St. Georges Day

Today is St. Georges Day, the day of the patron saint of England.

St George

We all know about the growing movement in Scotland to get its independence. This is perhaps part of a gradual decline in a shared British identity and a resurgence in individual English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish identities.

I think a separate English identity has been slower in asserting itself than the other countries*, but it has been growing for many years now.

Just as the Scots and Welsh have separate national anthems (apart from God Save The Queen), many have throught about an English one. But what are the contenders?

Jerusalem

A beautiful song, with words by William Blake and set to Sir Hubert Parry‘s music. Unfortunately it’s named after a city in Israel, and haven’t all our dark Satanic mills moved to China now? It’s hard to get worked up about dark Satanic call centres and office blocks.

Land of Hope and Glory

Again, a lovely song. But its references to ‘Thine Empire shall be strong’, and ‘Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set’ are a little anachronistic and might upset many of our international colleagues.

A Song of Patriotic Prejudice

The funniest of the offerings, Flanders and Swann‘s comic song. It’s a little politically incorrect for this day and age, but a great deal of fun.

Anyway, Happy St. Georges Day.

.

* Probably because it has always been dominant and many English people felt Britishness was synonymous with Englishness.

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