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In a jam over Jerusalem

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Gordon Farquhar | 19:15 UK time, Tuesday, 5 October 2010

And there it was. England’s first gold medal of the games, plucked from under the noses of the Aussie hot favourites by the length of Fran Halsall’s outstretched fingernail.

The gal from Southport touched first by a couple of hundredths of a second in the final of the 50m butterfly to earn the right to stand proud on the top rank of the podium, to turn to the high-hoisted flag of St George and, filled with patriotic fervour, her dewy-eyed visage in televisual close-up, belt out the national anthem with a vigour reserved only for those delicious moments when you’ve properly put one over the antipodeans.


So…what calamity is this? Its all gone a bit flat. The opening bars of Jerusalem are wafting out of the stadium loudspeakers, and the moment, that gilt-edged, triumphal moment, is frankly, a bit lost. Oh dear. How did that happen?

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Fran herself admitted later she was a bit non-plussed by the whole Jerusalem thing.

She voted another way in the great Commonwealth Games England poll to decide which of the aforementioned Blake-inspired hymn, Land of Hope and Glory, or God Save The Queen should be the soundtrack to those goose-bump raising moments of triumph for the English here in Delhi.

But 52 per cent of those who voted plumped for Jerusalem, so Jerusalem it is.

It has much to commend it. It speaks of triumph through endeavour and dark adversity overcome.

It has nobility, modernity, pleads for unity of purpose, societal goals and a common vision of a better world. It also contains most of the other essential lyrical elements of any decent national anthem - lots of references to swords, duffing up ones foes, running roughshod over the rest, and generally being fantastic.

I like it. We sang it at my wedding. Loudly. I like Sir Hubert Parry’s music.

I’m fond of the anticipation of those first notes, can hear now the collective in-breath on cue when it’s at its rousing best, belted out in a rugby crowd. It’s already the anthem of choice for other sports, and cripes, it inspired the title of that great epic sporting film, Chariots of Fire. This version has only been specially recorded by the legendary Grimethorpe Colliery band!

So what’s the problem?

It just doesn’t work. There it is, the great critic’s cop-out of all time. The default phrase when you can’t be bothered to properly explain or justify your objection to something, in the hope no-one’s going to call your bluff…..but shamelessly, it just doesn’t work.

Jerusalem without Blake’s words doesn’t stir my soul. The music isn’t obviously rumpty- pumpty enough like Land of Hope and Glory or solemly, stop-what-you’re doing-and-stand-up like God Save The Queen.

I’m with you, Fran Halsall, winner of England’s first gold medal. Lets have something else. The Aussies might not have all the best swimmers, (huzzah!) but they have got a better tune for celebrating to……..


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  • Comment number 1.

    Sir Cecil Spring Rice's 'I Vow to Thee My Country' always sends a shiver down my spine. Holst's tune is far superior to Jerusalem and the words conjure up a sufficient level of patriotism, without going over the top.

  • Comment number 2.

    This shouldn't even have gone to a vote, the English national anthem is Land of Hope and Glory. What next, the theme from Eastenders?

  • Comment number 3.

    I still remember feeling very proud of our swimmers when there was an English clean sweep of the podium in one of the swimming events in Manchester. The sound of Land of Hope and Glory blasting out fit very well. Shame we couldn't have it this time.

  • Comment number 4.

    Who the heck allowed the idiot authority to change the NATIONAL ANTHEM OF ENGLAND? The National Anthem is LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY. What next, someone allows us to change the British National Anthem? Sack the person who allowed it and restore our national anthem!!! The English are patriotic and want our anthem played!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    I hate all the people who critise Jerusalem.
    Ok, playing the whole thing is bland but if they played the one used by the England Cricket Team, then it would be more uplifting.
    Land of Hope and Glory is BRITISH, its not English.
    I mean Scots love 'O Flower of Scotland', is THEIR anthemn.
    Its about time we had Jerusalem but please play the shorterned version or even the England Cricker Version but no return to Land of Hope and Glory.

  • Comment number 6.

    Without Blake's words "Jerusalem" is a little flat, so sing it! Show pride in being English and sing proudly to laud our athletes' successes!

    Land of Hope and Glory has been hijacked by the tuneless multitude at too many venues, and the lyrics sung are too often incorrect or simply mouthed.

    Take that intake of breath at the opening notes and give voice to the words which bring this great anthem to life!

  • Comment number 7.

    I love Jerusalem, however if I had realised there was a vote taking place I would have gone for Land of Hope and Glory as without those wonderful words the tune does not inspire.

    If I understand correctly only 900 people voted if so how can that be representative of the English population.

