News emerging from the Remain Camp appears to indicate that senior Remain figures have tried to ‘use all their considerable influence’ to lobby the Government and the Electoral Commission to silence the iconic Bell Tower of the Palace of Westminster during the formal ‘Referendum Period’ (15th April – 23rd June 2016).
Libby Leftsuka, one of the Remain camp’s leading organisers, has apparently been reported as claiming that the ‘Bongs’ are clearly and overtly nationalistic. “Even undecided Britons feel a surge of misplaced national pride, when they hear the Westminster chimes,” she said. “The Bongs are overly jingoistic in their tone, conveying a subliminal message of a time when the sun never set on the British Empire and the repeated Bonging every 15 minutes is seriously damaging our attempts to ‘educate’ Britons to properly appreciate the benefits that being part of the EU bring.
Amazingly, little nationalistic sentiment seems to be aroused by the playing of the EU’s own anthem, Ode an die Freude (based on the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony composed in 1823). In fact a snap poll carried out down the local pub revealed that zero out of the 29 people drinking there had even heard of it, two out of the 29 thought, ‘it sounds a bit German, innit’ and one thought it was today’s special and ordered two for him and his wife.
This current row has echoes back to the Second World War. 1941 saw the start of the BBC’s V For Victory campaign. It began in January on the Belgian Service, with the BBC’s listeners being asked to demonstrate their support for the Allies by chalking up the letter V for Victory, (Victory in English, Victoire in French and Vrijheid in Flemish), wherever and whenever they could. The call was taken up enthusiastically not only in Belgium – but in France, the Netherlands and beyond. Following that came the came the realisation that the three short notes and one long at the start of Beethoven’s Fifth echoed the Morse code for “victory”. The V sound on drums immediately became the call sign of all the BBC’s European services.
Libby Leftsuka claims that the surge of national pride and sentiment which used to be encouraged by the BBC V for Victory Drum Roll is being re-instated by the ‘constant, unnecessary and profoundly anti-EU’ Bonging of Big Ben and should be stopped, enforced if necessary, by an Act of Parliament, immediatement! Sources close to the Prime Minister said that Desperate Dave would most likely publicly oppose the banning of Big Ben’s Bongs, using tried and trusted statements such as ‘Let me be clear, No Ifs. No Buts and We’re all in this together, you know’…. and then do a U-Turn on it once the general public’s attention was diverted elsewhere.
A senior Brexit spokesman pointed out that this is only the latest in a barrage of tactics designed to deter pro-British, national sentiment in the run-up to the referendum, some of which, such as the bans on Dad’s Army and Morris Dancing, the replacement of the Red Arrows by the Yellow Stars, restrictions on the ancient British game of Conkers and even the EU threat to GMT have been reported by this column previously. “We British,” he said, “will never give in to this blatant bullying whether carried out by the EU, Desperate Dave Cameron or even the American President. Now, can I have a pint of Bulldog Bitter and one of your Ode an Die Freude specials please – with chips and extra brown sauce.”