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Make Jerusalem The National Anthem Of England

Comment 11th July 2010

Following the successful campaign to have "Jerusalem" as the national anthem for England at the upcoming Commonweath Games, why not make it the national anthem for England at all sporting events.

Why does this matter?


There’s absolutely nothing wrong with God save the Queen if that is what people want to sing when they are gathered together as Brits or in celebration of Britain or the monarch.  But it is the British anthem.

This is not a republican campaign – though some supporters may hold those views – it is a campaign that argues that the English should sing an English, not British, anthem. God Save the Queen can continue to be the British anthem, to be sung as a celebration of Britishness or the monarch, by the individual peoples of Britain, or by the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish when they are gathered together as Brits.

However, the British anthem should not be sung by the English as an English anthem. While it may be politically convenient for the UK Government to encourage Scottishness and Welshness whilst keeping Britishness to the fore in England, it serves neither Britain nor the monarchy to do so.  It is disrespectful to England, Scotland and Wales to conflate England with Britain in this way; for England is a nation every bit as much as Scotland and Wales, and those Scots and Welsh that still consider themselves British, and who have no republican objection to God Save the Queen, are now obliged to boo their own anthem for fear of being regarded as traitors by an increasingly nationalistic tendency that regard God Save the Queen as the English anthem.

Those people that will accuse us of trying to diminish the monarchy, or of trying to hasten the decline of Britain, should consider how perverse it is for the Scottish and English teams to line up together with the Scots singing a Scottish anthem and the English singing a British anthem. Doesn’t God Save the Queen apply equally to the English and Scottish; are we not all equally British?

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