Reaction to call for an English anthem

The Sunday Telegraph letters page carries some reaction to last weekend’s call for an English anthem, the most irritating of which was this reactionary letter:

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.

Call for an English anthem

Today’s Sunday Telegraph carries the following letter:

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 referenced in Jasper Copping’s Telegraph article ‘St George’s flag is a racist symbol says a quarter of the English‘.

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!

Random Quote

If the tune no longer fits, then the obvious solution is to change it. Why, then, should the British National Anthem continue to be played and sung at occasions which are strictly English affairs?

— Dennis Ellam, Birmingham Post

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