Proposals for a national anthem for England
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The national anthem of England is usually taken to be the same as that of the United Kingdom as a whole—"God Save the Queen", but in 2016 some MPs felt that England should have its own distinct anthem with the result that there have been discussions on the subject in the UK Parliament. There are a number of songs which may fulfil this role. Several candidate songs have been discussed, including "Jerusalem", and "Land of Hope and Glory". Alternatives to "God Save the Queen" have been used for England teams at sporting events.
Anthems currently used at sporting events
At present, the following anthems are used:
- At the Commonwealth Games, Team England has used "Jerusalem" as the victory anthem since 2010. The Commonwealth Games Council for England conducted a poll of members of the public which decided the anthem for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The three options were "God Save the Queen", "Jerusalem" and "Land of Hope and Glory". "Jerusalem" was the clear winner with 52% of the vote; "Land of Hope and Glory" received 32% and "God Save the Queen" 12%.
Single sport events
- At international football matches, England uses "God Save the Queen" as the national anthem. At the beginning of the FA Cup Final "Abide With Me" is also played prior to the match.
- At international rugby union matches, England uses "God Save the Queen" as the national anthem whilst "Jerusalem" or "Land of Hope and Glory" is the anthem played prior to kick-off.
- At international rugby league matches, England uses "God Save the Queen" as the national anthem. "Abide With Me" is also played prior to the Challenge Cup Final.
- At international Test cricket matches, England has, since 2003, used "Jerusalem" as its entrance anthem.
- At international lacrosse matches, the England Men's team uses "God Save The Queen" and the Women's team uses "Land of Hope and Glory" as the national anthems.
- At international darts matches, England uses "Land of Hope and Glory" as the national anthem.
Proposals for an English anthem
On 20 April 2007, Greg Mulholland, the then Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds North West, introduced an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons, proposing that England have its own national anthem. The EDM called for all English sporting associations to "adopt an appropriate song that English sportsmen and women, and the English public, would favour when competing as England." There has also been an EDM calling for "Jerusalem" to be given official status as the national anthem of England, proposed by Daniel Kawczynski, the Conservative Party MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham on 18 October 2006.
In April 2008, Mulholland called for the England national rugby league team to replace God Save the Queen with an English national anthem at the Rugby League World Cup to be held in Australia in autumn 2008 and on 28 April he put forward another EDM in the House of Commons, noting that Scotland and Wales who were also taking part in the World Cup, would also have their own national anthems, and therefore calling on England to use a distinctive English anthem, with the proposal that English rugby league fans should be given the chance to choose this. However, '"God Save the Queen" was used.
On St George's Day, 23 April 2010, the Commonwealth Games Council for England launched a poll to allow the public to decide which anthem would be played at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. Voters could choose between "God Save the Queen", "Jerusalem" and "Land of Hope and Glory" with the winning song being adopted as the official anthem for Team England. "Jerusalem" was declared the winner on 30 May 2010, securing 52% of the vote.
In January 2016 Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield, introduced a private member's bill to the House of Commons under the Ten Minute Rule calling for an anthem for England sporting fixtures; the bill passed its first reading. However, the bill did not receive a second reading and did not pass into law.
Anthems that have been put forward
The best-known version of William Blake's poem "And did those feet in ancient time" is the song "Jerusalem", with music by Hubert Parry, which was orchestrated by Edward Elgar in 1922 for a large orchestra at the Leeds Festival. Upon hearing the orchestral version for the first time, King George V said that he preferred that "Jerusalem" replace "God Save the King" as the national anthem. "Jerusalem" is also performed at the annual Last Night of the BBC Proms as are "Land of Hope and Glory" and "God Save the Queen".
"Jerusalem" was used as a campaign slogan by the Labour Party in the 1945 general election when Clement Attlee said they would build "a new Jerusalem". The song is also the unofficial anthem of the Women's Institute, and historically was used by the National Union of Suffrage Societies. It has also been sung at conferences of the Conservative Party.
"Jerusalem" is frequently sung as an office or recessional hymn in English cathedrals, churches and chapels on St George's Day.. However some clergy in the Church of England have refused to allow it in their churches on the grounds that it is too nationalistic and is not a prayer to God.
There have been calls by some MPs to give "Jerusalem" official status.
In 2000 a rendition of "Jerusalem" by novelty act Fat Les was adopted by the English Football Association as the England football team's official song for the UEFA Euro 2000 competition. Jerusalem has been the ECB's official hymn since 2003, being played before the start of play each day of home test matches, although "God Save the Queen" was the anthem sung by England players before games at ICC events and recent Ashes series.
"Land of Hope and Glory"
At international rugby league matches, England often sang "Land of Hope and Glory" as their national anthem (but since the 2005 internationals switched to "God Save the Queen"). The song was also used once as the victory anthem of England at the Commonwealth Games until "Jerusalem" was adopted in 2010.
Other patriotic songs
Other English patriotic songs which have been proposed as possible national anthems of England include traditional songs such as "Rose of England", an English patriotic song written by Ivor Novello in 1937 for his musical Crest of the Wave, and popularised by Vera Lynn. The flower to which the song's lyrics refer is one of England's national emblems, the Tudor Rose. The patriotic hymn "I Vow To Thee, My Country", composed by Gustav Holst and Cecil Spring-Rice, has long been adopted as a symbol of national pride and remembrance, and is often considered among potential future anthems for the United Kingdom altogether. Also, "There'll Always Be an England", an English patriotic song, written and distributed in 1940 and highly popular throughout World War II. It was composed and written by Ross Parker. The words were written by Hughie Charles, and the most popular version was sung by Vera Lynn. 1950s comedy duo Flanders and Swann premiered "Song of Patriotic Prejudice" (with refrain "The English, the English, the English are best/I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest") in their At the Drop of Another Hat revue in London on 2 October 1963. Also proposed[by whom?] have been modern patriotic songs such as "A Place called England" written by English folk singer Maggie Holland, which won the Best Original Song award at the 2000 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
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