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.
Watch Guy Pearson here.
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.
Watch Canon Donald Gray here.
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.
Watch Juanne Fuller here.
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.
Watch Henry Bonsu here.
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.
Watch Ollie Baines here.
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.
Watch Francesca Martinez here.
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.
Watch Gemma Waznicki here.
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.
Scottish fans booed Liechtenstein’s national anthem because it has the same tune as God Save the Queen, which they understand to be England’s national anthem.
The Scottish Football Association has apologised for the embarrassment, but strangely didn’t apologise to their own fans for the embarrassment of only beating Liechtenstein (pop. 36,000) by only one goal.
England beat Hungary last night. Could you be bothered to watch; do you care?
After the disappointment of the World Cup I didn’t watch the game on TV and I wouldn’t have travelled to Wembley even if I had been given free tickets. I’ll doubtless get behind the team at the next major tournament, but right now I just don’t feel that they’re worthy of my support. Not that I’ve particularly enjoyed my recent visits to Wembley. I find that it has very little atmosphere and the crowd noise tends to follow whatever the England Band decide that the crowd ought to be singing. There is none of the organic, witty and spontaneous singing and chanting that you get in club football and used to get at England matches. To attend an England match is to resign yourself to listening to an hour and a half of monotonous and manufactured atmosphere.
Sadly, and it pains me to say it, I’m in full agreement with this comment on the When Saturday Comes forum (swearing censored):
Oh. My. God. Now the Moron-Inspiring Mini-Orchestra have struck up the bits they know of “God Save the Queen”. Followed by “I’m England ‘Til I Die”.
Are England games at Wembley really, really, this f****** devoid of atmosphere that these c**** are necessary or indeed welcome? I pity the poor twats who’ve paid thousands to have a “season ticket”. Actually, I don’t, they are part of the f****** problem and they deserve what they’re getting.
Ah, it’s the opening few bars of the Great Escape Theme, again, now. For about the twentieth f****** time in the match.
And to think we English mock the vuvuzela.
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.
Wikipedia describes a hymn like so:
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), “a song of praise”.
In recent years the Church of England has appeared divided over the suitability of Jerusalem for religious occasions, mainly on account of the fact that it is not – in the view of many people – a proper hymn. However, as reported in today’s press (see the Telegraph and Mail), the Church of England have now come down in favour of the singing Jerusalem at weddings, a decision that will be a relief to a great many couples given that Jerusalem is the fifth most popular choice of for CofE weddings. The following is taken from the Church of England website:
Sung in churches, used by various organisations, and having been selected by the England Commonwealth Games team for their ‘victory anthem’, the hymn Jerusalem is liked by many but not all.
The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, said: “The runaway success of the planner shows the popularity of liturgy and hymns and what can happen when planning a service is made user friendly. These hymns, all firmly fixed in our hymn books, are much loved and have a rightful place in Church of England worship and in the online ceremony planner.”
A factsheet by the Revd Peter Moger, National Worship Development Officer, called Singing Jerusalem at Weddings, has also been released, as a guide for clergy. It highlights various ways to build on the hymn’s enduring popularity with churchgoers, various organisations and sports fans to “make a marriage special” and “forge a positive and lasting relationship with wedding couples”.
Whether this is a victory for common sense or a case of the Church bowing to popular and commercial demand is unclear. It’s most probably a bit of both. And frankly, who cares?
The following letter appeared in the Western Daily Press on 3rd July 2010.
Jacky Myers (Letters 01.07.10) writes that she is saddened by the fact that the English football team couldn’t be bothered to sing the national anthem with a bit of gusto.
It must have escaped her notice that England was the only country competing in the World Cup that does not have an anthem of its own.
Within the UK Land of my fathers is used as the national anthem for Wales and Scotland uses Flower of Scotland. God Save Our Queen is not an English national anthem but it is the United Kingdom anthem, which may explain the lack of enthusiasm shown by the English football team.
In this and the matter of devolution England alone is, as ever, denied a separate identity within the UK.
Nation has chosen anthem for England’s medallists
On St George’s Day 2010 Commonwealth Games England announced that they would let the nation decide which anthem is to be played at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi by allowing the public to vote for the song of their choice.
Voters were able to choose between God Save The Queen, Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory – with Jerusalem beating the both the national anthem and the anthem previously used for English athletes competing at Commonwealth Games. The new official anthem of the England Team will be played for English athletes on the podium in Delhi when a Gold medal is won.
England athlete Dean Macey, who won Gold at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, welcomed the new anthem, saying: “Jerusalem’s awesome for getting you pumped before competing. Couple this with the huge pride that comes in wearing the red lion and you’ve got the perfect anthem for England’s Commonwealth Games’.
Duncan Lewis, Marketing Director for Commonwealth Games England, said, “The nation has spoken and we are delighted to accept Jerusalem as the anthem for England athletes in Delhi. The response from the public has been absolutely fantastic and I hope they will carry on this level of enthusiasm in supporting the team in Delhi this summer.”
Survey by YouGov of 1,896 entrants
1. Jerusalem: 52.5%
2. Land of Hope and Glory: 32.5%
3. God Save The Queen: 12%
Via: We Are England