‘Cringe and underwhelming!’ Sadiq Khan’s ‘woke’ London display sparks fury

New Year 2022: London fireworks accompanied by poem

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The traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks in the capital did not take place for a second year, with crowds told to stay away due to rising Covid cases. However a smaller display went ahead at midnight which was broadcast on the BBC.

But the fireworks display sparked a strong reaction from some people on social media who complained it was “woke”.

One Twitter user, @mydoctrinesays, tweeted: “As per usual the London fireworks display, as shown on TV, is woke, cringe, and underwhelming.”

Another, @WCONNOLLY2512, fumed: “As Big Ben bonged and we welcome a new year, @SadiqKhan did not disappoint by, yet again, politicising London’s new year celebrations with woke diversity politics.

“Please next year, let’s just have the fireworks that we all enjoy, and forget about politics for just one day.”

A third Twitter user, @RedPillUK71, blasted: “Can we just go back to having fireworks on the London Eye, Big Ben & barges on the Thames with a mash up of music without the narration & a woke political agenda? So sick of it!#londonfireworks.”

Another, @justajuggler6, commented: “Jesus, even the London fireworks were woke.”

A fifth, @MrCommonSense01, hit out: “Woke. Worst fireworks for decades. Glad we didn’t waste money going down to watch them.”

One more Twitter user, @ClaireC1907, added: “Can’t we just have NYE fireworks like every other country without making it political.”

However, others were full of praise for the display in the capital to ring in 2022.

One Twitter user, @avvaswani, commented: “What an incredibly fabulous way to bring in the New Year!!! The fireworks were simply awesome! Thank you!! Felt so proud to call this incredible city home. Thank you again and a very happy new year!!”

Another, @Elladoob, wrote: “Felt very proud of my city!”

Big Ben rang out 12 times to signal the start of the display of fireworks and drones. 

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The BBC broadcast of the event featured Hamilton actor Giles Terera performing a poem by Thomas Roberts reflecting on the country’s recent achievements.

Mr Terera said: “As Big Ben’s chimes ring out around us, signalling a year that’s new, raise a glass, turn up the volume and welcome 2022.

“And as we share this midnight moment, and imagine all that’s still to come, let’s relish the magnificent things we achieved in 2021.

“We rallied around our NHS heroes as they rolled out the vaccination, and we stood beside our Three Lions, heads raised and proud, united together as a nation.

“We won 124 Paralympic medals, one of the greatest hauls we’ve ever seen, and our star Emma Raducanu won the US Open, she’s only 18.

“We saw the return of live events and reclaimed companionship and comradery.

“Tom Daley brought home gold and still found time to knit a cardi.

“Cop26 convened in Glasgow aspiring to build a world that heals, and Marcus Rashford and his fans gave out 21 million free school meals.”

The display near London’s landmarks went on to look ahead to 2022.

It highlighted Women’s Euro 2022 and referred to football players taking the knee in a statement against racism which has proved controversial.

The broadcast also celebrated theatre with a performance from the West End Musical Choir, as the industry continues to be hit by the pandemic.

There was a nod to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, as well as the words “everyone welcome” lit up in drones.

Mr Khan said: “There is no doubt that 2021 has been a tough year for us all, but there has also been so much to be proud of.

“I am delighted that we’ve put on a unique display showcasing the very best of London to the rest of the world – from paying tribute to our heroic NHS staff for their efforts in the vaccine rollout to the inspiring work of our sporting stars on and off the field.

“For the first time ever, we also included live performances to celebrate London’s world-class creative sector which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Our unique cultural offer is one of the reasons we are the greatest city in the world, and I’m delighted that tonight we have sent a message to the world that we are strong, we are resilient, and we can look forward to 2022 in London with excitement.”

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