During ITV’s coverage of England’s friendly against Honduras, we saw the England football team lined up to sing the national anthem in a stadium full of England flags.
Suddenly the camera left the England players to focus on the national flag. Unfortunately, instead of landing on the national flag of England (the Cross of St George was draped around every corner of the stadium), the American camera operator lingered for an uncomfortable period of time on the Union flag.
Of course it wasn’t a proper Union flag because there weren’t any in the stadium, it was the top left corner of one of two white ensigns. That was the best they could find amongst the plethora of England flags.
While Broadcast Service Group, the US outside broadcast company filming the match for ITV, should be applauded for using their initiative to find – against the odds – a British flag to display as the British national anthem was playing; I have to ask whether it occurred to anyone at ITVSport to point out to their American colleagues that the flag of England is red and white, not red, white and blue.
Clearly the difference between England and Britain hasn’t been made clear to Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, whose video for the Official 2014 World Cup Song features the British flag but not the flag of England.
To add insult to injury they even display the flag of Scotland, even though Scotland didn’t qualify for the World Cup.
We only have ourselves to blame. Outside of sport England is practically invisible on the international stage. We have no national leaders, we have no national parliament and no national anthem. Britain speaks for us. Roy Hodgson is the closest thing that we English have to a national leader, and even he wants us to sing the British anthem. Is it any wonder that the Americans think England and Britain are the same thing?
Hopefully by the time the 2018 World Cup comes around we will have our own English national anthem.
There is a campaign to get Rik Mayhall’s 2010 World Cup anthem ‘Noble England’ to number one.
As much as I love Rik Mayhall ‘Noble England’ was dreadful in 2010 and it is still dreadful now.
Far better is this effort by Madfish, which captures the anti-politics mood of England perfectly.
Or, alternatively, this from The Skatoons, the best England song of 2010.
As you have no doubt heard the Conservative Party in Scotland has announced an extraordinary plan to devolve additional financial powers to Scotland, should the Scots vote to remain in Union.
Scotland should be given full income tax powers following a vote against independence, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said.
She also argued Holyrood should get additional responsibility over VAT, income tax and welfare.
The plans, which have been endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron, will be in the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 UK election.
Even if the Scots were tempted by what is on offer from the Conservatives, they would be wholly reliant on the voters in England electing a Conservative Government in order to deliver these financial powers to the Scottish Parliament. From an English perspective the thing that needs to be asked is this: “But why would the voters in England want to vote for this; what is in it for us?” In a word, nothing.
Under these Scottish Tory proposals Scottish MPs would still have a free hand to meddle in English affairs, while English MPs would have even less say over what goes on in Scotland.
In our view, it is important that any sense be resisted that MPs for Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish constituencies somehow perform any lesser a function than MPs representing seats in England. The establishment of stable constitutional arrangements for the future of the UK must address this. It would be unfortunate if the feeling were to gain ground that there were two classes of MP. Even under a scheme of enhanced devolution, such as we have proposed in this report, MPs for Scottish constituencies will continue to have significant responsibility for safeguarding the interests of those whom they represent. Scottish MPs are and must remain as qualified as any other to hold high government office, including the offices of Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Extraordinary. Not only should Scottish MPs be able to vote on policy matters affecting England, but they should also be part of the government of England, sitting in Cabinet, designing and controlling the policy agenda for England. Talk about having your cake and eating it!
Is this what David Cameron had in mind when he pledged to introduce English votes on English Laws in his 2005 Conservative leadership election literature?
To add insult to injury the Scottish Tories mention that Scottish politics is based on a grievance culture in which it is ‘far too easy for Scottish Ministers to blame difficult financial decisions on others’ but do not address how these changes will affect the Barnett Formula, which over-funds Scotland to the tune of £4.4bn according to the Holtham Commission.
And you expect the English to vote for this?
Did this make you proud to be English or British?
At least the booing of both the British and Scottish anthems caused some discussion.
A new campaign has been launched today calling for the English Rugby League team to sing an English anthem at the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup 2013. RLWC2013 is the first major international sporting tournament to take place in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will see England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland competing against holders New Zealand, favourites Australia and Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Italy, Cook Islands, USA.
The campaign is supported by Anthem4England, who are campaigning for an English anthem for all England teams, by British Future and by rugby league fans including the Chair of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group, Greg Mulholland MP.
