There’s a problem with this

Will England bid goodbye to “God Save the Queen”?

British lawmakers agreed Wednesday to consider replacing the royalist song that serves as England’s anthem at sporting events.

“God Save the Queen” is the national anthem of the United Kingdom — made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — and is played at the Olympics and other events where the U.K. fields a single team.

Of course, I agree, it should be Jerusalem (quite possibly the only opinion I have in common with Billy Bragg).

However, anyone care to point us to that part of the law which determines that the House of Commons has any power at all over what is sung at Twickenham?

No?

Fuck off then, eh?

66 thoughts on “There’s a problem with this”

  1. Yup. A giant waste of time, particularly as the only thing where HM Gov seem to have any influence is the Olympics, and that’s UK.

    I favour Jerusalem as it’s about the only one of the big national songs that is specifically English. Rule Britannia is British and LOHAG mentions Britain.

    I’m not even sure Jerusalem works for crowds. Maybe we should make it the Dambusters march. That’d be rowsing stuff.

  2. While the HoC is at it, could they legislate against use of Flower of Scotland as our anthem, which is equally crap music and lyrics as God Save the Queen.

  3. BraveFart – ideally, you want a national anthem that annoys the SNP, dour-faced public sector harridans and mincing West End luvvies alike.

    I nominate “Blurred Lines”.

  4. Bravefart, the other Corries song that used to be sung was deemed “too offensive” , iirc…

    But for a fitting tune…… “Blame Canada” ? 😉

  5. It’s a hymn, praising and referencing the tribal god of a small land of which we know little and is far away. I don’t want to build Jersusalem in England, green and pleasant or otherwise. Why would anyone want to?

    It’s nearly as grotesques as that American Yankee monstrosity, The Battle Hymn Of The Republic.

    No, no, no.

  6. Welsh national anthem is certainly not about unity, much better than god save the queen though. It’s odd but in Canada where we are hardly anyone sings when the anthem is played. At the Vancouver Winter Olympics there were some groups that tried to have some of the lyrics changed, but thankfully it was resisted.

    Translated one of the verses from the Welsh anthem goes something like

    “Though foemen have trampled my land ‘neath their feet,
    The language of Cambria still knows no retreat;
    The muse is not vanquished by traitor’s fell hand,
    Nor silenced the harp of my land.”

  7. I nominate Falnders and Swan’s “The English”…

    “The English, The English, The English are best,
    I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest..” etc. 🙂

  8. Michael Flanders’ “A Song of Patriotic Prejudice” please:

    “The English, the English, the English are best,
    I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest!”

    In all probability, the sentiment expressed is parallel with most foreign national anthems.

  9. IanB

    One point in its favour is that it is downright baffling as a poem, ostensibly questioning an old myth that Joseph of Arimethia visited England together with the youthful Jesus. A stirring tune but the words are baffling. What exactly does Blake want to do? It is surely better to have a baffling anthem than one that boringly celebrates a nation such as Australia, alludes to a bloody revolution (France), commemorates a defeat (Scotland), or celebrates the burning of a civic building (USA)

  10. Ian – I don’t want to build Jersusalem in England, green and pleasant or otherwise. Why would anyone want to?

    Got to build something. It’s better than HS2.

  11. It’s a hymn, praising and referencing the tribal god of a small land of which we know little and is far away. I don’t want to build Jersusalem in England, green and pleasant or otherwise. Why would anyone want to?

    You’re being very literal minded there, Blake’s religious convictions were a bit unusual to say the least and taking any one of his poems out of context can distort their meaning. ‘Jerusalem’ the hymn has in any case long been something quite different from the poem which Blake wrote ( which he didn’t give that name to ). Probably it became popular because it is so much better a tune than the national anthem and now it gives the English a national song of their own in these anti Unionist times, so it’s the ideal choice for sports events. Certainly it’s always gone down well at test cricket matches I’ve attended. No one is bothered about the references to a far away foreign land.

  12. Diogenes – I think the lyrics to Flower of Scotland celebrate a Scottish victory (Bannockburn), tho the phrase “the flower of Scotland” brings to mind the catastrophic (and entirely avoidable) Scots defeat at Flodden, where “the flower of Scottish nobility” got themselves killed in heroic but pointless style.

    Not that you’d know it from the funereal tune.

    And a national anthem should have a good tune. God Save the Queen is as melodic as a brick in a washing machine.

    The Frogs have the best tune. Remember that scene in Casablanca? Wouldn’t really work if they’d been singing GSTQ. Unless it was followed by a football riot.

