Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Frustrate their knavish tricks

Hard on the heels of the controversy about whether Wales should be represented on the Union Jack, I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone kicked up a fuss about the sixth verse of the National Anthem, with its references to crushing "Rebellious Scots."

Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith says "concerns" have been raised that the anthem is "anti-Scottish." But if indeed such concerns have been raised, it is clearly by people who don't know what they are talking about.

The verse about rebellious Scots was abandoned after the collapse of the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 and never officially became part of the National Anthem as such. It does not appear in any hymnbook or songbook I have ever seen, and I would be surprised if it has been sung even once in public worship during the last 200 years.

In short, I think someone is trying to manufacture a non-existent row here. I wonder why.

On a related topic, I was one of thousands of people who signed a Downing Street petition in support of a specific anthem for England separate from the UK anthem. A couple of weeks back, I received the following rather dismal response from No 10.

"There are currently no plans to introduce an official English anthem, but the Government recognises that the constituent parts of the United Kingdom may quite properly have national songs for which they have a particular attachment. However, the choice of anthem at sporting events is entirely a matter for the sport concerned."

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Anonymous said...

I quite liked this one as an anthem.

I think that current anthem is "anti-atheist".

Toque said...

Goldsmith actually said that the anthem wasn't inclusive.

He stated the rarely sung (I've never heard it) and widely misunderstood sixth verse.

The real reason that the Royal and British national anthem is not inclusive is because it is also England's anthem, a farcical state of affairs that leads to the farcical sound of the Scots and Welsh booing their own national anthem whenever the England footy team play Scotland or Wales.