    Maybe I was unaware but please do not say I don't care as I do, I did not see the adverts for the vote and wish I had.

  • Comment number 8.

    Its psychological. The raising of the flags, the triumphant athlete ascending the steps to victory .. and what are you conditioned to hear? .. of course that bland awful nauseous "God Save the Queen" .. yeeeeuuukk! The only thing that works for it is its basic in form and SHORT. Perfect for ceremony's.

    Get over it. Jersualem may not be written for ceremony's but its more relevant and when played in more acoustic auditoriums, definitely more stirring.

    You are not seated in the Royal Albert Hall.

  • Comment number 9.

    Why should it be God Save the Queen? That is the BRITISH national anthem!!

  • Comment number 10.

    To my mind Jerusalem is the national anthem of England. God Save the Queen aside from being an ode to the Royal family is the official anthem of the UK and therefore I've never understood as a Welshman why England feels they have exclusive rights to use it at Football and Rugby matches. That said they are welcome to it.

    Likewise land of hope and glory and Rule Brittania are British songs not exclusively English. Jerusalem is exclusively English and should be used when England competes, just like Wales and Scotland use their own anthems...

  • Comment number 11.

    Jerusalem is a Chritian hymn. How does that work for Muslim or Jewish medallists?

  • Comment number 12.

    At least I know the words to "God save the Queen" and "Land of Hope and Glory" and so can sing along when appropriate. I'm not used to "Jerusalem" being used as a sporting anthem though and I can't track down the lyrics to the six-verse version they seem to be using.

  • Comment number 13.

    Jerusalem? What a dirge, awful, awful, awful......

    Land of Hope & Glory, written by an Englishman. That is all.

  • Comment number 14.

    Zergon, isn't Jerusalem considered holy to all three of those faiths! Regardless of this the majority of the UK population are agnostic or atheist and thoughts of religion dont come into the majority of our minds, many people find religous belief no more logical than astrology...

  • Comment number 15.

    Theme should be from "TIPU SULTAN"

  • Comment number 16.

    At least this has started a debate about an anthem for England. We need to sort out once and for all an anthem that is played whenever an English team performs. I'm fed up with the FA continuing to use God Save The Queen when England are playing. That's the UK anthem and should be kept,as far as sports teams are concerned, for when UK/GB play. Land of Hope and Glory has traditionally been used for England at the Commonwealth Games but who decided that should be the English anthem? Did the English football team not use it in the seventies instead of God Save The Queen? The English do not represent the other "home nations" so let's have our own anthem.

  • Comment number 17.

    The issue at stake here is that England has no legally recognised national anthem, and whilst this is strictly true for other parts of the United Kingdom the Celtic nations have often enjoyed the privilege of their traditional anthems being played at sporting occasions. English teams, on the other hand, often have to make do with the anthem of the United Kingdom. I suspect this has more to do with the more strident nationalism that exists in the Celtic nations then anything else.

    Until a legally-recognised anthem is put in place the debate over what should be played at events where England participates independent of the rest of the UK will rumble on and on...

  • Comment number 18.

    Well done the voters, whoever you were, but your decision has been poorly implemented. 'Rebellious Scots to crush' is offensive to many, 'wider still and wider' is frankly ridiculous in this century. But with 'Jerusalem', you don't need the intro, though some like it, you don't need the second verse (well, to be exact, you don't need the first one, which is the explicitly Christian one) and you can play it faster.

  • Comment number 19.

    As a Scot I understand why there's a (British) nationality issue
    I hate Flower of Scotland for it's anti English connotations, and the fact it was written only a few years ago.
    I'm a Brit so have no issue with GSTQ but the English have possibly too many to choose from. My wife wanted Jerusalem at our wedding in Glasgow!

    My personal favourite, as I said to my English daughter, is 'I Vow To Thee My Country', but it's a bit of a dirge as an anthem
    The Welsh are so lucky with 'Land Of My Fathers' ;-)

  • Comment number 20.

    Dear Mr Farquhar, would you please to inform the readers what tune the Aussies are celebrating to? you make referece to it being better than ours but then decide not to tell us what it is - You Muppett!
    (I would hazzard a guess at Waltzing Matilda, but I'm not bothered enough to find out).
    As for our anthem - to some up the hosts to date I'd rub it in with playing the "Benny Hill Theme" music. :0)

  • Comment number 21.

    52% of votes cast on the English Commonwealth Games Federation website may have been cast for "Jerusalem" but I do not think they expected the full length version (which is what was recorded). Using nothing more than guesswork, "Advance Australia Fair" plays the first verse only, "Land of My Fathers" plays the first verse and "Flower of Scotland" has two short verses. The simple way around this is to just play the first verse.

