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78061.  Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:47 pm Reply with quote

This week we are remembering the Battle of the Somme, which was a turning point in The Great War and in the making of war. In the same year, 1916, some other great events occurred; the October Revolution in Russia, the Easter Uprising in Dublin, the Singapore Uprising. In a sense, 1916 was the beginning of the 20th century. Now, 90 years later, and we find ourselves at last at the beginning of the 21st century. Hopefully, English football has reached a turning point as well. By the way, what is the English national anthem? Certainly it is not God Save Brenda, nor is it Rule Britannia. Perhaps Chariots of Fire/Jerusalem, but with new words.

78065.  Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:22 pm Reply with quote

I'm not entirely convinced that English Football has the same significance as the Battle of the Somme or the October Revolution.

As to the English anthem, I'll happily go with this:


God save the queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-bomb

God save the queen
She ain't no human being
There is no future
In England's dreaming

78066.  Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:38 pm Reply with quote

I'd be happy enough with that too, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. And of course, it would still be British not English.

We had a conversation about a new national anthem for England a few months ago (rather long thread that changed subject several times, so I won't link to it here). Of various suggestions that were made the one that received fewest brickbats was I vow to thee my country.

78067.  Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:01 pm Reply with quote

"God Save the Queen" specifically mentions "England's dreaming" but not the rest of the UK so it would be suitable for the Englsih anthem.

78069.  Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:15 pm Reply with quote

There's a fabulous song, written by Maggie Holland and sung by June Tabor on her album A Quiet Eye, that I think would be a wonderful English anthem. You can hear a clip from it on disc 4 on this link:

Here are the lyrics:

Place called England

I rode out on a bright May morning, like a hero in a song,
Looking for a place called England, trying to find where I belong.
Couldn't find the old flood meadow or the house that I once knew,
No trace of that little river or the garden where I grew.

I saw town and I saw country, motorway and sink estate,
Rich man in his rolling acres, poor man still outside the gate,
Retail park and Burger kingdom, prairie field and factory farm,
Run by men who think that England's only a place to park their car.

But as the train pulled from the station,
through the wastelands of despair,
From the corner of my eye, a brightness filled the filthy air.
Someone's sown a patch of sunflowers, though the soil is sooty black:
Marigolds and a few tomatoes right beside the railway track.

Down behind the terraced houses, in between the concrete towers,
Compost heaps and scarlet runners, secret gardens full of flowers.
Meeta grows her scented roses right beneath the big jet's path.
Bid a fortune for her garden, Eileen turns away and laughs.

Wake up, George, and rise up, Arthur. Time to rouse up from your sleep.
Deck the horse with sea-horse ribbons. Drag the old from the deep.
Hold the line for Dave and Daniel as they tunnel through the clay,
While the oak in all its glory soaks up sun for one more day.

Come all you at home with freedom, whatever the land that gave you birth.
There's room for you both root and branch as long as you love the English earth.
Room for vole and room for orchid, room for all to grow and thrive;
Just less room for the fat landowner on his arse in his four-wheel drive.

For England is not flag or Empire. It is not money and it is not blood.
It's limestone gorge and granite fell. It's Wealden clay and Severn mud.
It's blackbird singing from the may-tree, lark ascending through the scales.
It's robin watching from your spade and English earth beneath your nails.

So, here's two cheers for a place called England, sore abused but not yet dead.
A Mr. Harding sort of England, hanging in there by a thread.
Here's two cheers for the crazy Diggers. Now their hour shall come around.
We shall plant the seed they saved us, as common wealth and common ground.

Maggie Holland

78071.  Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:42 pm Reply with quote

Whoa, that's a hard act to follow!
So I'm not even going to try.

78084.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 3:24 am Reply with quote

If you look at council estates, or private gardens, there are very few orchids or other glories of the countryside around. You'll actually find more of them on the estates of the 'fat-arsed landowners' whether in four-wheel drives or not. If these estates were confiscated and handed over to the yobs on most housing estates, what state would they be in very shortly? Think of the camp sites of travelling people, and the filth and rubbish strewn all over there unless the local council is really strict and on the ball. And no, I'm not anti-alternative living; I'm just not automatically prejudiced against rich people, or jealous of them - which is where a lot of the sniping comes from. I am, though, anti-disease and degradation, which are not, by the way, an essential concomitant of being poor.

When I was still teaching, a book that really infuriated me was 'Danny, Champion of the World' - if my memory serves me, which it doesn't always. About a little boy who went poaching with his dad on the estate of the big, fat, bullying landowner. Never mind the thousands of people who earn an honest living on the land, caring and loving it; according to this, all farmers, gamekeepers, landowners etc are THE BADDIES! The book made every child who read it think that theft and destruction of their property were not only okay, but to be applauded and encouraged - which has assisted in producing the lack of personal respect that Blair waffles on about, the natural result of years of propaganda about how authority in any guise should be opposed.

Yes, there are such people - we have a lady round here who shall be nameless in case she ever reads this and comes after me with a hatchet. She chased one poor bloke away when he was standing on the roof of his own car, on a public highway, to get a better picture of her castle - told him he had no right, etc. Arrogant cow. [Can cows be arrogant? If bulls can be bullying, probably they can. They have a pecking order, so to speak, in the herd.]

However, most of the landowners I know, whether with wide estates or just smallholdings, are very into conservation, proper land use, preservation of the beauty of the countryside, etc. Without them the whole place would be far worse than it is. Few of them are fat. Maybe this is because they're in Scotland, but I doubt it.

So could we see a bit less of the prejudice, please, ladies and gents.

Victoria Meldrew will now sign off.

