This, however, is not enough for Margaret Hodge, who holds the post of culture minister in one of the most uncultured governments we have ever seen. Delivering a speech on "Britishness" to the left-wing Institute for Public Policy Research, Hodge complained that the Proms were insufficiently inclusive:
The audiences for some of many of our greatest cultural events - I'm thinking particularly of the Proms - is still a long way from demonstrating that people from different backgrounds feel at ease in being part of this.By contrast, the BBC reports that
I know this is not about making every audience completely representative, but if we claim great things for our sectors in terms of their power to bring people together, then we have a right to expect they will do that wherever they can.
...Mrs [sic] Hodge praised other institutions for "creating the icons of a common culture that everybody can feel a part of" - such as the Angel of the North, the British Museum and the Eden project as well as TV and radio shows "from Coronation Street to the Archers" and shared public holidays.Quite how one can "feel a part of" the Angel of the North is unclear, unless one is speaking literally. But, generally, Hodge's preference for Corrie over Elgar speaks volumes about Labour's philistine outlook on the world. It evinces an instinctive preference for popular culture over high culture, purely because it is popular. The actual artistic or aesthetic merit of a thing is irrelevant to Hodge: all that matters is how many people tune in.
How many people tune in, and how many of the right sort of people tune in. Because, aside from the philistinism that Hodge's comments betray, there is also an evident racial subtext: when she talks about "inclusiveness", she is quite clearly complaining that the Proms are just too hideously white. This is not the first time that a Labour culture minister has attacked the arts for this heinous crime: in 2005, David Lammy accused arts organisations "of being 'too exclusive' and not doing enough to promote black people in senior roles".
The fact is, that events like the Proms tend to attract white people, in much the same way that rap concerts tend to attract a disproportionate number of blacks (albeit balanced out by middle-class white teenagers attempting to be edgy). Classical music is white music: it is our cultural heritage, not that of non-whites. This is not to say that non-whites can't enjoy classical music, and no doubt some do, but it does explain why the audience at events like the Proms is overwhelmingly white. Non-whites aren't being excluded: they're just not interested.
The other main reason for Hodge's attack is that the Proms, and particularly its famous last night, are proudly, openly, and traditionally British. Its white attendees wave the Union Flag and listen to Land of Hope and Glory, with nary an emblem of multiculturalism in sight. Watching the last night, one could almost imagine that the war that the left has waged against this country's heritage for many decades had never happened. For the left, which delights in the damage it has done to this country in the name of multiculturalism, this is just unacceptable.