EU flags? Oh, just another night of silly squawkers complaining about nothing much…

Who ‘owns’ The Last Night of the Proms? Moaners with stale fruitcake for brains seem to think the night is theirs.

They’re always offended by something. Three years ago, there was a creaky old culture war about whether or not to sing the words for Rule, Britannia!

This year the snowflakes – hate that word, but let’s fling it back for a change ­– were affronted when some members of the joyous and sweaty audience waved EU flags.

The former Tory MP Harvey Proctor posted on X (formerly Twitter) that it was a “disgraceful” display and demanded an inquiry from the BBC as he accused the Corporation of “messing up a British tradition”.

Was that the tradition of the last night; or the tradition of silly twerps complaining about nothing much with shouty nobs on?

The sharply right-inclined commentator Isabel Oakeshott posted about “a seething mass of Remainers”. While the reliably tedious and Brexit bonkers Nile Gardiner wrote: “Rule Britannia represents freedom, sovereignty, and self-determination, all absent in the European Union. Thank God for Brexit.”

Ah, yes – the Brexit that has had no benefits at all and, according to the latest Private Eye, has been officially estimated to have had a 4% long-term cost to our economy’s growth. Yes, that Brexit.

Bloody Europeans messing up our traditions again, although I do believe that Beethoven was a teeny bit European. Then again, his Ode To Joy is the European anthem, so perhaps that offends them, too.

It turned out that a pro-European band of music lovers calling themselves Thank EU For The Music had handed out thousands of EU flags outside the Albert Hall.

A cheeky protest, but good luck to them.

The stale-fruitcake-for-brains mob always weigh in like this, while missing the point. In this case: the music.

Not just the music on the night, and certainly not only the cheesy patriotism ding-dong at the end. But all the music across eight weeks, with 72 Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, plus other Proms around the country.

Instead of praising the BBC for putting on all that marvellous music, to be heard live, watched on iPlayer or listened to on BBC Sounds, the likes of Proctor, Oakeshott and Gardiner just want to make cheap anti-Beeb shots about one tiny aspect of the last night.

Those type of squawkers love to tell you what’s wrong with the country.

Two can play at that game.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the country – we’ve spent too much time being influenced by loud-mouthed bullies who, helped by billionaire newspaper owners, complain endlessly until they get their way. Then they carry on complaining because getting their way wasn’t what they thought it would be.

I watched the last night on television. There were still plenty of Union flags being waved inside the Royal Albert Hall, giving the impression that Britain was a happy sort of place, if slightly silly. Sadly, away from that frothy bubble, schools are falling down, the NHS is limping along, and rivers Elgar might once have walked beside are now full of shit. Hope and glory, indeed.

Still, at least we still have music. The highlight of the last night was soloist Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s cello playing – so moving, emotional and eloquent ­– and the singing of the rather stupendous soprano Lisa Davidsen.

Oh, and the first Proms airing for Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Deep River, a truly lovely piece led again by that mellifluous cello.

The conductor Marin Alsop ended the night with a forceful speech about diversity in music, and bridging the gender gap, so good on her.

Back in the thin air of the right-wing stratosphere, Harvey Proctor is still wittering on that the BBC was responsible for allowing the Last Night of the Poms to “become a prime-time political broadcast on behalf of the EU.”

That’s the last we need to hear from that man. Time to catch up with another concert on iPlayer.


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