Sign the Petition
The one thing going for God Save the Queen is that it is, in a way, peculiarly British – a song trying to tell God what to do, dull as dishwater, plodding along with a lacklustre overture sung without passion by the vast majority of those who actually sing it. It bears all the British hallmarks of a dreary Thursday afternoon stood outside in a queue in light drizzle. Best endured, but just imagine if we didn’t have to?
It is not an Anthem for a Nation and says nothing of Britain today. Indeed, the whole idea that one individual should syphon off the Countries happiness and glory and get the choicest gifts is fundamentally unchristian never mind lacking egalitarian principles. The anachronism of crushing rebellious Scots hardly an anthem worthy of a Union between England and Scotland which only just renewed its vows.
God Save the Queen, or King as first sung, may have been seditious when batting off the Jacobite’s or willing long life to George III in the hope his son wouldn’t take the throne too soon but it is not a people’s anthem, sung by convention not by acclaim. Its purpose, its message and its relevance are all archaic. The country should choose a new National Anthem.
Great Britain needs an anthem which speaks of the nation not an individual. There is so much more to our country than the crowned prince. We need a melody which can be sung with gusto, because it excites. Words which speak to our desires as a people. An anthem in which we can express the bonds of fellowship that binds the four nations together. An anthem chosen by the people, a people’s anthem, one which derives it’s legitimacy through popular passion rather than establishment happenstance.
I propose using that Great British tradition, a democratic vote, to choose a new anthem. A referendum to choose between a numbers of anthems. There are many options, I would personally plump for I vow to thee my country; a song adapted from Sir Cecil Spring Rice’s patriotic poem and set to a melody adapted from Gustav Holst’s Jupiter, bringer of Joy, a song of individual vow. It celebrates Britain, the sacrifice of her people and the hope of national renewal and betterment. Benson and Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory would be an option which would extol the very pomp and circumstance from which the song is derived and the country is famed.
Jerusalem has a space in the hearts of many of our fellow citizens, although a change in words from England to Britain might be in order to elevate it from the de-facto English anthem to that of the country as a whole. There is always Rule, Britannia! Which celebrates our countries great naval tradition and independence.
Any of those songs and no doubt many others would excite the passions, sing to our nations fortitude and our common spirt in a way that God Save the Queen simply never could and possess an invigorating range which leaves the current anthem shivering in the cold wet rain by comparison.
Nor is it treasonous to think that we should choose another National Anthem to celebrate our country. Generations of Britons have fought for our freedom to choose, and yes, that extends to someone’s right to choose whether or not to sing the Anthem. God Save the Queen doesn’t speak to many anymore and whilst some might take pride from the Monarchy many more would rather take pride in our nation, with all of its beauty and passion, the industrialism of its people, its history, convoluted and epic in scope, its prospect of an ever better, more prosperous and fair future.
A People’s Anthem, chosen by the people to represent our nations and our outlook on the world, an anthem in which democratic republican and proponents of a crowned republic can both take pride. An anthem which glorifies not one person but each and every person lucky enough to be born British. I would call on us to vote to decide, to choose a new anthem, or perhaps, democratically legitimise the current. There is no shame in expressing our freedom to choose.
You can sign the petition to the Government here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/108589 calling on Parliament to debate the merits of a referendum to decide upon the National Anthem of the United Kingdom. It’s time the people choose their own Anthem.