So, lunchtime today, we listened to Any Questions. Jennie's take is here ( ... )
, but one of the topics that came up was the subject of the National Anthem. Because, seriously, this Govt has, apparently, just figured out that having the line
Rebellious Scots to crush
might not actually be the best idea in a song meant for all of Britain. Of course, the interesting thing in the story wasn't actually covered.
Not England, Britain nor the UK as a whole actually has a national anthem; I'll let Gareth explain at Anthem4England
Surprisingly it is not the official UK national anthem as it has never been adopted by Royal Proclamation or Act of Parliament, and hence there is also no authorised version.
The order of the verses is disputed ( ... )
and it has no legal status ( ... )
One of the worst songs ever written
It's also one of the worst songs ever written, bloody awful to sing, completely uninspiring and dull as ditchwater. There is of course a less dull version
, but even I'd not propose that to be officially
Given that England has no anthem, I'd personally favour either Land of Hope and Glory
, but neither is great, merely adequate. Perhaps we could commission a decent one? Or maybe the national sporting bodies could do it, but please, not Baddiel and Skinner.
As for Britain? No contest, can anyone really object to this
( Britons never shall be slaves... thy native oak... haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame... )
To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves:
Britons never shall be slaves.
( ... )
I sure as hell don't, and the anti-slavery/anti-tyranny message appeals to me on a number of levels. There is, of course, a different, valid objection. Lorna alluded to it here awhile back
What really freaked me out was seeing St George's flag posters, since I generally associate that with an even more virulent brand of nationalism.
Personally, I view the surrendering of national symbols to the extremist bigots and xenophobes to be a problem. Many people want identity, they want to belong to something
When I first started a politics only blog, I said in the first post
I'm a Devonshire, Westcountry, English, British European. I can be, and am, proud to be all of these things
, and it remains true today. There's a reason that site( ... )
will have symbols people identify with ( ... )
it persuades people who softly oppose your position to still listen to you. Taking an extremist view, even if it's one I would agree with ( ... )
means that some people who would otherwise be sympathetic will ignore the actual point—they'll dismiss the messenger and thus ignore the message. ( ... )
Nothing wrong with symbols of identity
There's nothing wrong with symbols, of identity, of wanting to belong and feel part of something. ( ... )
I dislike categories because people like to use them in an exclusionary way—that's wrong. Being one thing doesn't prevent you from being another, and sometimes portraying it as if it does does more damage than it should.
The problem with political identity is that it sometimes gets hijacked by extremists, and then those that oppose them sometimes thing they also have to oppose the symbols they've stolen. I disagree; rejecting the symbols means that those who feel they belong sometimes go to those we object to, and thus we lose. Sometimes.
The biggest problems with British and English symbols of identity is that many of them, like the cross like flags and that awful dirge, are simply crap. I'd like to see the Welsh Dragon included on the Jack not because I have many Welsh friends, but simply because, well, Dude? Dragons are cool.