Rule Britannia-Dead cat strategy by Peter Wheelband.


In recent days you may have read articles full of outrage concerning the removal of lyrics to Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia from the Proms. An absolute outrage right ? How dare the BBC dilute our history and culture ? It’s political correctness gone mad isn’t ? – Well actually it isn’t.

The concert is due to take place on September 12th however, because of the COVID restrictions currently in place, there will be no live audience in The Royal Albert Hall to sing along and the number of musicians and singers will be heavily reduced and dispersed around the venue due to social distancing. Given that some songs require stirring crowd participation to be seen at their most spectacular, a decision was made to change these numbers to instrumental versions whilst the COVID restrictions are in place. As soon as the restrictions are removed then usual service will be resumed and we can again revert back to the wonderful spectacle of mass crowds and flag waving and singing that we all enjoy.

That’s the story – Nothing to concern anyone there really is there ? Then why have our social media outlets been swamped by stories bemoaning us “losing our identity” or “having our history altered” ? The answer is simple – It’s called Dead cat strategy.

Dead cat strategy (throw a dead cat on the table to change the subject) refers to a political distraction tactic. When you are going through a tough period such as now for the Government with the A-Level results shambles, the Track and Trace debacle etc , you need another shocking or sensationalist topic to divert attention away from these failings. A few weeks ago is was “Saving Churchill’s statue” (virtually nobody wants it removed) and this week it’s “Save our Proms” (again virtually nobody wants them altered permanently).

Personally I’d like politicians to concentrate on things which matter to their constituents such as the economic hardship being experienced because of COVID, the likelihood of rising unemployment and the possibility of students missing their university places because of the A Level fiasco. Those subjects though require some tough decision making and some hard work to resolve . Far easier to reach for the deceased feline again.

Peter Wheelband-Romford Labour Campaigns Officer.

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