Sooner or later, the national anthem is going to have to make way at internationals for songs more closely related to the individual countries of the UK. If we stop making her listen to that awful Georgian dirge, perhaps the Queen will come along once more. She used to be at the Cup Final, every year, or so it seemed.
But which songs? The Scots have already been polled. I’m half-Scot, and I hate the winner. Flower of Scotland is of 1960s vintage, and passive-aggressive in the extreme. Too young, too chippy. A coming nation surely needs something more confident.
And when you have this, what can you lack?
The Welsh already have and use their song, of course, but I wonder if the soccer people don’t feel that it has too many rugby connotations? If so, there’s always this, which makes me regret not having the blood:
I don’t know what to suggest for Northern Ireland, and given its recent history, I don’t like to stick my neck out. Which leaves England. And England’s a problem.
Jerusalem for example, belongs to the Conservative Party Conference nowadays . It’s quite hard to sing, too. I Vow To Thee My Country is morbid, and imposes lyrics onto Holst’s admittedly excellent melody. Land of Hope and Glory invites sarcasm, and is too reminiscent of the Proms. Abide With Me , sung at every Wembley Final, is moving but sad (did you know its author died only weeks after finishing it? Of TB: he knew what was coming).
With all the moving and inspiring songs out of contention, we are left with the ridiculous. I suggest that England adopt two songs. This, for home matches. It’s my song for St Andrew’s Day:
Come on – just imagine our Captain, our man for the big occasion, leading the Lads through the second verse. And think what it’ll do to Capello’s English.
And this one, of course, for away matches. Especially the ones which AREN’T against…
I can’t remember where I came across it, but it’s been one of my favourite snap descriptions of the future ever since: the English sinking away into history giggling..
It was all a joke, chaps; the whole thing, right from the start.
WODEHOUSE UPDATE: so much for my “6 pages a day” as PG’s upper limit – his record, it turns out, was a quite astonishing 27.