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Gareth has written 54 articles so far, you can find them below.

Cap in hand

by John Joannides

This is my first posting here so it’s with some considerable satisfaction that I find myself doing what I normally do, that is to stretch my remit so far beyond what it actually is as to try the very patience of an angel.

I am casting my mind back. Far, far back in time to when I first met the young lady that I was eventually to marry. Musically challenged, or rather challenging, is the way I would have described her at the time but on reflection I admit that it was my own insistence at dwelling upon the trailing edge of music made predominantly by the progressive rockers of the 1970’s that was the cause of many a musical difference and misunderstanding. I still can’t quite get to the point of appreciating the soundtrack from Starlight Express but there is much that she appreciates that I have become fond of too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of Gabriel during his dressing as a flower stage but my net is now cast considerably wider.

It was during one of our many short road trips across England that I became acquainted with one of her new favourites. A predominantly acoustic band that was briefly popular with the masses but which was also blessed, as is often the way, with far more talent than is usually made apparent by the saleable releases played on the commercial radio stations.

“Scottish?”, I said. “I think so”, she replied. “They’re called The Proclaimers”.

There was one song in particular the set the goose bumps all aquiver. Called Cap in Hand it was a veritable anthem of a song driven by a deep seated desire for equality and a passion for Scottish nationalsm in a British Union that was apparently seen by some as being driven predominantly for the benefit of the largest nation in that Union, England.

I felt completely at ease with the song, seeing it as a relic from times long gone. I certainly did not notice in it anything recognisably current with respect to Scotland’s place in the Union but I fairly admit that I had not undergone any particular political awakening before hearing it for the first time.

Things are different now and I am less at ease.

Here’s a taster but I do urge the eager reader to get hold of a copy to listen to as only then can you really get a taste of the songs energy and fervour.

I could get a broken jaw from being in a fight
I know it’s evening when day turns to night
I can understand why stranraer lie so lowly
They could save a lot of points by signing hibs goalie

But I can’t understand why we let someone else rule our land
We’re cap in hand

We fight – when they ask us
We boast – then we cower
We beg
For a piece of
What’s already, what’s already, what’s already ours

Less at ease indeed and that’s not just because I lack any memory of seeing a Scotsman begging and cowering to an Englishman (I doubt any of us have such a memory). No, I am less at ease because the political climate that persists in the Union serves to deflate the song entirely. Absolutely. Utterly.

England now is barely a nation except in the hearts and minds of those that call themselves English. While Scottish ministers hail Scotland as a nation in its own right they deign to refer to England as “The Regions”. More painfully our own UK politicians, with mandates from English constituencies, seem eager to join in with the absurd nomenclature. Even UK government ministers are not immune from using such derisive language. This is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and here are its nations and regions. The regions are The English Regions. I bet you don’t remember voting for that particular paradigm shift in the British Union.

England has no parliament. England has no executive to look after its interests. England has per head public spending that is far less than that of Scotland. England has few civic institutions that have not been misappropriated for Britain and England has no national anthem.

What England does have is a growing number of people that are beginning to wake up to what is happening to their country. If there is one thing that the English can be counted on for it is a tolerance that is born out of a sense of fair play and justice. A sense of equality. But the bond has been broken by New Labour’s disastrous devolution settlement. A settlement that sees Scotland with its own parliament, Wales with its own Assembly and an unpopular and unfair regional agenda in England.

The English will soon be struggling to keep their Shire Counties intact.

The dangers to England posed by the increasingly asymmetrical state of the Union is no longer a secret and the fight back has begun. Part of that fight is an anthem for England and one of the reasons why it will be difficult to attain is because its existence goes some way to gaining recognition of England as a singular entity. The very notion is contrary to the direction of travel of the British Union and, to some extent, the political aspirations of the European Union.

But hey, that won’t stop us trying. After all, why should we English have to beg for a piece of what’s already ours?

No distinction between English and British

Unlike their Scottish and Welsh counterparts the English Football Association continue to play God Save the Queen, the British national anthem, even when England are playing other British nations. Why?, you may well ask. Well, according to Premier League chairman Dave Richards:

“There’s no distinction between English and British.”

How utterly bizarre. These people reside on a wholly different planet to the fans that they are supposed to represent.

England, My England

I read over the weekend that the FA is looking to make this the official England World Cup song, which if true is nicer than a lot of the ones they have used in the past.

England, My England

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

WHAT have I done for you,
England, my England?
What is there I would not do,
England, my own? With your glorious eyes austere,
As the Lord were walking near, Whispering terrible things and dear
As the Song on your bugles blown,
Round the world on your bugles blown!

Where shall the watchful sun,
England, my England,
Match the master-work you’ve done,
England, my own? When shall he rejoice agen
Such a breed of mighty men As come forward, one to ten,
To the Song on your bugles blown,
Down the years on your bugles blown?

Ever the faith endures,
England, my England:-
Take and break us: we are yours,
England, my own!
Life is good, and joy runs high
Between English earth and sky:
Death is death; but we shall die
To the Song of your bugles blown,
To the stars on your bugles blown

They call you proud and hard,
England, my England:
You with worlds to watch and ward,
England, my own!
You whose mail’d hand keeps the keys
Of such teeming destinies,
You could know nor dread nor ease
Were the Song on your bugles blown,
Round the Pit on your bugles blown!

Mother of Ships whose might,
England, my England,
Is the fierce old Sea’s delight,
England, my own,
Chosen daughter of the Lord,
Spouse-in-Chief of the ancient Sword,
There’s the menace of the Word
In the Song on your bugles blown,
Out of heaven on your bugles blown!

Jerusalem: An anthem for England?

Philosophy Football are in favour of England adopting Jerusalem as the national anthem –

Whenever England play Scotland or Wales at football and the teams line up for the National Anthems something a bit weird happens. The Scots have their anthem, Flower of Scotland and the Welsh theirs, Land of My Fathers but the English don’t. Instead we join in with the BRITISH anthem, God Save the Queen. And whatever our differing views on the perilous state of the House of Windsor everyone knows their realm isn’t just this particular part of these islands.

The Commonwealth Games in Manchester muddied the musical mystery still further with England’s Gold Medals being awarded to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory. Meanwhile the Ashes victory (won of course by a team calling itself England but actually representing England AND Wales) was celebrated by the singing of Jerusalem.

To our mind Jerusalem is the number one choice for an English National Anthem, and the sooner it is adopted the better, and fairer. Our Jerusalem shirt is a contribution to the cause. Why Jerusalem? It is traditional, it actually mentions ENGLAND in the words (something surely any NATIONAl anthem has to do, and God Save the Queen does not), combines the rural and the urban, and is a song of desire for a better life. Christian? Certainly in inspiration, yet secular in its ambition.

You just gotta love that t-shirt!

UPDATE: I am now the proud owner of the Philosophy Football Jerusalem t-shirt. It’s great, very good quality, and I highly recommend it.

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Random Quote

I am very concerned that the UK national anthem is used when England play rugby or soccer – particularly against Scotland and Wales.

— Greg Pope MP

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