‘Ridicule’ led to UK Government u-turn on ‘One Britain One Nation’ day
Internal documents show that the UK Government u-turned on backing this year’s ‘One Britain One Nation Day’ due to “ridicule” in the press and a “Twitter frenzy”.
Nation.Cymru revealed on 22 June that the UK Government wanted school children across Wales to sing a ‘We are Britain’ anthem as part of an event that would teach them about the UK’s “shared values”.
The ‘One Britain One Nation’ day on June 25th would have included singing the song “We are Britain and we have one dream to unite all people in one Great Team”.
The Department for Education said at the time: “We’re encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about our shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect.”
However internal emails released to the Sunday National newspaper in Scotland suggest that No 10 Downing Street performed a hasty U-turn when the press got hold of the story.
The new documents show how special advisers were “keen for DfE [to] support and promote OBON Day” after a May meeting between a government official and its founder and CEO Kash Singh.
However, by 23 June No 10 was briefing to ministers to that the event had attracted “ridicule” and that they should tell journalists that the Government hadn’t provided any funding amid a “Twitter frenzy”.
By 25 July the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said that the ‘One Britain One Nation’ day did succeed in uniting the UK – “in people laughing”.
At this Covid press conference, he said that he was in favour of the United Kingdom but did not believe that the best way to make the case for it was through “flag-waving and song singing”.
“I want to case for UK made strongly,” he said. “But the way the UK Government go about it minimises real case. It relies on a flag waving approach that simply doesn’t work.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.