According to an article in today's Guardian by Nesrine Malik the "plot " to drop "Land of Hope and Glory" (LOHAG) et al from the Last Night of the Proms was a piece of "fake news" created by right-wing propagandist to stir up among their followers the idea that our "glorious heritage" was under threat from we woke liberals and Liberals.
The article is worth reading, and explains how the technique is being used in the US to create a debate about the totally false idea that Joe Biden will empty the prisons and defund the police.
M/s Malik argues that by creating a debate the right achieves its objective by highlighting the imaginary "danger."
However, I've found the "Last Night" shenanigans an embarrassment for years, and when choirs of which I've been a member have put on "Last Night" tributes I've always refused to wave a Union Jack (although on the last such occasion I manage to stick a small EU flag on the conductor's rostrum). So I'll take the risk.
LOHAG and "Rule Britannia" are stirring tunes and good fun to sing along to. I'm sure that a large proportion of participants, (is 80% to generous a guess?) think they are just that: "good fun." But for a minority, and for many of the watchers, they legitimise and perpetuate the myth of British exceptionalism: that we are superior, better than others, others can be slaves but not us.
It's a tradition that goes back a long way. Shakespeare was good at it, as in Richard II, Act 2 Scene 1, for example, in which the "Silver sea...." serves us
". . .in the offcie of a wall,/ Or as a moat defensive to a house/ Against the envy of less happier lands."
It's time we grew out of it.
We didn't "win the war" single-handedly, certainly haven't done all that well economically since, and plenty of "less happier lands" are making a far better fist of dealing with the coronavirus that we are.
There are plenty of other rousing tunes: "Men of Harlech" for the Welsh, "Scotland the Brave" for the Scots, "Ilkla Moor Bah't at" for Yorkshire (though that's not good to sing along with: too great a range).
And of course, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" to the words of the EU anthem
It's said that, at an event in honour of Lord Beaverbrook, then owner of the Daily Express with its Empire Crusader on the masthead, when guests were invited to sing LOHAG most journalists present knew only the parodied version, some say written by the conservative politician R A Butler, which began:
Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free;
Keep in voting Tory till eternity.
I don't know if there was any more
I've tried to put together an up-to-date parody and got as far as:
Land of hopeless Tories,
Governing by their seats:
World beaters at U-turns
And ignominious retreats.
There my muse, such as it it, gets stuck. If any of them read this, I invite the authors of Yorkshire's Remain Voice Choir's lyrics to have a go: they're far more gifted than I am.