Jerusalem on 4

Channel4’s 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.

6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. john says:

    I can see no reason for any change. Jerusalem is as much a Christian anthem as God Save the Queen.

  2. Alfred the OK says:

    Bit disappointed at Donald Gray’s position – I knew him quite well in the late 70’s early ’80’s when he was sky piloting at St Nicks’ – the seaman’s church down at the Pier Head right next to the Liver Buildings in Liverpool. Then, he was a fairly coherent and intelligent individual – so I simply do not understand how he can think that Jerusalem is somehow ‘green-wellyish’ to people who live in towns and cities…

  3. Why bother to pretend?
    We, the English public have voted over and over and over again for Jerusalem to be England’s national anthem.It always comes top in polls and this is always ignored.
    Bearing in mind the hypocrites who pretend their interest are the same ‘representatives’ who do their best to destroy England’s unity by breaking our land into ‘regions’,I think this is a subject which is dead in the water.

    • Paul Archer says:

      You & many others may have voted, but not very appropriate.Quasi-anti semitic, ambigiousness on whether it has a British or English sentiment, the political / non-conformist sentiment that Blake had.

      Very controversial IMHO

  4. England should have its own anthem, it is ridiculous that God save the queen can be sung at an England V Scotland Rugby match, representing just England, and then Sung by Scottish atheletes who represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

    Jerusalem seems to be the only option as it exclusively refers to England rather than other national songs that refer to Britain (Such as Rule Britannia) or Land of Hope and Glory which was meant as a British national song during the (jingoistic) time of the British (not English) Empire

  5. Paul Archer says:

    Is it anti-semitic (both anti-islamic & anti-jewish using the true meaning of semitic) ?
    Does it bring in to question the hope of forming a ‘christian’ Kingdom of Jerusalem within ‘British’ shores with the association with the Crusades & the controversies surrounding that.

    Is it disrespectful of other British nations using it as specific anthem for the English ?
    Early verses reference the formation of Celtic ‘Brythonic’ Church which hint at the British context the poem has, although England is used in the verses ambigiously (this is not an isolated case, quite common when historical reference is used by the English – English/British ambiguity).

    Is it anti-English even ?
    It is critical of England not achieving a panacea – a call of reform of England.It’s not a glorification of England at all, as many perceive it to be.

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Blake’s lines can be made to mean very much what those who sing and hear them want them to mean. Only one idea has to be common to every interpretation. Jerusalem is a paean of praise for England – England as it is, as it could be or even as it once was.

— Roy Hattersley

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