There’s an account on Twitter called “British Suite” – no idea if it is pro-Brexit or anti-Brexit, as it seems to just retweet stuff, but the name “British Suite” sounds like an Elgar elegy mourning for the loss of decency and humanity in these islands.
An elegy for the NHS, the Welfare State, council houses, jobs, trade unions, solidarity, craft guilds, community, the eight-hour day, pensions, rights at work, sick pay, disability pay – all about to vanish before your eyes in Broken Brexit Britain, or currently being eroded by the vicious austerity programme of the Tories.
A lament for those times when we marched for freedom and for rights. The Jarrow Marchers. Kinder Scout. The Peasants’ Revolt. Poll Tax Riots. The Corn Riots. Peterloo. The Luddite Rebellion. The miners’ strike.
The music might also include a competing set of themes attempting to break in over the elegiac music: the strident bombast of trumpets proclaiming empire, the racist horrors of the colonialist project, slavery, the massacres, frequent suppression of the truth about the bloody history of empire.
Which would triumph in the end? The combined themes of capitalism, austerity, and misplaced right-wing nostalgia for empire and Little England? Or the themes of solidarity, inclusion, equality, community?