Popstar Lily Allen has caused a storm online, after suggesting that Brits should not sing the traditional ‘Rule, Britannia!’ song due to its colonial and slavery connotations.
In the wake of ‘Remembrance Sunday’ when the UK commemorated the war dead, Allen posted a series of messages on her Instagram stories dissecting the lyrics of the patriotic anthem that was first written in 1740.
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Taking aim at the song, which originates from a poem by James Thomson and is strongly associated with the British navy and army, she singled out the lyrics: “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves. The nations, not so blest as thee, Must in their turn, to tyrants fall, While thou shalt flourish, shalt flourish great and free.”
Sorry what? Britannia rule the waves… I think we should not sing this song anymore.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Allen’s comments about a swashbuckling anthem steeped in centuries long tradition have polarized Brits on social media.
Many of those angered by the 34 year-old’s remarks argue that the song is a “British staple and there is nothing wrong with being patriotic.” While others accused the popstar of trying to trash “our traditions.”
Yet another millennial trying to put our traditions in the trash. It’s getting really boring now.
— Stephen (@Estevezdeep) November 13, 2019
However, Allen did receive support on Twitter with one person cheekily suggesting that those who are outraged are “little snowflakes” for being offended by someone “expressing an opinion.” Another Allen supporter claimed ‘Rule, Britannia!’ was an “imperialist, racist tune.”
Lily Allen is right about ‘Rule Britannia’.
Britain doesn’t rule the waves, it waves the rules, and it always has done.
Send me to the Tower for all I care.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) November 13, 2019
The remarks also – somewhat predictably – gave an opportunity for TV presenter Piers Morgan to reignite his feud with the singer claiming that she was “always outraged” and insisted that it was “One of the greatest patriotic songs we’ve ever had.”
In June 2018, Morgan and Allen engaged in a Twitter spat about the glamorization of guns, after the ex-Mirror editor challenged the British singer on why she chose to “wear a machine gun necklace.”
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