Rugby league fans are being urged to sign the petition, calling on the Rugby Football League to announce that England will use an English anthem, in the same way that the Commonwealth Games correctly uses an English anthem for English athletes, instead of using God Save the Queen – which should be used by UK and British teams, such as at the Olympics and also for occasions in the future when the Rugby League British and Irish Lions come together again. The petition is at http://englishanthemforrlwc2013.com/
During the World Cup, England will compete against both Scotland and Wales who will stand and sing ‘Flower of Scotland’ and ‘Land of My Fathers’ respectively so in the same way that the England team’s shirts proudly bear the English flag, the Cross of St George, they should sing an English anthem rather than using the UK anthem which equally belongs to Scotland and Wales.
Next year, the Commonwealth Games are taking place in Glasgow and the ‘We are England’ team will be correctly using an English anthem, Jerusalem, after this was voted for in a poll before the last Commonwealth Games. See www.weareengland.org.
The campaigners are also writing to Rugby Football League Chief Executive Nigel Wood and Greg Mulholland, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group, has also tabled an Early Day Motion in support of the campaign which can be viewed here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/391
Commenting Greg Mulholland, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group and Member of Parliament for Leeds North West, said:
“The 2013 Rugby League World Cup will be a great tournament, with the best rugby league nations coming together and in the same way that Scotland and Wales have their own anthem, the England Rugby League team needs one too”.
“As well as being a very fast, exciting sport, rugby league has always been known for being progressive and forward thinking. Now is the time for the Rugby Football League to follow the lead of the Commonwealth Games England and as well a proudly wearing the English colours and waving the English flag, using an English anthem”.
“I hope that we will see England signing an English anthem, not only when they take to the pitch in the first game of RLWC2013 at the Millennium Stadium on 26ht October , but also in the semi finals at Wembley and the final at Old Trafford and hopefully this time lifting the trophy and doing the whole of England proud”.
Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future, said:
“Hosting the Rugby League world Cup offers the RFL a great chance to put their sport in the spotlight by making the switch. As England Captain Kevin Sinfield is due to lead the team out for their first match in Cardiff I am sure the local audience would be pleased to see the English team recognise that being English and being British are not the same thing. There is a growing interest across all sports in having an English anthem when England take the field, with God Save The Queen used for British teams like team GB at the Olympics. Rugby League should take the lead.”
Gareth Young, of Anthem4England, said:
“The use of the British anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ by England, especially when competing against Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, smacks of imperialism. It also denies England its own discrete national identity whilst the Scots and Welsh are denied equal ownership of the British national anthem. The Cross of St George has replaced the British flag at English sporting events; it is now time to replace the British anthem with a distinctly English anthem starting with the Rugby League World Cup. Jerusalem works for me.”
Philip Davies, Conservative Member of Parliament for Shipley, said:
“I believe that it is about time that England had its own national anthem for sporting events when it is competing with the other nations within the UK. God Save the Queen in an anthem for the whole of the UK, and a separate English anthem would recognise this and also allow a greater sense of national pride in being English. I hope that the Rugby League World cup is the first tournament where this happens.”
Petition Co-ordinator Stuart Long added:
“I fully support this campaign for an English anthem to be played when England compete in Rugby League World Cup, as a nation England needs to have a unique voice like other nations of the United Kingdom like Wales & Scotland with a unique anthem.”
England and Wales host the Rugby League World Cup in October 2013.
Greg Mulholland MP has tabled the following EDM to persuade fellow MPs to support his call for the English team to use an English anthem instead of God Save the Queen. Please email your MP and ask them to support EDM 391 “ENGLISH NATIONAL ANTHEM FOR THE RUGBY WORLD CUP”.
That this House welcomes calls for an English anthem to be used by the England Rugby League team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup which takes place between October and November in venues across England, Wales and France; further believes that the Rugby League World Cup 2013, which is the first major international sporting tournament played on these shores since the inspiring London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, should be the first major sporting tournament where an England team sings an English anthem; notes that the World Cup will see England, Wales and Scotland competing with the Wales team using Land of My Fathers and the Scotland team Flower of Scotland and therefore believes that England should not use the UK anthem, God Save the Queen, that equally belongs to Scotland and Wales, but should use an English anthem instead; calls on the Rugby Football League to announce that England will use an English anthem and perhaps organise a poll of England fans to decide what this should be, or use the anthem chosen for English athletes used at the Commonwealth Games; looks forward to the England Rugby League team taking to the pitch for the opening game of the Rugby League World Cup 2013 at the Millennium Stadium on 26 October and proudly singing an English anthem; and further wishes the best of luck to all the distinct home nation sides participating in the tournament and hopes that they are successful.
The sport governing bodies and associations of England: Adopt an English national anthem
The use of the British national anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ as the English national anthem denies England its own discrete identity whilst the Scots and Welsh are denied equal ownership of the British national anthem. The Cross of St George has replaced the British flag at English sporting events; it is now time to replace the British anthem with a distinctly English anthem.