On Wednesday afternoon British lawmakers are going to vote on a motion to establish an English national anthem.
Labour MP Toby Perkins will get ten minutes to convince the House of Commons to bring in a bill to replace the United Kingdom’s national anthem God Save the Queen at events where an individual or team is representing England.
In the Olympics athletes from the UK compete for Great Britain but in popular sports such as cricket, football, and rugby England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland compete separately.
While Scotland and Wales have their own national anthems, England doesn’t. This means that when England plays Scotland at football, the Scots get to sing their anthem Flower of Scotland, but the English have to sing God Save the Queen, which, since they are a part of the UK, is also the Scots’ national anthem.
Perkins is using something called a Ten Minute Rule Motion to introduce his bill to Parliament. This means that he has managed to reserve a spot to introduce a bill to Parliament on his own; most bills are introduced by Government ministers. If he does win the vote on Wednesday, his bill will begin its journey through Parliament to becoming an actual law. Unfortunately for Perkins, it’s very hard for Ten Minute Rule Motion bills to become law, because the Government usually opposes them at some stage or there isn’t enough time to debate them properly. But it can and does happen.
If the bill does pass, there are already lots of candidates to become the new anthem. We’ve listed the most popular ones for you below.
The musical adaption of the famous poem by William Blake is Prime Minister David Cameron’s choice to become the English anthem. It has been adopted as an unofficial anthem by England cricket and rugby fans.
Land of Hope and Glory
Land of Hope and Glory is a patriotic song set to the music from Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Before 2010 it was used as the English anthem at the Commonwealth Games.
Another patriotic song Rule, Britannia! is famously sung at the BBC’s Last Night of the Pros concert in the Royal Albert Hall each year.
There’ll Always Be an England
There’ll Always Be an England is a song sung by Vera Lynn that was very popular during World War II. Lynn still has a huge fan base and recently scored a number one album on the British charts at the age of 92.
I Vow to Thee, My Country
Set to music from Gustav Holst’s well known “The Planets” suite — I Vow to Thee, My Country is often used by the British armed forces and is sung at Remembrance Day services across the Commonwealth.
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