Call for an English anthem

Today’s Sunday Telegraph carries the following letter:

An English anthem would give us pride without prejudice

SIR – When British athletes win Gold for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, God Save the Queen will play to celebrate. However, when it is England who take to the sporting field to play rugby or football, they should be heralded by an English anthem for an English team, just as Flower of Scotland and Land of My Fathers are sung as Scottish and Welsh anthems.

The lack of an English national anthem can lead to complaints about a lack of fair play, while treating the British national anthem as if it belongs to England undermines an equal claim to British identity and the allegiance of other nations within the United Kingdom.

An English anthem would show symbolically that pride in our national identities is no barrier to being proud to be British too. We would like to see an English anthem used when England play France in their first game in this summer’s Euro 2012 football tournament.

This St George’s Day is an ideal moment for the proud and inclusive majority in our country to speak up. It would strengthen the case that the fringe extremists of the English Defence League, who would tear England apart, have no real claim to St George’s flag.

An English anthem for the talented, diverse teams that represent us on the sporting field would help modern patriotic pride to defeat prejudice.

Sunder Katwala Director, British Future
Robert Halfon MP (Con)
David Lammy MP (Labour)
Greg Mulholland MP (Lib Dem)
Rob Berkeley Director, Runnymede Trust
Baroness Berridge (Con)
Phillip Blond Director, ResPublica
Mihir Bose
Jon Cruddas MP (Lab)
Iain Dale
David Goodhart Director, Demos
Paul Goodman Co-editor, ConservativeHome
Sunny Hundal Editor, Liberal Conspiracy
Guy Lodge Associate Director, IPPR
Rachael Jolley Editorial director, British Future
Dr Andrew Mycock Huddersfield University
Prof Tariq Modood Bristol University
Max Wind-Cowie Head of Progressive Conservatism Project, Demos
Gareth Young OurKingdom

The letter is referenced in Jasper Copping’s Telegraph article ‘St George’s flag is a racist symbol says a quarter of the English‘.

The letter is the initiative of the British Future think tank, whose report This Sceptred Isle is released tomorrow, St George’s Day. British Future have created a Facebook page to drive their anthem campaign; you can join it here, but don’t forget to join the anthem4england Facebook page too!

11 Comments Post a Comment
  1. […] Sunday Telegraph letters page carries some reaction to last weekend’s call for an English anthem, the most irritating of which was this reactionary letter: The English have a perfectly good anthem […]

  2. Lewis says:

    I believe that england should have it’s on anthem because when we watch the Euro 2012 in Poland this year I will be annoyed because when we sing God Save the Queen we are pretty much singing we are with the church of England and no other religions and that we will die for the Queen.
    I am c Catholic i do not support the Queen i Support the Pope

    • Jim Gillbanks says:

      The mind boggles at the stupidity of some people, since when is it understood that you would be supporting the C of E if you sing the National Anthem, and what has religion got to do with it anyway, Plenty of people of other religions show respect for the National Anthem, even RCs, I respect the Pope even though I am not RC, I suspect you are just a bigot..

  3. roddy says:

    If the English want a national anthem let them have one.but this website is highly misinformed and highlights the reasons why the union will inevitably brake up.Perhaps rather than looking for an anthem the English would do well to do a little soul searching as to why they seem to alienate fellow union members.I of course know that the motives aspirations and opinions of the English are as diverse as that of the Scots or the Welsh but in keeping with this poorly informed website I shall lump them into one stereotype.

    • Jim Gillbanks says:

      Just as well I don’t lump all Welsh people with the ignorant ones I met when we went camping in North Wales, who suddenly started speaking Welsh and laughing whilst looking at us in the pub we visited.

      • roddy says:

        Jim how ignorant of the welsh speaking welsh in wales.I have met some ignorant french and Germans before who did exactly the same thing (in there own countries) I believe the world is full of ignorant people speaking there mother tongue in there own lands.its so good that people like yourself go out and make the effort to speak English to the natives.It has often been noted that the English make the “model tourist”

        • Jim Gillbanks says:

          Roddy, it was not the fact that they spoke Welsh, it was the grinning and nodding in our direction whilst doing so, they were obviously having a joke at our expense.
          We English have been very successful at spreading our language, it is spoken by people in the furthest reaches of the world, indeed I believe you have to speak English to be a pilot or sea captain, but not if you are sitting in a coracle(sp). I notice that your English grammar could do with a bit of revision, sorry about that, we do try to educate.

          • roddy says:

            We English have been very successful at spreading our language, it is spoken by people in the furthest reaches of the world, indeed I believe you have to speak English to be a pilot or sea captain,
            Jim perhaps the spread of the English language owes more to historical circumstance than any intentional push by the English people.The welsh speaking Welsh in the pub complaint is an old chestnut,I cannot comment as I wasn’t there but as someone who has lived in england and wales I can tell you I have been exposed to far more anti welsh sentiment in england than the other way round.As regards your comment to Lewis, the mind boggles anyone with the simplest understanding of English history can see why god save the queen is an objectionable national anthem for Catholics.do you really not realize who and what our monarch represents?

  4. Jim Gillbanks says:

    Roddy, the Premier Marshall of England, the Duke of Norfolk is a Catholic, he supervises the Coronation and other events and there are many other Catholics, in Parliament for instance who swear allegiance to the crown. Although the Queen,or King is head of the Cof E they represent all faiths as the Monarch, and don’t discriminate. I find it hilarious when my mate rants against the Orange Order, then I tell him that the Pope gave a Mass to celebrate William of Orange’s victory over James the Second at the battle of the Boyne, all done in jest of course, Most people have grown out of the religious bigotry that used to be prevalent in some areas.
    By using the word chestnut I suppose you mean a fabricated myth, well it was no myth, I can assure you. English was spread around the globe by successive waves of migrants, some of whom were convicts and indentured servants going to the colonies, the same as Welsh was in Patagonia, which I believe is the only place outside Wales where it is spoken, but I bet when they travel abroad they speak Spanish or English, unless they travel to Wales of course..You will always get some people who are ignorant and like to insult others, whether it be because they have red hair or have a physical deformity, race, whatever, blind prejudice produces blind idiots, like those people who booed the British National Anthem in the belief that it is the English National Anthem, that is why I support the call for an English Anthem, my choice would be Jerusalem.

    • roddy says:

      Jim a great choice of anthem.We could bat back and forward about the monarchy and the catholic church,I think it would probably be pointless to do in this forum as it is not a clear tidy aspect of British history. As an atheist and a republican I would rather the British did not sing about the queen or god.I also think we could argue till the cows came home about who spread English to the rest of the world again its a complicated picture for example: in the 1700s there were far more English migrants went to the Americas than English speaking Scots , Irish or welsh but then I believe the process of consolidating English and formalizing spelling was as much a Scottish as an English or American undertaking. The Scottish enlightenment and writers such as scot probably had a large part in fueling the flames of the English language. English was spread by English speakers who were sometimes English and sometimes not.
      there are rude welsh people and there are rude English people! if we are to continue the union perhaps a little understanding and a little bit less misplaced arrogance on all sides wouldn’t go a miss.

      • Jim Gillbanks says:

        Roddy, I agree thatwe would probably never agree regarding the spreading of English except to say thet when America was colonised it was part of the English empire, so it was not unusual that mostly English people went there, the Union wasn’t formed until 1707.
        As a republican I suppose you would be happy to see someone like Tony Blair, or some other ex politician, or union nominee be your President, we already see what calibre in such as Bush, Obama, Sarkozy, Mugabi, is that what you really want? I don’t, I am happy with a Constitutional Monarchy, whose head is politically nuetral.

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