    By the way, Manchester 2002 saw "Land of Hope and Glory" chosen as the English anthem and it's success was picked up on in the closing ceremony.

  • Comment number 22.

    it should be land of hope ad glory. all other national sports e,g, football, rugby should have land of hope and glory. when competing as great britain then god save the queen should be used. for example six nations rugby england has god save the queen and each union has thier own anthem. god save the queen is too short and need to have the second verse.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Who the heck allowed the idiot authority to change the NATIONAL ANTHEM OF ENGLAND? The National Anthem is LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY. "

    Wrong. England has no national anthem. Look it up.

    "Jerusalem is a Chritian hymn. How does that work for Muslim or Jewish medallists?"

    Also wrong. It's not a hymn as it is not a prayer to God.

    Personally I kind of agree with the article. I LOVE Jerusalem... but that's because of the words and tune together. Without the words it just doesn't work so well. Perhaps it should have been Land of Hope and Glory after all. ANYTHING is better than bloody God Save the Queen though. What a dreadful dirge that is.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Elgar, the Parry and the Holst are all fantastic tunes but the two verses of the Parry do make it too long for medals ceremony purposes. All are better off without their usual words. As a Scot I find Flower of Scotland embarassing and Scotland the Brave wasn't much better. Perhaps Auld Lang Syne would be good - one verse only.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm another person who personally finds I Vow To Thee My Country the most stirring and the most patriotic. I love Jerusalem, I love Land of Hope and Glory, but England as a nation doesn't have an official national anthem so I can see the problem. For me, I Vow To Thee is very stirring words or no words, and in my book I'd far rather see England sing that at the rugby rather than God Save The Queen.

  • Comment number 26.

    .. but our national anthem is God Save The Queen. If people want to sing Flower of Scotland etc that's up to them, but don't pretend that our national anthem - the national anthem of the nation state of the United Kingdom - is anything but God Save The Queen. Play the national anthem if anyone from this nation wins. Maybe some other tune later, on the side.

    If we really must give in to PC and let people have separate anthems for the constituent parts of one country, without then saying "well, ok, if the %age of people living in Scotland get their anthem, then the %age living in Birmingham should get theirs too", then Land of Hope and Glory, please no - not since the Americans destroyed it's origin and meaning. I Vow To Thee, yes. (ok, so skip the middle verse though!). Please not Jerusalem though, puhleeze .....

    then there's Swing Low... well, maybe I'm giving away a sporting preference there ;)

  • Comment number 27.

    Amazing How many people keep saying Land Of hope and Glory IS the English anthem, When that's just a patriotic song and A BRITISH one at that unlike the other parts of the union England Doest have its own anthem, which is why England rugby singing god save the queen when playing the Scots or welsh makes no sense. i would vote for i vow to thee my country or a slightly different idea is "There'll Always Be an England"

  • Comment number 28.

    I never have understood the popularity of "Jerusalem", especially bearing in mind the fact that the answer to all the questions at the start is "NO".

    Jesus never set foot on English soil.

  • Comment number 29.

    The line "Rebellious Scots to crush" in God Save the King was allegedly used very briefly in 1745 as a result of the Jacobite Rebellion, and even this is based on a single unreliable source published some 90 years after the event. It's hardly a reasonable basis on which to charge what is admittedly a turgid anthem with rampant anti-Scottish sentiment.

    Now remind me what the words of Flower of Scotland are again..?

  • Comment number 30.


    The Aussies play Advance Australia Fair as it's their national anthem. And this is probably the only time it's been described as a good tune

  • Comment number 31.

    "God Save the Queen" is the British National Anthem (in fact, isn't it also still the national anthem for some Commonwealth countries?) so it should not be used for purely English celebrations.

    "Land of Hope and Glory" is too jingoistic and triumphalist by far (incidentally, neither it nor any other music has ever been adopted as an official National Anthem for England as far as I am aware). It may be all right for Last Night of the Proms, but I don't think as a National Anthem it would send out the right message at all. We should set an example to the rest of the world of how to show friendship and respect for other nations, not go trumpeting some outdated tosh about how mighty and superior we allegedly are to everyone else. A sense of national pride is a very fine thing - in its proper place - but it is very easy for it to stray over the line into inappropriate and unacceptable demagoguery that can only harm our international image and our relationships with the rest of the world.

    At least "Jerusalem" speaks of honest endeavour and the triumph of good over evil, and tries to focus our minds and hearts on somewhat higher and nobler ideals than raw nationalism. It is slow. dignified and thought-provoking, and makes some room for God in our national life. It may not be the perfect choice for an English National Anthem, but I think it comes pretty close.

