Songs for St Andrew's Day

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.


5 Replies to “Songs for St Andrew's Day”

  1. For Scotland I suggest Alba by Runrig – admire the 70’s-tastic hairstyles.
    or see it as performed on the opening of BBC Alba (with translation in subtitles)

    Ah, it brings a tear to the eye…
    [As you can see they have changed the lyrics from the original to reflect that Scotland now has a parliament]
    Clearly the Treaty of Rockall setting out the terms for Scotland’s independence needs to state firmly and irrevocably that Flower Of Scotland is now allowed to be the national anthem.

    For England I would rather like a setting of The Rolling English Road (I have found one but it’s not very good).
    Or maybe some non-football related lyrics to 3 lions.

  2. Apparently the Queen last attended an FA Cup final in 1976, which makes me think she did what many of us have done, having had the good excuse of a major event one year (her Silver jubilee) to miss one, never bothered going back.

    On the anthem I think Jerusalem would be ok except perhaps it would be slightly strange to have your national anthem about a foreign city, and a rather controversial one. I think I associate Land of Hope and Glory more with the Tory party conference.

    Your previous post about how many words you have written quite amazed me. Sadly I can’t seem to get blogger to tell me how many I’ve written. Does your include quotes? Enid Blyton apparently regularly managed 10,000 words a day (about 33 of your pages) but I’m not sure that would have been quite as impressive as Wodehouse’s feet – however Wikipedia suggests that even that made people think (wrongly) she was employing others.

    (163 words)

  3. You know, I hope, that Billy Connolly Who Used to be Funny suggested that theEnglish Anthem should be the tune from The Archers.

    My waggish daughter gave me Scotland the Brave as my ring tone. I had asked for something by Scott Joplin. “Well, it is Scott-ish” she said.

  4. No, no, NOT the theme from the Archers. Wasn’t Billy Connolly Scottish at one stage?

    @Matthew: I lopped about 50k words off the total to account for quotations and comments – I’d say I’m accurate to within about 10k or so. Complete dreck, most of it, of course.

    I like the idea of the Rolling English Road. Getting a G.K. Chesterton production accepted at so lofty a level would be an interesting process, to say the very least of it, and I suggest we get George Osbourne onto the job immediately.

  5. London Calling?

    Actually, someone should write some words to The Great Escape, which they sing anyway – wait, I could do that!

    Beyond that the Tories don’t own Jerusalem. It was sung by the more revolutionary minded of the art students in my time at Leeds, and it isn’t that difficult. It is, I suspect, the best bet.

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