Sunday, April 22, 2007

England deserves an anthem

It has always confused and bemused me that when Scotland, Wale or Northern Ireland play in sports competitions as individual nations they have their own national anthem. Meanwhile when England plays we use the British National Anthem of God Save the Queen. It's a bizarre and strange anomaly in the many other anomalies that exist in England's relationship with its neighbours who.

In fact, if you only listened to the stereotypical things that many in the other home nations of the UK say you'd think England was a historical force of imperial domination. It's probably the most successful spin in history that a nation can be taken over by the King of its neighbour (James VI of Scotland) and yet be vilified for doing the opposite simply because the said King preferred to live in London. England is the evil oppressor of her neighbours, the reverse takeover is often ignored for some reason.

I bring this up not because I'm bitter but because the first and most obvious argument that will be used to justify the anomaly of national anthem will be one about self-determination and national identity. The problem is is that England has been restricted from that privilege. It is assumed that God Save the Queen is England's national anthem simply because of the assumed position of England historically in her relationship with the other home nations.

England took everyone else over you see, therefore the Monarch is theirs, ergo they will sing to save her. The point of course is that England has her self-determination restricted by enforcing the British anthem on her. The British anthem actually profligates the myth that England is the dominating imperialist and bogey nation of the UK.

Where is this leading me? Well, it seems that the Lib Dem MP Gregg Mulholland has issues with the anthem anomaly as well. He has tabled a motion calling on England to adopt a national anthem distinct from God Save the Queen at sporting events where it competes individually.

I couldn't agree more with this sentiment, the question is, what should the anthem be? I've always like Pomp and Circumstance personally. Any other ideas?


Anonymous said...

Could always change the words of the first verse of the national anthem to the "unofficial" 4th verse unfortuantly abandoned towards the end of the 18th century.

Marshall Wade might have to be changed and King to Queen but otherwise it seems apt although a few chippy Glaswegian trots might take a dim view.

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King

"Its not difficult to spot the differance between a ray of sunshine and a Scotsman with a grieveance" P.G.Wodehouse

Peter Mc said...

Damn right. Jerusalem is the obvious choice except that it's not an easy sing, and the answer to the first line is 'No'. And Jerusalem isn't a good place to hold up as a model of anything good. I vow to thee my country: stirring melody. Rule Britannia wouldn't work after the Shatt el Arab debacle: we can't rule a disputed Persian tidal ditch far less the waves and despite another stomping melody it's not English. Again. Some words to Elgar's Nimrod, maybe. For something truly English the Hymn to Virginity from St Bede's History of thee English Church and People. Given out teen pregnancy rate, maybe not and anyway the melody hasn't survived. It must be rousing, easy to sing and speak to something in the English. The decision must also have nothing to do with the department of culture, media and sport.

Tim Worstall said...

Ahem, James VI, not IV.
Gotta be Jerusalem: about the only thing I agree with Billy Bragg about, he's been campaigning for this for years

dizzy said...

oops.. typo amended.

Buenaventura Durruti said...

Got to be Jerusalem.

Being Welsh I've always found it offensive to have the British national anthym sung 'against' me at the Arms Park or Millennium Stadium.

I think it's quite appropriate that that football supporters, for instance, fly the flag of St George instead of the Union flag in support of their team.

Sir Dando Tweakshafte said...

I imagine that pretty much the only thing acceptable in multi-culti "South Britain" would be erm...

"The wheels on the bus go round and round"

(although Pub Landlord Al Murray makes a telling case in one of his DVDs for "Insy-Winsy Spider")

Croydonian said...

Jerusalem. End of.

Alan Douglas said...

Dear Dizzy,

I have a recommendation : get a grammar course on the difference between their, there, they're ! Apart from that I do enjoy your musings.

What about Land of Hope and Glory ? If there are non-suitable words they could easily be re-written.

Alan Douglas

PS - you can leave off the grammar comment - that is really addressed to you privately.

dizzy said...

I don;t need a grammar course I know the difference. My problem is I type too fast and Blogger only does spell checking. I tend to just type and the first way of spelling it that comes to me is what goes on the page. What I really need is to learn to proof read. Unfortunately I cannot edit comment so the grammer [sic] comment shall remain.

Anonymous said...

I thought Land of Hope and Glory was used in some English sporting circumstances. Or maybe my memory sucks.

As far as I'm concerned that's by far and away the obvious choice. Jerusalem may be seen, in some ways, as being more appropriate, but it's not quite got the popular rousingness that's needed. Sorry chaps!

Anonymous said...

When Northern Ireland's football team play, the anthem is God Save The Queen too. Only at the Commonwealth Games does it change to Oh Danny Boy and England's to Land Of Hope And Glory.

Mostly Ordinary said...

I reckon we need something which sums up English sport and we all know. So I propose 'Things can only get better' by those giants of pop D:Ream.

So all together now -

You can walk my path
You can wear my shoes
Let her talk like me
And be an angel too

But maybe
You ain't never gonna feel this way
You ain't never gonna know me
But I know you...
Teach you now that

Things can only get better
Can only get, can only get
They get on from here
You know, I know that
Things can only get better

I sometimes lose myself in me
I lose track of time
And I can't see the world's formed trees
You set them alight, burning the bridges as you go
I'm too weak to fight you
I got my personal health to deal with
And you say

Walk my path
Wear my shoes
Talk like me
I'll be an angel and

Things can only get better
Can only get better
Now I've found you
(That means me)
(Will you teach me now)
Things can only get better
Can only get better
Now I've found you

And you and you...
You... show me prejudice and greed
You show me how
I must learn to deal with this disease
I look at things now
In a different light than I did before
I found the cause
And I think that you could be my cure
And you say

Walk your path
Wear your shoes
Talk like that
I'll be an angel too


Things can only get, can only get
Things can only get, can only get
Things can only get, can only get
Things can only get, can only get


Chris Paul said...

London Calling?
New England?
Fairytale of New York?
World in Motion?

Jerusalem I'd accept ... the capital city of a United Palestine (puts on tin hat) ...

Anonymous said...

Jerusalem, obviously
But as a close second how about "Roast Beef of Old England" of which verse 2 sings as follows:

"But since we have learnt
From all-vapouring France
To eat their ragouts
As well as to dance,
We're fed up with nothing
But vain complaisance
Oh the Roast Beef of Old England
And old English Roast Beef

The rest is along the same lines.
In Nelson's day this served pretty much as the National Anthem, at least at sea

Anonymous said...

Lets keep God Save the Queen, but use the Sex Pistols version!

Anonymous said...

Gregg Mulholland is Lib Dem

dizzy said...

clearly too used to writing "Labour MP"

Anonymous said...

Don't get your argument for why England does not have an individual anthem for sporting occasions like the Scots, Welsh or Irish.
If English sporting fans want a more individual tune that gets them singing in the stands, then go out and campaign for one. If enough people are exercised about it and demand it you will get it. Yuck, I hate this constant self victimisation of England, it not the other home nations fault that no one has got off their backside and done anything about apart from observe or whinge.