  13. I doubt if more than one in a thousand people who like the hymn have a clue who William Blake was still less what his words might mean, neither are they likely to care. They do know it’s a rousing tune with some wonderfully vivid imagery, bows of burning gold, arrows of desire, unfolding clouds. His imagination was very visual and people respond to that, particularly the English who have always liked that kind of poetry.

  14. I stand corrected, Steve, although the lyrics do seem to suggest that another Bannockburn is unthinkable.

    Also, I must state that the US anthem is about a failed attempt to burn down a civic building.

    Strange things, national anthems.

  15. “In all probability, the sentiment expressed is parallel with most foreign national anthems.”

    Well, I’m told that the Hungarian national anthem is essentially an extended refrain of “Why, God, why?”

  16. Tim, it is the principle of parliamentary sovereignty that enables Parliament to determine what the national anthem should be. It is not a matter reserved to the Royal Prerogative.

    So all they need is a law stating what is the English national anthem, and providing for suitable punishments for any person who plays another song at such occasions when the anthem is apt to be played.

  17. @ Ian B, I don’t think the song Jerusalem is literally suggesting that the city, Jerusalem, be dismantled brick by brick and rebuilt in England’s green and pleasant land.

    Hence it is not about Palestine.

  18. Indeed Sandman, insofar as I understand it, it is a plea to pull down the churches (satanic mills) of England to allow a proper religious spirit to enter the land.

  19. The Italian national anthem is very jolly. I’ve always envied them before the game. GSTQ is nearly as depressing as FOS.

    But no nation gets it right. The haka, a sort of I piss in my shoes. Advance Australia Fair, purleese.

  20. What about this one?

    It’s by one of England’s great composers with a sentiment suitable for all England sporting occasions as well as royal births, marriages and deaths and the state opening of parliament.

  21. He is an Englishman!
    For he himself has said it,
    And it’s greatly to his credit,
    That he is an Englishman!
    ALL.
    That he is an Englishman!
    BOAT.
    For he might have been a Roosian,
    A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
    Or perhaps Itali-an!
    ALL.
    Or perhaps Itali-an!
    BOAT.
    But in spite of all temptations
    To belong to other nations,
    He remains an Englishman!
    He remains an Englishman!
    ALL.
    For in spite of all temptations
    To belong to other nations,
    He remains an Englishman!
    He remains an Englishman!

  22. The most English song would surely have to be something by that most English of bands, The Jam. Probably That’s Entertainment or Down in the Tubestation.

  23. Two other options: Land of Hope and Glory would have to be a serious contender as it is a properly rousing anthem. It would immediately be up there with the better anthems (and far better than the dirge that is our God Defend New Zealand). Alternatively perhaps Swing Low Sweet Chariot? Even comes with decent hand signals for the hard of hearing!

  24. @Kevin B: things like that actually give me hope that we’re not completely fucked, that the real England still exists, under all the PC and Common Purpose pieces of shit who currently have the temerity to speak for it.

  25. I think Tim would like a variant of the First Amendment which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”
    It would go something like Parliament may make no law governing what music people play. Or about anything at all involving sport, music or other entertainment and quite a bit else.
    And I must say I agree with Tim if I’ve interpreted him correctly.
    The free market of willing sports fans has got this issue covered both at England and UK level.

  26. So Much For Subtlety

    Anything by Rick Astley. Presumably “Never Going to Give You Up”.

    Then if England wins, we can truly say they have been Rickrolled.

  27. “Lloyd george knew my father
    Father knew Lloyd george.”
    – A simple tune that would irritate foreigners.
    and be up to the educational standards of today.

  28. Irritating foreigners has to be the most-desirable function of a national anthem. The lyrics of ‘Jerusalem’ – a classic example of a question to which the answer is NO! – do not fulfil that criterion.

    Baffling them – yes.

  29. It’s odd but in Canada where we are hardly anyone sings when the anthem is played.

    Really? I’m in Vancouver, and singing along with “O Canada” seems to be the norm. Maybe we attend different events.

  30. Bloke Back in Austria Tomorrow for a Bit

    I’m surprised that no one’s metioned the extra verse composed aftre the ’45 Jacobite rebellion

    Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
    May by thy mighty aid,
    Victory bring.
    May he sedition hush,
    and like a torrent rush,
    Rebellious Scots to crush,
    God save the King.

    I reckon that’ll do nicely.

