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 some[who?] feel that England should have its own distinct anthem, and there are a number of songs which may fulfil a similar role. Alternatives to "God Save the Queen" have been used for England teams at sporting events. There have been discussions on the subject in the UK Parliament. Several candidate songs have been discussed,[by whom?] including Blake's "Jerusalem", and A. C. Benson's "Land of Hope and Glory".[citation needed]

Anthems currently used at sporting events[edit]

At present, the following anthems are used:

Multi-sport events[edit]

Single sport events[edit]

Proposals for an English anthem[edit]

On 20 April 2007, Greg Mulholland, the 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."[3] 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.[4]

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[5] 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 an distinctive English anthem, with the proposal that English rugby league fans should be given the chance to choose this.[6] 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.[1]

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.[7][8] However, the bill did not receive a second reading and did not pass into law.

Anthems that have been put forward[edit]

"Jerusalem"[edit]

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.[citation needed]. 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.[9]

There have been calls by some MPs to give "Jerusalem" official status.[4]

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.[10] Jerusalem has been the ECB's official hymn since 2003,[2] 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"[edit]

"Land of Hope and Glory" has long been traditionally played amidst much flag-waving at the climax of the Last Night of the BBC Proms.

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.[citation needed] England has no official national anthem, and usually just adopts the United Kingdom's official anthem, "God Save the Queen" during sporting events, though there are calls for this to be changed.[by whom?][citation needed]

Other patriotic songs[edit]

"I vow to thee my country" is a popular patriotic English hymn. Other English patriotic songs which have been proposed[citation needed] 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. 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,[citation needed] which won the Best Original Song award at the 2000 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "England announce victory anthem for Delhi chosen by the public!". Commonwealth Games England. Self-published source. 30 May 2010. Archived from the original on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Sing Jerusalem for England!". BBC Sport. London: BBC. 6 September 2005. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  3. ^ "Early Day Motion EDM 1319, English National Anthem". www.parliament.uk. London: UK Parliament. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Early Day Motion EDM 2791, English National Anthem". www.parliament.uk. London: UK Parliament. 18 October 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  5. ^ "World Cup Rugby League anthem plea by Leeds MP". Yorkshire Evening Post. Leeds: Yorkshire Post Newspapers. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  6. ^ "Early Day Motion EDM 1429, English National Anthem for the Rugby League World Cup". www.parliament.uk. London: UK Parliament. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "MPs back calls for English national anthem". BBC News. London: BBC. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Perraudin, F. (13 January 2016). "God Save the Queen: MPs vote to introduce bill on new English anthem". The Guardian. London and Manchester: Guardian News and Media. 
  9. ^ Borland, S. (18 April 2008). "Cathedral bans popular hymn 'Jerusalem'". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  10. ^ "Fat Les score for England". BBC News. London: BBC. 8 May 2000. Retrieved 15 June 2008. 
  11. ^ "Previous winners". Radio 2 Folk Awards 2006. London: BBC. Retrieved 15 June 2008.