Jon Cruddas, champion of the Labour left, has written in support of Jerusalem as England’s national anthem in today’s New Statesman:
Labour has attempted to tackle the question of national identity before. In 1995 Blair described living in “a new age but in an old country”. Then, in 1997, the opportunist branding exercise of “Cool Britannia” took hold. In Brown’s jaded administrative appeal to Britishness a decade later, the search for an overarching national story reappeared. These were all elite expressions of nationhood concocted in Westminster. This time, Labour has to go to the streets. Let’s debate the idea of an English parliament in, say, York. Why not have elected mayors and parliaments in our major cities and give them back their civic identity and vitality? We are a footballing nation – let’s elect the manager of our national team. Then Labour could campaign for a new national anthem – “Jerusalem” – and allow the English to stand tall again.