Posted by: secretperson | December 3, 2007

First the Flag, Now the Anthem, but England is the Real Loser in the Union

Following on from the calls from a Welsh MP to change the Union flag to include a Welsh dragon, this week the United Kingdom anthem, God Save the Queen, is under attack. Lord Goldsmith, undertaking a citizenship review (whatever that might mean?) has just discovered, it seems, that one of the later verses in God Save the Queen contains the line “Rebellious Scots to crush” which isn’t “inclusive”.

For one you’d have thought Gordon would be glad to crush the rebellious Scots of the SNP. And two, does it really matter, noone even knows the second verse let alone the sixth! (OK I have to admit I do know the second verse, but I am unusual). Wikipedia even claims that verse was dropped before it’s adoption as a national anthem. It is not official anyway, merely enforced by tradition, and the tradition is only to sing one verse normally.

As I pointed out at the time of the flag complaint, it’s all very well trying to update symbols to include the Scots and Welsh more, but what about the English? We have more than mere symbols to concern ourselves with, we have a genuine democratic deficit. Rather than reforming symbols in a sad attempt to preserve a dying union, why not engage in serious constitutional reform, maybe even independence. There’d be no problems with offensive anthems if we all just had our own.

Further reading: Anthem for England.

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Responses

  1. What’s your view on what England’s national anthem should be? Jerusalem? That’s a terrifically stirring song, without a doubt; but I’m not sure about the outdated, quasi-socialistic utopianism behind the idea of building a secular Jerusalem – if that’s what it means.

  2. I don’t actually know. God Save the Queen still means something to me, just because I grew up with it as the English Anthem, and I am a monarchist so support some of the sentiment. Although I am also an atheist so the God stuff doesn’t exactly work for me.

    Jerusalem is a brilliant song, much better musically than GSTQ, it also moves me to hear it. I don’t think it’s a secular Jerusalem I think Blake was quite religious, although I am not. It mentions England by name, and I like the ‘green and pleasant land’ imagery. It’s probably the best choice, despite the religious themes. And Anthem for England polls show it’s popular.

    Maybe we could have both, GSTQ as a Royal Anthem, and Jerusalem as a State anthem? My real point though is that while the Welsh and Scots worry about flags and anthems, we English must worry about having a parliament and an unfair funding situation. Songs are secondary.

  3. Agreed about the only secondary importance of songs and flags.


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