Six months after our petition ended the Prime Minister’s Office has finally got around to responding.
You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to “initiate a Parliamentary debate on the adoption of a national anthem for England that is distinct from the British national anthem.”
The Prime Minister’s Office has responded to that petition and you can view it here: http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page13766.asp
There are currently no plans to introduce an official English anthem, but the Government recognises that the constituent parts of the United Kingdom may quite properly have national songs for which they have a particular attachment. However, the choice of anthem at sporting events is entirely a matter for the sport concerned. The English Cricket Board, for instance, made the decision to play ‘Jerusalem’ when the team took the field. Any such suggestions are best addressed to the relevant sport’s governing body.
So that, we must take it, is the official position of the United Kingdom Government. We will have to adopt another strategy in order to further the anthem4england campaign.
However, it is not inconceivable that the UK Government might be embarrassed into discussing the issue of an English national anthem in the wake of a debate initiated by the SNP administration up in Scotland. In opposition the SNP frequently raised the matter. Possibly this was a way of grabbing headlines, we shall have to wait and see whether in government they have the stomach to take on such a contentious subject.
In other news Radio Four’s Questions Questions broadcast a heavily truncated interview with Stuart Parr in which Stuart mentioned anthem4england. Our thanks to Stuart for his efforts, and our commiserations that they only played a brief snippet of the interview. I can sympathise because I was interviewed for half an hour by BBC Radio Lincolnshire back in March and only five minutes of the interview actually made it onto the radio.