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Last Night Of The Proms: Anti-Brexit Campaigners Plan To Flood Iconic British Event With EU Flags

The Daily Mail isn't going to like this one bit.

09/09/2016 10:33

Anti-Brexit campaigners are planning to flood the Last Night Of The Proms with thousands of EU flags following a controversial fundraising campaign. 

Some 60 backers have donated £1,175 on a Crowdfunder page to buy 5,000 blue EU flags which will be handed out at the annual event at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night.

Almost a month ago the page informed its followers enough money had been raised for 2,500 flags. It is not known exactly how many flags have now been purchased.  

The plot has been criticised by Proms supporters who have urged the BBC to prevent the protest from taking place. 

Crowdfunder
The Crowdfunder page raising money to buy EU flags to display at the Last Night Of The Proms

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, director of the BBC Proms from 1996-2007, warned earlier this week that the event could be “hijacked” by Little Englanders celebrating Brexit. Kenyon was branded “unpatriotic” and “a Brexit denier” for the remarks. 

The fundraising page, started in July, reads that the Last Night Of The Proms “feels an appropriate venue to show UK solidarity with  the EU”.

It continues: “The event is televised and has a very high profile.  Concert goers waving EU flags along with the Union Jack would send a message to the world and our own people about how much music lovers value the EU.”

Following publicity about the campaign on Thursday and reports about the political allegiances of some of its backers - MailOnline suggested Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, including a former BBC employee, were behind the campaign, although almost all of the pages’ online backers’ profiles were void of personal information - those behind it suggested the fundraising page would be deleted.

Neil Hall / Reuters
The BBC Symphony Orchestra performs at the last night of the BBC Proms festival last year

An update on the page from Thursday reads: “As you will probably have seen there has now been some negative publicity about this and for the sake of all backers’ privacy this seems the best thing to do.”

The message noted however, that all of the flags had been bought and implored followers to watch on Facebook for “what happens on the night”. The group’s Facebook page has also since been deleted. 

Comments on the page urged those behind the campaign to hold strong.

Brian Milnes wrote on Thursday: “Don’t worry about ‘bad publicity’, especially from the Tory press. This means the campaign is having (a) success. Best of luck on Saturday.”

Donations have ranged from £5-£300. The anonymous bidder behind the £300 bid wrote: “This is really (a) big gesture of support. Thanks for believing in us.”

MailOnline quoted Tory MP Bill Cash as saying the BBC has overall responsibility for the Proms and “should make it clear that the Proms is a celebration of Britishness” and ensure it is not “contaminated by this kind of Euro frenzy”.

Neil Hall / Reuters
Revellers wave flags during the last night of the BBC Proms last year

Fellow Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told the website that the presence of thousands of EU flags during the event would be a “huge shame”.

He added: “Jeremy Corbyn won’t sing the national anthem so it’s no surprise his supporters should take an unpatriotic stance against one of our great British institutions.”

The Mail’s Richard Littlejohn lamented the controversy surrounding the event, especially the comments made by Kenyon and satirically imaged the Proms if the “In camp had their way”.

“Tonight’s programme is specially designed to send out a message to the world that Britain made a terrible mistake in voting to leave the EU. You’ll have a chance to correct that tonight, by pressing the red button on your remote to trigger a second referendum.”

The BBC has reportedly said although it did not want to the see the Proms used to make a political statement, it would not stop concert-goers from entering the venue with EU flags. 

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