Last Night of the Proms must change | Letters

The scandals of slavery and racism expose the finale to the BBC’s Proms season as obsolete and offensive, say Knighton Berry and Way Main Wong

The current wave of multicultural awareness has encouraged the BBC to review its past content (Fawlty Towers ‘Don’t mention the war’ episode removed from UKTV, 11 June). This is to be welcomed. But there is another step to take.

We have had a regrettable cancellation of this year’s Proms, but planning for the 2021 season must be well under way, so now is surely the time – recognising the national mood – for the Beeb management and the new director general to put a stop to the jingoistic and offensive farrago of the last night, which besmirches the face of a fantastic and unique international festival of music.

An attempt was made in 1971 to drop the nonsense, but it was replaced by a piece called The Stone Wall, which was itself nationalistic in tone, stressing division in the country, only for a reversion to type for all subsequent years. The Beeb must move with the times and set a new, higher standard.
Knighton Berry
Taunton, Somerset

• Is now not the right time to drop the traditional Last Night of the Proms? The content was last debated following the Brexit referendum. The EU flags on display in 2016 tried to counteract the suggestion that the referendum result was an expression of xenophobia and racism. Sadly, the Windrush scandal and other injustices have shown that racism is real and current, and we still retain elements of imperial supremacism.

The debate about the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol went on for years with no final decision. Now that the statue is gone, no one is calling for its restoration. The same will be true for Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory once they have been removed from the programme.
Way Main Wong
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

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