Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Conservatives dropped Land of Hope and Glory and the Union Jack from their conference in 1998

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From the Independent, 18 September 1998

Land of Hope and Glory, the flying of the Union Jack and other overt shows of nationalism are to be dropped for the leader's speech at the Conservative Party conference.  

In a break with tradition by William Hague, the leader's speech is being brought forward a day, leaving the departing party chairman, Lord Parkinson, to wind up the conference the next day with the 84-piece Bournemouth youth orchestra playing the traditional Land of Hope and Glory and tunes from the four corners of the UK, including Scotland the Brave and Land of My Fathers.  

Officials said there would still be a rousing send-off for the party activists at the end of the conference, but it had been decided to make Mr Hague's speech a "more business-like" address, more in keeping with his McKinsey management consultant image.

You don't have to be a Marxist to agree that the Conservatives represent the interests of the wealthy but attempt to win over poorer voters by playing up 'culture war' issues.

Why then is the left determined to give the Tories the culture war they crave? 

The 'BBC to ban patriotic songs' story is a load of nonsense. But yesterday left-wing Twitter was full of people discussing how dreadful Land of Hope and Glory, Rule, Britannia and God Save the Queen are.

For myself, I can enjoy a song without endorsing all or even some of its implications. Which is just as well, considering how dodgy many Sixties classics are - take Keep on Running for a start.

That is why I have always defended the Liberal Democrat conference Glee Club against its critics. And I am happy to defend the Last Night of the Proms too, even though I rarely watch it.

Meanwhile, it is no surprise to discover that the Tories are as hypocritical on this issue as they are on many others.

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