“Dalia is a big supporter of Black Lives Matter,” explained a BBC source.
He was talking of the Finnish-Ukrainian conductor Dalia Stasevska, 35, who will conduct this year’s Last Night at the Proms for the BBC.
Dalia’s commitment to BLM must be her main qualification for playing such a prominent role in Britain’s musical life. After all, looking at her CV and listening to her performances, one doesn’t detect any instantly apparent professional qualifications.
Now, Dalia will compile the programme for this concert, which is traditionally seen as the musical answer to Trooping the Colour, a celebration of Britain culture and history. That’s why the anthems Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory have always provided a rousing choral finale to the Proms.
Considering Dalia’s origin and age, perhaps one could opine that British traditions in general and this one in particular don’t strike a chord in her heart. And even if they do, the chord is nowhere near as thunderous as the cacophony produced by a BLM riot.
That’s why Dalia will axe those offensive anthems from the programme with the BBC’s blessing. The time is propitious for that hatchet job since, due to Covid, there will be no live audience. “A ceremony without an audience,” explained Dalia, “is the perfect moment to bring change.”
Lest you may think it’s only foreigners who treat British traditions in such a dismissive fashion, Dalia is building her subversive structure on a solid ideological base provided by Richard Morrison, an impeccably British columnist for the BBC Music Magazine.
According to Morrison, it would be “insensitive, bordering on incendiary” to chant the “nationalist”, “jingoistic” songs that are deeply offensive to the BLM movement. One has to infer that any other than pejorative reference to Britain’s history constitutes such an offence.
It’s true that both songs have good things to say about the British Empire, which, according to the BBC, constitutes a shameful period of British history. However, shameful as that period might seem to the BBC, it was rather long, lasting about 500 years from the reign of Elizabeth I.
It had its ups and downs, but most historians will agree that, on balance, the British Empire was the most successful commonwealth in history, this side of Rome. For all intents and purposes, it produced everything the West is proud of: just laws, a uniquely balanced political system free of tyranny, scientific and industrial progress.
The Empire spread her achievements all over the world, leaving behind a legacy of equitable institutions, parliamentarism, independent judiciary, irrigation systems, hospitals and schools. That proliferation wasn’t always achieved in the nicest possible ways, and the Empire has much to be rebuked for retrospectively.
However, most (I feel tempted to say “all”) of the former British colonies were better off – economically, politically or at least culturally – under the Empire than after her demise.
It takes obtuse nihilism to deny that – again, on balance – the British Empire is a legitimate source of pride for every Briton, except for those who are sufficiently inflamed by ideology to assess history from the BLM perspective only.
That Dalia Stasevska falls into that category is neither here nor there, and not just because she isn’t British. Her musical studies, which, incidentally, finished only eight years ago, must have left her little time to study and contemplate British history (or indeed anything else) in any depth. Loving BLM, however, requires no depth. Pavlovian reflexes will do: the knee jerks unaided by the brain.
However, when the BBC, a British institution licensed by HMG, promotes the same ignorant and idiotic ideology, it’s a serious matter. As to Mr Morrison, he ought to peek into the dictionary and learn the difference between ‘jingoistic’ and ‘patriotic’. The first implies hatred underpinning love; the second, love unadulterated.
With that in mind, I read and reread the lyrics of both Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory. There, I found much that’s patriotic and nothing that’s jingoistic.
The essence of Rule Britannia is encapsulated in the line “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.” There isn’t a scintilla of a hint that such freedom from slavery will be achieved by enslaving others.
And the key verse of Land of Hope and Glory is “Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained/ Have ruled thee well and long;/ By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained/ Thine Empire shall be strong.” By freedom and truth – not slavery, racism and insistence that black lives don’t matter.
I realise that the Empire committed the gross faux pas of failing to anticipate the advent of a new morality superseding the old Judaeo-Christian ethic. The Empire functioned according to the standards of its time, not ours, which is why it was so successful.
But that, according to the likes of the BBC and Dalia, is no excuse. BLM, MeToo and LGBTQ+ have taken the blue pencil to the entire British history. If it’s to be remembered at all, it’s only as a source of eternal shame and repentance.
Still, the axing of those two objectionable anthems creates a vacuum that must be filled. Morrison knows how: according to him the BBC should change the Proms finale so it “reflects the attitudes of its 21st-century performers and audiences, not their Edwardian predecessors”.
Actually, Rule, Britannia, predates the Edwardian period by 161 years, but let’s not quibble. Instead, let’s help the BBC in its search for a rousing anthem that indeed reflects the attitudes of modern audiences and performers like Dalia.
Since the BBC has been steadily shifting the Proms towards modernity, there’s nothing better than rap, especially as personified by its true maestro, Stormzy. So, in conclusion, may I suggest this song:
“Look, Don’t make me slap you/ Like, like, wait till I catch you/ Like, man are like ‘that’s that black yout’/ Went Jools Holland in my tracksuit/ Rep for the scene like yeah man, I had to/ Just run a sick beat I can rap to/ Everybody calm down, it’s a tracksuit/ What the fuck, man? I ain’t gonna stab you/ Look, I don’t wanna argue/ But if you talk shit, man’ll par you/ Look at the size of my fist, I will spark you…”
I’m not sure what this means, but it’s definitely not racist. So the BBC will approve, giving Dalia a chance to create a moving musical rendition that wouldn’t test her talent too much.