Rather unexpectedly, I found myself at the ‘Proms in the Park’ event at Hyde Park in London on Saturday evening. This is the Radio 2 version of the Last Night of the Proms – there’s a video link-up for the songs at the end, but otherwise a quite separate programme including Westlife, Russell Watson and Rolf Harris (who sang his version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’, I’m pleased to say). The event in the park boasts a much bigger attendance – the hall can hold about 6,000 when full, while the enclosure at the park had over 30,000 in it, apparently.
What was interesting was the choice of flags being flown. There was quite a range; a smattering of Scottish saltires, Welsh dragons and Irish tricolours, at least three Lions of Flanders, plus one Australian aboriginal flag and one Devon county flag. Unsurprisingly, the Union flag dominated, but there were also a lot of St George’s crosses, far more than there would have been a decade ago. My informal estimate – confirmed by one of my companions – was that the ratio was about 3:1. Intriguing, especially as much of the singing is about Britain (‘Britons never being slaves’ and so forth) rather than England, if less scientific than a survey putting the ‘Moreno-Rose’ question.