Given that anthem4england and others have repeatedly warned of the consequences of having the same national anthem for England and Britain, it’s rather amusing to read of the ‘fury’ when non-English Olympians fail to sing God Save the Queen.
Why should they sing something that they regard as the English national anthem (and with some justification); do we ask English Olympians to sing Flower of Scotland or Land of My Fathers?
Rather predictably it was the Daily Mail that was most outraged.
The Early Doors blog provides a rational (non-Daily Mail) perspective (my bold):
1-Singing the national anthem is, and always has been, optional.
2-Singing the national anthem is not a barometer of how much you love your country.
3-How much you love your country is not a barometer of how good you are at sport.
4-One of the things that makes Britain semi-decent is the element of personal freedom. Countries that force people to sing national anthems? Not so free.
5-Olympic athletes are sportsmen, not singers. Their focus should be on performance, not fake displays of patriotism for the benefit of the press.
6-In football terms, God Save The Queen is the English anthem, Land Of Our Fathers is the Welsh one. ED can understand Welsh players not singing the anthem associated with England. Not because they hate the Queen, but because it would feel a bit weird.
7-There was no show of disrespect. The players stood to attention, and didn’t in any way muck about.
8-Hardly anyone was offended by the non-sing, and those that were should have their opinions instantly disregarded as moronic.
Anthem4england endorses the sentiments of Early Doors, but with an addendum to point 6 to state that England and Britain should have different national anthems.
At anthem4england we’re delighted that the think-tank British Future has begun campaigning for an English anthem.
And we’d be doubly delighted if, as indicated by this letter, The Royal Society of St George are also supportive of the campaign for an English anthem.
We need to have an anthem for England
I WRITE with reference to the article ‘England’s own anthem?’ (The Citizen, April 24).
In a couple of month’s time English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland athletes will form Team Great Britain and compete under the Union Jack in the Olympics. Hopefully, many of these athletes will be successful and stand on the rostrum to receive medals to the strain of God Save the Queen. Following that sporting event, early in the New Year of 2013 English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish rugby players will represent their respective countries in The Six Nations rugby tournament. Before each game the national anthems for each country will be played. It makes little sense that God Save the Queen should be the anthem of choice for England at this tournament, as the Olympics has clearly indicated it is the anthem of Great Britain.
The time has come for England to have a patriotic anthem like the other countries that form the union of Great Britain.
The Royal Society of St George should be supported in their aim to promote an English National Anthem and more importance should be attached to St George’s Day to celebrate all things English.
The English have a perfectly good anthem in God Save the Queen and a fine flag in the Union flag. There is simply no need or demand for the English to adopt the flag of St George or a new song.
What is more, there is definitely no reason for this motley assortment of think tankers, academics and lawmakers even to consider how to give the English a chance to “help modern patriotic pride to defeat prejudice” by proposing an anthem and a flag.
The further thoughts of this ‘motley assortment of think tankers, academics and lawmakers’ can be read here.
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 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!
Oliver Wates’ letter in today’s Independent backs up Anthem4England’s view that the use of God Save the Queen as an English anthem undermines Britishness.
Scottish nationalism would not be the force it is today without the perverse decision by the (England) Rugby Football Union to use the British national anthem for the England team (letters, 11, 12, 13, 14 January).
In the 1960s, to be a Scottish Nationalist was the equivalent of declaring your religion as Jedi Knight. No one took them seriously. Scots would be desperate for their team to thrash England at Murrayfield, but at the end of the match they were still as British as the men in white.
Several decades of rugby as a televised spectator sport have changed all that. How can a young Scot who grows up seeing the British national anthem being used to represent the “enemy” team feel fully British? You could not devise a better way to alienate an entire people. It screams, “You are second-class citizens”.
Why on earth did the RFU allow this damaging and illegitimate use of the British anthem? A simple phone call to the effect that HM did not approve of her British anthem being appropriated by just one of the four UK constituents would have settled the matter and we’d all be singing “Jerusalem” instead.
