I hope Ian Jack (The Last Night of the Proms never, never shall be hijacked by Brexiteers, 10 September) was as moved as I was to see those European flags being waved among the union jacks at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, though alas no such shows of good thinking were to be seen at the outside jamborees in Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and London.
He is of course right about the self-mockery involved. And it was good to see the star tenor soloist, Juan Diego Florez, dressed in a splendid costume as much Peruvian as English to render Arne’s Rule, Britannia! But I do think that Jack, and maybe the Proms organisers, are a little unfair to Elgar. He really cannot be blamed for the “imperial triumphalism” of Land of Hope and Glory. What he actually wrote was the ironic first of his six Pomp and Circumstance marches. The later addition of the ludicrous words, taking over the glorious tune, was not Elgar’s fault. Those planning the 2017 Proms might like to consider the words. The plea to make Britain “mightier yet” may be in the minds of Foxes and Farages, but even they should at least have doubts about ever widening of the nation’s borders. Whatever Brexit may mean, the retreat from Europe – and whatever influence the Brits used to have in neighbouring countries – demands drawing in, not expansion.
• Unlike my own husband (who made a similar observation during the Last Night of the Proms), your correspondent (Letters, 12 September) sadly did not have the benefit of the smug advice of his wife, delighted to be able to put her 50-year-old A-level Spanish certificate to good use. “Guantánamera” means “female from Guantánamo” – as opposed to “Guantánmero”, of course! Pedantic? Yo?
(Northwick Park College of Technology, 1965-67), Wokingham
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