Government-backed plans to celebrate British values this Friday with patriotic singing and a minute’s clapping for Covid workers have hit a sour note.
The One Britain One Nation (OBON) Day was inspired by retired police inspector Kash Singh, who said he wanted to set up an organisation for people in the UK to celebrate their “passion, pride and love” for the nation.
The campaign won support from the Department for Education, which is encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate OBON Day, so that “children can learn about our shared values of kindness, pride and respect”.
OBON has also attracted high profile endorsement from the likes of actress Joanna Lumley, who described its aims as “impressive and timely”, and from Tory MP Brandon Lewis and former MPs David Steel and Norman Tebbit.
But the initiative, which includes singing a specially-composed OBON Day 2021 anthem, written by schoolchildren, has been derided as state-led propaganda on social media, with parallels drawn with North Korea and the Hitler Youth.
The devolved Welsh government has rejected the idea that the movement will be embraced by its members.
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And the idea of “one nation” has raised eyebrows north of the border among the humourless Scottish Nationalists.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the fact that OBON was being backed by ministers in Westminster was an illustration of the “misguided priorities” of the UK government.
Sturgeon’s response to youngsters writing and singing an upbeat song makes the SNP look like po-faced, hypersensitive kill-joys. But when did that ever stop them?