Hands off Jerusalem

In the Spectator’s St George’s Day special George Bridges asks should ‘Jerusalem’ be Engerlund’s anthem?

No. ‘Jerusalem’ is not a hymn for England, still less the Little Englanders…
Yes, I can well understand why the English feel taken for granted, and that the McMafia are taking the mickey. But an English national anthem will not help. We already have a national anthem — one that celebrates the monarchy, one of the few institutions that still binds us together as a nation. Yes, it is official in so far as we call it our ‘national anthem’, but there’s no law that enshrines its status. It’s part of the wonderful jumble of unwritten customs and traditions that make our constitution. Give England an official anthem, recognised by Parliament, and before long we will begin to unstitch another seam of our not-so-green and pleasant land. You can be English and you can be angry. But if we surrender ‘Jerusalem’ to the Little Englanders, those who believe in the United Kingdom would truly cease from mental fight.

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The routine conflation of English with British is both ignorant and aggravating; the Union flag and the national anthem are supra-national emblems, not the property of one part of the United Kingdom.

— Alex Massie, This Sceptred Isle

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