perform Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia at the Proms without someone belting out the words.
There are two aspects of this which these dullard MP's have missed. The first is that the whole fun of Rule Britannia at the Proms is not listening to the music , but having a good old sing song, presumably whilst rather well oiled waiving a Union Jack. It's not my cup of tea, but it is in effect the Football Terrace vibe for posh people who don't like football. It is jolly good fun but it really isn't a fundamental part of our culture. The BBC Proms are a part of our culture, but the idea really should be that it evolves, changes and gets people into good music. Anarchy in The UK and God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols are just as much a part of our culture as Rule Britannia, possibly more these days. So why the fuss? No clamour from them to protect our much neglected punk subculture.
The second aspect that is hypocritical is that Rule Britannia lyrics say "Rule Britannia, Britannia Rules the waves, Britians never shall be slaves". This from people in a government that has run down the Royal Navy, this from a government that cares nothing for victims of slavery globally. We have a multi racial, multi ethnic society, so MP's should support all of our citizens and be sensitive to their culture. I don't mind people waving the Union Jack and waiving flags. I do mind that MP's pretend they are protecting our heritage, whilst letting the Navy be run down and turning a blind eye to something that has historically damaged so many people. I'd be more impressed if they were campaigning for the BBC to represent all of the music in the UK that makes us a cultural hub, than insisting we hear the same old tunes that have been belted out for decades. To me the faux outrage is sickening