In a week where great political developments have taken place in the Middle East (Hamas win elections) – the Govt loses a crucial vote in the Commons because the PM was told by the (present, but probably not for much longer) Chief Whip he could go home early and Dubbya wows them at the State of the Union message by threatening to wean America off a diet of cheap gas; what could be better than an almighty row about changing the Radio 4 theme tune. Now we're really into the important stuff!!
For those not in the know – or those who don't really care – the beginning of each day on Radio 4 is marked by The UK Theme - essentially a medley of tunes from the British Isles arranged by Austrian-born refugee Fritz Spiegl (very patriotic), and is used at 5.30am each day to signal the switch-over from the World Service to Radio 4. It includes the Londonderry Air, What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?, Scotland the Brave, Men of Harlech and Rule Britannia. Stirring stuff and beloved of a certain type of listener who still thinks that one-third of the world map is coloured red – as part of the British Empire. No wonder “Outraged in Tunbridge Wells” is positively apoplectic.
Reports of the medley's demise have been very premature.
“Two House of Commons motions have been tabled calling on the BBC to reverse the decision and reinstate the medley.
One of the motions, sponsored by Tory MP Philip Davies, regrets that “political correctness has sparked the removal of the UK medley” and claims that such political correctness is detrimental to patriotism.
The other motion, sponsored by Labour MP John Spellar, deplores the decision, saying the theme symbolises the unity of the United Kingdom.”
Good to know that our legislators are on the case and fighting tooth and nail for what's important.
The insular nature of the British public and media never ceases to amaze. Here's a classic. Whilst we all might profitably spend time worrying about Iranian nuclear weapons – no chance. Let's make sure the rest of the world goes by without realising just how important UK plc is. Not.