|I thought that the Remoaners trying to ruin the Last Night of the Proms by waving EU flags would make my blood boil.
After all, nothing angered me more, during last year’s EU referendum, than Harriet Baldwin, the Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, putting a Vote Remain t-shirt on the statue of Sir Edward Elgar in Malvern. Unlike her, I would not presume to know how that great man would have voted, though the fact that he was a fiercely patriotic right-wing Conservative might serve as a clue. But Harriet Baldwin, like so many Remainers, was as clueless about Elgar as she was about her own constituents – Elgar’s beloved county voted heavily for Leave.
So why did those promenaders frantically waving their EU flags not make me angry? In truth, I felt rather sorry for them; they looked so ridiculous waving their alien flags during that great English hymn, Jerusalem. They looked as out of place as people turning up to Ascot in shorts.
What made me grateful to these Remoaners was the contrast between the ‘in’ crowd of metropolitan types under cover in the Royal Albert Hall and the vastly bigger and more representative crowds of ‘ordinary’, patriotic Britons singing and cheering in Hyde Park and in a typically rain-soaked Swansea. There I struggled to spot a single EU flag. They waved their Union Jacks and English and Welsh flags with gusto. And, even in Glasgow and Northern Ireland, the Prom crowds had spurned the opportunity to sport the yellow stars of the EU.
It was a reminder of why the vocal, pro-EU, metropolitan elite lost the EU referendum last year. Thank you for that, Remoaners. Then, as now, the bulk of the British people voted for the country that they can and do believe in, rather than the European superstate that they either detest or fail to connect with.
Even inside the Albert Hall there was much to cheer – not least that wonderful man in the chorus with Union Jack bow tie and turban. Before the interval, the Finnish conductor was in his element conducting Finlandia, Sibelius’s great patriotic hymn to his country. In fact, substitute ‘Britain’ for ‘Finland’ and the words suit Brexit Britain like a glove:
‘Finland, behold, your day is dawning . . . Your day has come, my native land . . . Finland arise, face the future with pride . . . Recall the valiant deeds of your past . . . Finland arise, cry out to the world that you have cast off the shackles of slavery. You were never broken by the weight of oppression. Your morning dawns, my native land. Finland behold, your day is dawning.’
Sibelius – and his fellow countrymen – didn’t hate foreigners, any more than we hate great Germans such as the magnificent Prince Consort after whom the Albert Hall is named. They simply wanted the right to control their own destiny, as we Brexiteers do. We are about to escape the shackles of the anti-democratic European Union to return to the ranks of free and independent nation states. Our land of hope and glory is indeed the mother of the free. Once again, we can set our sights beyond Europe; wider still and wider shall our bounds be set – a champion for free trade throughout the world.
So thank you again to those Remoaners in the Royal Albert Hall for reminding me of why Brexit is happening and why, when it is achieved, we really shall have something to sing about.