A whole generation of Scots has grown up to think of “Britain” as no more than a vehicle for English arrogance. It didn’t have to be like that.
“William takes a very active interest in Welsh rugby and Kate ended up closely following their fortunes with him during the recent World Cup. She has pretty much been converted into a Wales fan when it comes to rugby.”
Prince Harry is a passionate England fan and Princess Anne follows Scotland. Her daughter Zara Phillips is married to former England captain Mike Tindall.
The readers of This England Magazine have chosen Land of Hope and Glory as their favourite anthem for England.
This England’s National Anthem Survey
Many thanks to all of you who voted either through the website or by post. Thank you also for your many interesting comments, a selection of which will be published in the summer edition of This England, together with details of the “Other” suggestions. The results of the vote are as follows:
Should England have its own National Anthem?
What would your choice of National Anthem be?
Land of Hope and Glory 40%
I Vow to Thee, My Country 32%
Rule Britannia 3%
Channel4′s 4thought.tv has several short films discussing Jerusalem.
Should Jerusalem be adopted as the English national anthem? Pianist and composer Guy Pearson believes that, 200 years after it was written, Jerusalem is still totally relevant because it speaks about the liberation of the human soul, and that it would make a great anthem for planet earth.
Should Jerusalem be adopted as the English national anthem? Canon Donald Gray was chaplain to the Queen for 20 years. He thinks that Jerusalem is patronising to people who live in cities and believes that the Queen appreciates when the people sing their prayer to her: God Save the Queen.
Should Jerusalem be adopted as the English national anthem? Radio presenter Juanne Fuller ‘detests’ God Save the Queen because it excludes people who do not believe in God or the monarchy, and thinks that Jerusalem would make a brilliant anthem as it speaks about fighting for a better society for all.
Should Jerusalem be adopted as the English national anthem? Broadcaster Henry Bonsu would not feel comfortable with Jerusalem as the national anthem: for him, the ‘green and pleasant land’ of the hymn reminds him of the hostility he has faced when visiting the English countryside.
Should Jerusalem be adopted as the English national anthem? Ollie Baines of the classical group Blake remembers singing Jerusalem for the Queen and at the funeral of a close friend, and believes it is a stirring anthem that everyone can get behind.
Should Jerusalem be adopted as the English national anthem? Comedian and actress Francesca Martinez doesn’t believe a Christian song should be used as an anthem for a country that is so strongly multicultural: in fact, she questions whether we should have a national anthem at all.
English athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi are using the hymn Jerusalem as their official anthem for the first time. For some people it is a proud, patriotic song, for others an uncomfortable reminder of Empire, but should Jerusalem replace the national anthem?
Twenty-six-year-old WI member Gemma Waznicki is proud that Jerusalem has been the anthem of the Women’s Institute for almost 100 years, inspiring generations of women to fight for equality.
The adoption of Jerusalem as England’s ‘victory anthem’ at the Commonwealth Games has provoked some controversy. Admittedly not much, but some. The Guardian decided to conduct an online poll to determine what the English anthem should have been. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve… Too late, Guardian.
Our first gold medalist, Fran Halsall, complained that she did not know the words:
“It definitely wasn’t expected, even my coach got a little bit excited about that and he doesn’t get excited by much. It was really nice to see the England flag at the top and two Aussies underneath. I don’t really know the words to Jerusalem, though: I was going to sing Land of Hope and Glory because that’s the one I know.”
Jerusalem was slagged off by Clare Balding and everyone in the BBC studio. Clare read out one of the ‘many’ anthem-related emails that they had received, and the particular one she chose asked “Why is our anthem not God Save the Queen?” To her credit Clare gave the following answer that could have been lifted straight from this site.
Technically it shouldn’t be actually because, obviously, God Save the Queen is the national anthem of Great Britain, it is not the national anthem of England and it would be rather arrogant if England were to assume that it was.
Liam Tancock, England’s second gold medalist of the day, was far more relaxed, remarking that Jerusalem allowed him to enjoy a longer time on the podium than would otherwise have been his privilege with the shorter Land of Hope and Glory.