    Let's have it.

  • Comment number 32.

    Colonel Bogey - nuff said

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't mind Jerusalem, but it should be a shortened version. It went on too long. Poor Fran looked embarrassed.

  • Comment number 34.

    @30 WhyGee - have you heard Adam Hills' version? Sung to Working Class Man? funny ... (Beeb moderators, it's on YouTube, search it for "Adam Hills Advance Australia Fair")

  • Comment number 35.

    Zergon and Yottskry,

    I think you two need to learn the lyrics of Jerusalem and what they mean. Even I, as an Irishman, understand that the words are not a hymn. In the first verse, some vague semi-religious questions are asked, to which each answer is NO!

    The whole thing is a call to arms, calling on Englishmen to make their land something to be proud of!

    Anyone who links it to Sky-fairies, is short of a shilling or two and probably doesn't have the guts that were required when the call to arms was issued, during the Great War!!

  • Comment number 36.

    I love Jerusalem & personally prefer it to Land of Hope & Glory.

    Maybe they should only play one (2nd) verse but the BBC in particular keep going on about it and I'm getting fed up of it. Also how long is the Italian national anthem so am not sure even the version being played in Delhi is that bad.

    Have to agree with those who have said that it's about time we binned God Save the Queen from Football & Rugby internationals too.

  • Comment number 37.

    "And did those feet in ancient time" is a short poem by William Blake from the preface to his epic Milton a Poem. The date on the title page of 1804 for Milton is probably when the plates were begun but the poem was printed c. 1808. Today it is best known as the hymn "Jerusalem", with music written by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.

    The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, travelled to the area that is now England and visited Glastonbury. The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem. The Christian church in general, and the English Church in particular, used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace.

    In the most common interpretation of the poem, Blake implies that a visit of Jesus would briefly create heaven in England, in contrast to the "dark Satanic Mills" of the Industrial Revolution. Analysts note that Blake asks four questions rather than stating a visit to be true. According to this view, the poem says that there may, or may not, have been a divine visit, when there was briefly heaven in England. But that was then; now, we are faced with the challenge of creating such a country once again

    As TRUE now as it was when Blake penned his visionary verses.

    It is England at its idealistic (and romantic) best and a worthy winner set to music by Parry in 1916.

  • Comment number 38.

    I've always liked Jerusalem, but for me this issue is one of surprise. I had no idea there had been a vote, and it had been selected on the basis of 995 people voting for it. And I agree with Gordon it just doesn't work as an anthem. As much as one could argue that Land of Hope and Glory is not English but British, the opening bars of that are the most stirring of any "anthem". It has always been used in the Commonwealth Games for England (even if it is not exclusively English) and has always worked well and been well-received, so I don't understand why there was ever even a debate.

    And it is too long as it is. Play the first verse only. I'm married to a Kiwi and in the arguments about who's anthem is worse (when comparing God Save the Queen to God Defend New Zealand at rugby internationals), my winning claim is that at least we don't play ours twice. Short and sharp is always a winner.

  • Comment number 39.

    ' Jerusalem'?

    'Error and heresy in every line' ...

    ... can't remember who said it, but ...

    ... isn't it one of those public school things?

  • Comment number 40.

    Come on BBC whats the matter with you, look at the words of Jerusalem,
    god knows you have done enough Last Night at the Proms to know the words
    it is ideal choice for England, and if it goes on a bit we will get our monies worth on the rostrum, we certainly need all the exposure we can get, Land of Hope and Glory would make a good replacement for our present National Anthem which more like a dirge.

  • Comment number 41.

    By the way Iam not a new member so pull your finger out !

  • Comment number 42.

    How anyone could come to the conclusion that Advance Australia Fair is better than Jerusalem is beyond me.

  • Comment number 43.

    Should be the opening from Dad's Army if you ask me.

  • Comment number 44.

    Jerusalem was my old school song. I still have fond memories whenever I hear it. However it is not the British National Anthem. Neither is Land of Hope & Glory.

    Who on earth thought it was good idea to change the representative tune. Even the Autralians still have it as an alternative anthem.

  • Comment number 45.

    'Right Here Right Now' by Fat Boy Slim! Lets get with the times!

  • Comment number 46.

    So long as it's not 'Good Help Us All' ... sorry, 'God Save the King / Queen', then I'm a happy bunny. What a dirge that tune is .. with all the wrong sentiment too.
    Actually, I'd quite like to hear 'The Phantom of the Opera' by Iron Maiden, or maybe 'One of These Days' by Pink Floyd ?!
    I'm presuming that there's no rule against picking tunes that aren't at least a hundred years old ?


