So Jeremy Corbyn didn’t sing the national anthem at Tuesday’s service at St Paul’s Cathedral, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, it was Mr Corbyn’s first official ceremonial engagement since becoming Labour leader.
The national anthem is not even official. It’s not even unique – many other countries (including the Royal’s homeland, Germany) have shared it over the years. Musically and lyrically it represents a country that has nothing to do with most of us and what makes me proud to be British is not reflected in this song. It’s champions in the national press tap the Royal families phones and are non doms – what kind of phoney patriotism is this?
The right wing press has gone into meltdown pushing the Tories tax credits off the frontpage and avoiding having to write about the real debates that are going on. Some of the papers were supporting Hitler in the 1930’s and it makes you wonder which anthem they would have sung at that time.
This is cartoon caricature journalism – an attempt to destroy someone they seem genuinely scared of. It’s just like Michael Foot at the cenotaph all those years ago – the story about Foot’s so called Donkey jacket that the queen had complemented him on minutes before his appearance.
My own father fought in the second world war. He was in the RAF and would have wondered what the fuss about this was. He was fighting for lots of things but singing the national anthem wasn’t very high on that list. it’s not even the officially recognised anthem of the UK – just the one shelled out for customary use.
It begs the question though – do we need a new national anthem? musically it’s hardly a rousing piece of music and lyrically it’s actually a bit strange. Even the melody is not unique to the UK – before 1914 the tune was shared with about several other countries – even the Germans had the same melody for their national anthem. The first German national anthem, Heil dir im Siegerkranz, used the melody of “God Save The King”.
Surely we have far more to offer tin the UK that one family and a song about an invisible, made up God saving one family is shrinking everything great about this wonderful country into the most micro mini version of what put the Great into Britain.
Do you think we need a new anthem? a new more rousing more 21st century piece of music? maybe with lyrics that celebrate all that is great about Britain? or is tradition a good thing? thoughts please!