Nothing gets the British so passionate as an assault on their most cherished traditions. And the younger those traditions are, the more recently they were added to the national canon, the more ardently they must be defended. For the British seemingly could not care tuppence-ha'penny about more venerable aspects of the national landscape, such as the charmingly idiosyncratic hodge-podge of our high streets, now brutally homogenised into chain stores and deflowered by out-of-town shopping centres. The British do not really care two hoots about quaint past notions such as the presumption of innocence. The Magna Carta can happily rot.
But raise so much as one finger against a bland intertwining of vaguely uninteresting tunes broadcast on Radio 4 at a time when hardly anyone is listening, and it is as if the hordes of hell itself had been let loose to trample on the national soul. One blogger even calls for the assistance of the dark arts. Outraged MPs raise the issue in the Commons.
Yes, the BBC is thinking of scrapping the UK theme. Along with other millennia-old traditions, such as the Routemaster bus and red phone boxes, the UK theme is suddenly found to be the repository of all things British. The fact that it is in truth significantly younger than the Beatles, and that it is as much of a British tradition as, say, our membership of the European Union, seemingly counts for little.
Personally, I am a bit of a fan of the UK theme. On the relatively rare occasions when I am conscious at 5.30am (or 12.30am here), it provides a jaunty start (or end) to the day. Were I to have to listen to its insistent cheerfulness seven days a week, however, I might well consider throwing my radio out of the window.
But the UK theme as a great British institution under threat? Pull the other one. What a wonderfully, fabulously peculiar bunch the British are.