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Parliament debates whether to change England’s national anthem

MPs are debating whether to change England’s national anthem

MPs are debating whether to create a separate national anthem for England today which will replace ‘God Save the Queen’ at sporting events.

The idea, which has already been debated earlier on in the year, was proposed by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins who believes England should have their own anthem at sporting events, just as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already do.

He argues that Scotland has the Flower of Scotland played at its sporting events and the Welsh have Land of Our Fathers.

Back in January, the first reading of the English National Anthem Bill was passed by parliament and the second parliamentary debate is taking place today (Friday).

The British Government has made no official stance on the debate, however, in the past, Prime Minister David Cameron has supported calls for an English with the hymn Jerusalem being suggested.

As the debate takes place, Mr Perkins has arranged for a choir to gather on College Green outside the Houses of Parliament who will sing Jerusalem.

Speaking to The Sunday Express in January when the first debate occurred, the Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, said: “We have been happily singing God Save The Queen forever – I don’t see the need to change it.

“The Queen has always said she’s only there for as long as people want her, but I should think they’d think it’s rather rude.”

If the bill is passed and England dies get its own national anthem, as it is a matter of great importance, the government would hold a public consultation on the choosing of a song.

All of the relevant sporting bodies would then be instructed to use the new anthem that people have chosen, prior to any international sporting contests, at medal awarding ceremonies and whenever else a national anthem was required for teams representing solely England.

The passing of the bill is a long way off yet though, as it has to go through various stages of the legislation process at which it can be turned down at any of these points. Also it is a cross-party bill, and does not have the support of any political party so it will be difficult to get through.

Photo: Paul Gravestock via Flickr CC

  • Thomas

    Unthinkable. “God Save The Queen” is our NATIONAL anthem and is for all Britons. Say “NO!” and reject one more feeble attempt to divide the British people. NO! NO! NO!

  • Anne Williams

    While it may be the National Anthem of us British folk who are at the moment the Scots. Welsh, Irish and English, the 2 former have separate anthems Pardon my ignorance but I have not heard the Irish version which is that of Eire?., That is why we have a problem as some now say that as the English play the Nat. anthem , we must think we are somehow ‘Superior” a complete and utter fallacy. It is simply a ‘Habit’ because we do not have an ‘Anthem’ Has anyone really researched what the Scots, Irish and Welsh think??? I have noted that in some ways these sort of competitions do help boost ultra nationalist feeling and separateness even at F.A Cup levels between Counties etc, among radicals!! I must admit to feeling ‘unhappy when other ‘houses’ won against mine at school, some more than others.! !But enjoyed the games and competition nevertheless. Thomas- They are talking of Rugby Union, where this anthem phenomenon occurs which has gained momentum with the formation of the separate Scottish Parl. and Assembly of Wales and STURGEON most of all for her very STRIDENT Ultra Gaelic Nationalistic views who with her supporters seem to relish the fact that she has stirred up a very nasty HORNETS NESTof dissent.

    • Darren

      The anthem of Eire is certainly not used for Northern Ireland as it is the anthem of a different state. Northern Ireland uses Danny Boy to the melody of the Londonderry Air. Whilst I would regret the loss of the UK national anthem at sporting fixtures I have always been sad that God Save The Queen is used only for English teams when it is the anthem of all the kingdoms that make up the United Kingdom. I also dread to think hat the English public might choose – something by One Direction or the Eurovision contenders – I cringe!

      • Anne Williams

        Thanks Darren,
        Danny Boy is so evocative of the Emerald Isle, north & south. There is a bit of controversy as to the composer, lyricist etc. of that song?. This may sound like heresy,but I have always preferred , “Land of Hope & Glory, to our National Anthem!!!which I have heard say is: German bit I have always found it rather funereal!!Some have taken exception to the following verses too. Depends how many in England care about Rugby Union?Maybe we could use “Land of Hope & Glory and Amend it??Have no fears, many Rugby Union supporters of earlier vintages will NEVER allow anything that remotely smacks of the Eurovision. Are u listening ‘Our Tel’?

      • Ricky

        The United Kingdom has only two kingdoms; England and Scotland. The other components are a province (Northern Ireland), and a principality (Wales).

        And no one has proposed that the UK anthem should be changed. The article speaks of England only.

        • Anne Williams

          Just to save the curious from Googling. The foll: is how and why our National anthem was composed? It was composed and sung during the era of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion,and the first public performance was at Drury Lane in that year which is why some take exception. The specific verse I referred to has these words. “Lord grant that Marshall Wade may by this mighty aid, Victory bring. May he sedition hush, And like a torrent rush,Rebellious Scots to crush, God save the King.” Am I the only one that thinks,”There is nothing new under the sun” as I keep constantly hearing THE REBEL and her minions? I am well aware that no one has proposed changes to THE National Anthem re: this discussion but heard another on TV and remember it clearly,( maybe sometime last year) and the argument against it and WHY which I have explained clearly, I hope// If there was a contest for the best or nicest National anthem of ANY nation, I would judge the Marseillaise as being one of the best and quite rousing while the anthem of Malaysia is a lovely song we once sang in the 1950’s called, ‘Terang Bulang, apparently composed by a French man and sung in Mauritius. One of the Malayan Rajahs.heard it and chose it as the anthem of his State. When Malaya became Independant it was then chosen as their National Anthem by its first PM,Tunku Abdul Rahman, a very nice person indeed. How times have changed after his demise. There is now quite an unsavoury argument on You tube by the Bhumiputras( ultra nationalists)of Malaysia who are loathe to accept the factual history of their anthem.

  • Ricky

    I’d like to point out that no one is suggesting that the national anthem of the United Kingdom should be anything other than “God Save The Queen.”

    The article is about proposing a national anthem for England, which is one part of the United Kingdom.

    My vote goes to “Land of Hope and Glory.” I can think of no other song that evokes the spirit of England so well, and is already well loved by many people.

  • David Dance

    “God Save The Queen” is our ROYAL anthem “Rule, Britannia!” is our (unofficial) NATIONAL anthem

  • Pixie

    I understand the difference between the anthem for Great Britain of “God Save the Queen” but if England gets its own I think it should be “Land of Hope and Glory” which is always sung at the Proms and would be great for sporting events.

    • Anne Williams

      I am told that the ‘Land of Hope & Glory” refers not just to England but our land of BRITAIN. We may have TWO KINGDOMS but only have ONE Monarch which reigns over All of us after the ACT of Union which of course is why we are also referred to as the UNITED kingdom. Have to say after listening to the Plaid Cymru and Madame Sturgeon, the latter who in strident terms keeps on telling us that she means to tear the U K apart! I have not read the terms of the Act.,has anyone.?Has it got any ‘inclusion’ in it which says that the Scots can at can anytime, tear it up and choose their own monarch??Get rather weary of folk calling our Royal family, German, considering the Queen Mum was a Scots? Will have to look up the Act!!. Its as well to remember that it was the wish of most of the Scottish hierarchy of the time to send their STUART monarch to rule over us Sassenachs.

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