78088.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 3:45 am Reply with quote

Sorry for being the Johnny Foreigner to point this out but 'God save the queen' is not a national anthem.

A national anthem by definition, is about and representing a nation.

'God save the queen' is about and representing a person.
It's a personal anthem.

You don't hear other countries singing the personal anthem of their figurehead head of state (although I'm sure Geroge Bush would prefer to hear 'I'm so pretty' sung at formal engagements, he knows the words to that one).

Also, can it really be a 'national' anthem if it's used by more than one nation?

78092.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 4:24 am Reply with quote

Crikey, Frances - you're on form today. I can't find the post you're responding to, though - is it in this thread? I'm probably being obtuse here, sorry.

On the subject of arrogant cows, JumpingJack and I once went to a cow-fighting event in Switzerland. They happen all the time, and have an atmosphere rather like a point-to-point in the UK; people bring picnics and stay all day. The cows don't fight people, they fight each other, in a slightly lackadaisical way (to my untutored eye); a whole lot of them are put in a ring together and start eating grass. Then a bloke pokes them with a stick in order to irritate them, and they start being slightly arsey with each other. Any cow which shows submissive behaviour gets eliminated and removed from the ring, until there's only one left. She's declared the winner and awarded a big leather collar with a huge bell on it. The champion cows get the best grazing (ie the lowest down the slopes). I swear I'm not making any of this up.

And, Feroluce, I don't buy that at all: God Save the Queen manifestly is the National Anthem according to any definition you fancy except for the one you just, with respect, made up.

Amusingly enough, one of the verses of God Save the Queen is explicitly anti-Scottish, though it's generally omitted these days:

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 Queen!

78095.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:04 am Reply with quote

Flash, you are right of course - God save the Queen is the British national anthem, and has been for some considerable time.

But feroluce has a valid point as well - it's actually about the Queen rather than the country. As such, I think the suggestion that ergo it's not a suitable national anthem is entirely worthy of being made - whether or not one agrees with this suggestion is a separate matter.

Since I'm not actually British, it's perhaps not really my place to suggest an alternative for Britain and/or England. But ideally, it would be about the country not an individual within it. It would contain no reference to ancient military history, no saying that other countries are rubbish (saying that the country under discussion is excellent is allowed though), and no reference to God.

The British national anthem has all three among its full six verses, although if one considers only the first verse, only the God issue arises. Jerusalem also mentions God (yes, and a city in Israel), while I vow to thee my country is also rather religious, even though the word "God" doesn't actually appear.

A lot of other national anthems around the world fail one or all of the tests as well, so Britain certainly isn't unusual here. Flower of Scotland is a nice tune but rather anti English, Amhrán na bhFiann (A Soldiers' Song) is far too militaristic and political, and while Hen wlad fy nhadau (Land of my Fathers) is at least about Wales, it too is not free from being rude about the English.

Advance Australia fair comes closer than most, much as many Australians find it insipid. (Waltzing Matilda is probably more popular, but its lyrics hardly make it suitable to be a national anthem!)

78096.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:06 am Reply with quote

Ah, the anti-Scottish verse. Well, to be strictly accurate it's only explicitly anti-rebellious Scottish, which is to say, given when it was written, anti-Jacobite. There were plenty of presbyterian lowland Scots who opposed Bonny Prince Charlie, and some who helped with the crushing, at Culloden.

Last edited by 96aelw on Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:26 am; edited 1 time in total

78098.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:17 am Reply with quote

But feroluce has a valid point as well

To the extent that it's valid to say that if you disapprove of something then it doesn't exist, I guess. But that seems to be a pretty solipsistic type of validity.

78103.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:04 am Reply with quote

Well it is, and perhaps the statement might have been worded differently.

But I entirely accept the validity of the notion

"The lyrics of God save the Queen are about the Queen, not about Britain. Therefore, God save the Queen is not a suitable choice for use as the British national anthem."

Some support for this argument can be gained by considering countries such as Australia and Canada. HM is Queen of these countries and on the rare occasions when she is actually present in them, God save the Queen is performed.

Therefore, in the Commonwealth outside Britain, it is a personal anthem, not a national anthem. Feroluce seems to believe that this is all it is fit for and that the same should be true in Britain. After all, HM has a personal flag - the Royal Standard - which is only flown when she is actually present and is totally separate from the national flag.

Others may or may not agree with this idea, but I think that to suggest it is entirely valid.

78104.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:06 am Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
Ah, the anti-Scottish verse. Well, to be strictly accurate it's only explicitly anti-rebellious Scottish, which is to say, given when it was written, anti-Jacobite. There were plenty of presbyterian lowland Scots who opposed Bonny Prince Charlie, and some who helped with the crushing, at Culloden.

And on that point, did anyone see the excellent and non-partisan 1964 film 'Culloden' last night on the box.
It painted all the instigaters equally black and bore out what I have always said that wars are not between peoples but between kings and nobles and jumped up megolomaniacs. You choose which in this case. All 3, is my choice!
Interestingly the chief of the clan McLeod said that apart from supporting the prince, the reason he was fighting was because he disapproved of the Act of Union. Completely unaware apparently that Charlie's aim was to maintain it but with him instead of (German) George top dog in London.

To return to the title of this thread, I was so angry at the (choose all 3 again from the above list) who caused it all that I picked a single poppy from the garden and put it on our local village memorial. What a waste!!

78108.  Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:27 am Reply with quote

Fair enough. You won't really get an argument from me on the merits of the Anthem, which I view with distaste because

1) it's an astoundingly dreary tune and
2) I'm a republican.

But it is the National Anthem.


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