    Although I do vaguely remember one of those silly petitions on the No. 10 website that propsed Gold by Spandau Ballet as the new national anthem

  31. Dcardno
    Yes west coast indeed, the crowd at a Canucks game is pretty quiet by Welsh rugby standards. Though I’ve noticed it on other occasions, I can understand not a lot of singing for God save the queen, but doesn’t seem much better for O Canada, which isn’t a bad anthem (unless they add the French verses).
    Speaking of anthems and hockey there was a movie called Mystery Alaska (I think) where at an outdoor subzero game the local team paid the anthem singer to do the long versions of the anthems to upset the opposing team stood around in the cold.

  32. BNiC – yes, but compared to a Welsh rugby crowd a chainsaw seems pretty subdued! Most of the crowd sing O Canada at Canucks and Lions games (hockey & Canadian football for non-locals). I was very surprised at US sports (San Francisco 49ers and Giants games) that more people didn’t sing the anthem – although in fairness, people sang along to Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch. Maybe that’s just San Francisco, or the bloody cold weather for both games (a couple of years apart, but that’s SF)

  33. If something more full-bodied is desired I suggest ‘The Ace of Spades’ by recently departed rock funnyman drunkard Lemmy Kilmister. It’s about time national anthems met air guitar.

  34. Haven’t been to a lions game in a while, last time had a very enjoyable
    evening sat with a group of rough riders fans. Maybe my baseline measurement is a little off, though has to be said the atmosphere at Rogers arena is on the quieter end of the spectrum for a sporting event.
    Have found the entire between innings routine at ball games very entertaining including take me out to the ball game which I would say is song louder than the anthem at Nat Bailey.
    A singer friend did once comment that the US anthem is difficult to sing as these things go which might be a reason for people not singing that

  35. BNiC – Yes, the Star Spangled Banner is difficult to sing. I hadn’t considered that, but no doubt that puts some people off. You are right – Rogers can be pretty quiet. One of my bucket list items is to go to either a Blackhawks or Rangers home game.

  36. I’ve yet to meet an Aussie that wouldn’t swap theirs for ‘Waltzing Mathilda’ in a heartbeat.

  37. @I Sneeze In Threes

    That’s a laugh. When I first heard that I thought the chorus was:

    “Jihadi John, he’s fucking dead,
    We cooked a pork chop on his head…”

    Then I googled it and it turns out the second line’s not as good, just “He had a bomb dropped on his head”. Disappointed.

  38. While we’re on the subject dont’ forget the Italian effort it’s a damn rousing tune.

    I like Jerusalem, splendid inspiring stuff, but I would stick with GSTQ simply because it reminds them which is top nation.

    Flower of Scotland has to be about the most embarrassingly bad one in the world, I like the welsh one although the words are all greek to me.

    And the Irish have two, both of them, to be framk, pretty tinpot.

    THe French one is vastly overrated. The Russian one is better.

  39. I was very surprised at US sports (San Francisco 49ers and Giants games) that more people didn’t sing the anthem – although in fairness, people sang along to Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch.

    The University of Tennessee sing “Rocky Top” during their football games!

  40. While we’re on the subject dont’ forget the Italian effort it’s a damn rousing tune.

    Indeed. I do like the South African one, too. It deserves praise because it is newish, and they could have come up with some utter drivel. They did quite well. The Sri Lankan one is quite catchy too, but you don’t hear it much unless you’re a cricket fan.

    I like the welsh one although the words are all greek to me.

    Better to keep it that way, the words are pretty lame but sound brilliant when sung in Welsh.

    THe French one is vastly overrated. The Russian one is better.

    Nah, the French one sung in a stadium is magnificent. The Russian one is amusing because half the people still sing the old one with the Soviet-era words which praise Stalin. They never bothered learning the new words.

  41. The problem with Jerusalem is that it doesn’t really make any sense if you only sing the first verse, and the verse is too long to justify singing two of them. The first verse on its own is in essence a question, to which the answer is ‘no’.

  42. @Tim Newman. The SA anthem is an combination of two songs, both rather old. NKosi at the turn off the century and Die Stem not much later

  43. @TimN – did you mean Lenin rather than Stalin?

    @ChrisB – a fair criticism, but I’d say the answer is ‘almost certainly not’ rather than a simple ‘no’. The Bible has little to say about Jesus between the ages of 3 and 30, and trade between the West Country and the eastern Med was far from unknown, so it isn’t intrinsically impossible that he could have travelled here.

  44. To be fair to the SRU, they do the anthem right at Murrayfield; no operatic soloist or band playing at a tempo that no-one has ever sung a song, but a lone piper and lone drummer for the first verse then just the crowd for the second.

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