  • Comment number 47.

    I see nothing racist or defamatory regarding Scotland's national anthem (see below). It merely celebrates our nation repelling and banishing foreign forces from our country. A legitimate rallying point for any nation.

    The anthem does make the point that the days of physical fighting are over (oh that the brits could adopt the same attitude and cease to pretend they are world rulers, etc)

    English folk should have the option to adopt what ever anthem they wish, if it passes comment on the nation to your northern border, so be it.

    But the uk dirge GSTQ, does not reflect any Scottish sentiment, it someone else's queen, another nation, most of us are secular and many of us wish to end union.

    Best wishes in your search for an anthem!

    The Flower of Scotland

    O flower of Scotland
    When will we see
    Your like again
    That fought and died for
    Your wee bit hill and glen
    And stood against him
    Proud Edward's army
    And sent him homeward
    Tae think again

    The hills are bare now
    And autumn leaves lie thick and still
    O'er land that is lost now
    Which those so dearly held
    And stood against him
    Proud Edward's army
    And sent him homeward
    Tae think again

    Those days are passed now
    And in the past they must remain
    But we can still rise now
    And be the nation again
    And stood against him
    Proud Edward's army
    And sent him homeward
    Tae think again

  • Comment number 48.

    I still think England should go with 'Barwick Fair' (theme to the Archers) - stirring stuff.

  • Comment number 49.

    Land of Hope and Glory ticks all the boxes for a rousing and patriotic anthem and until someone composes something better that should be the one that is played and sung at participating national events.

    However, when Royalty is present then out of courtesy, The Queen, should be sung first.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Compared to anthems from the rest of the world, I think GS-the-Queen is pretty good, but I think the anthems of the USA and France are better (though being American-born, I may be biased).

    The English part of me thinks that Jerusalem should be reserved for occasions/events when the live audience (not the TV audience), is actually in England. I agree that Jerusalem is just-not-the-same without Blake's words, but I also think that it is just-not-the-same without England.

    That the City of Jerusalem is considered important to Jews, Muslims and Christians, is no bad thing (and I'm an atheist). The anthem of Jerusalem could be interpreted as showing that at least England is trying to set a good example for the rest of the world.

    Outside England, why not have a different anthem every year? It should be an example of the best of music from England (past or present), not something so nauseous that it might win the Eurovision song contest.
    Morrissey could one of the judges on a "selection panel".

    I'll set the ball rolling by suggesting that the English national anthem could be
    "The Time Warp" from "The Rocky-Horror Picture Show". People might start dancing, instead of just not-standing-up for the national anthem.

  • Comment number 52.

    To see that english flag at last being flown to the tune of jerusalem was a sight and sound i have waited a long time for(especially on the bbc) but then as usual when the camera flicked back the the presenter -claire balding, all she could do was complain about the length it instead of enjoying the moment,which,she spoiled for many of us.

  • Comment number 53.

    Land of Hope & Glory should be the England Anthem...also the lyrics should be easier to remember

  • Comment number 54.

    How many people in countries outside the UK have even heard of Jerusalem (the Anthem, not the city!) and would be able to associate it with England (not just the UK/GB/NI)?
    And how many KNOW that Land of Hope and Glory IS the National Anthem of England?
    I'll be willing to hazard a guess that the answers are somewhere in the region of: Very few, if any - and - Almost everyone in reach of a telly!
    THAT should have been the criteria, not some ultra-tiny mini-minority (the 900+ who voted) who may not even have been all British/English to start with.....
    (I didn't even know there was a poll for the Anthem)

  • Comment number 55.

    "England" has a national Anthem already - "God save our Queen". Why on earth aren't we using it? Some politically correct tosh no doubt...

  • Comment number 56.

    Pathetic choice for a sporting event. Why highlight the poor hockey girls? Embarrassing decision!

  • Comment number 57.

    It hasn't done any harm in cricket, as we hold the Ashes and Cricket World Cup.

  • Comment number 58.

    Zergon wrote: Jerusalem is a Christian hymn. How does that work for Muslim or Jewish medallists?

    Sorry I thought the competition was based on your nationality e.g. English/Scottish/British etc NOT your religious beliefs.

  • Comment number 59.

    And if you really want to go somewhere else - especially for sports events where we have just won, why is everyone ignoring "Rule Britannia"? More politically correct tosh no doubt...

  • Comment number 60.

    Dorfkcots wrote:
    "England" has a national Anthem already - "God save our Queen". Why on earth aren't we using it? Some politically correct tosh no doubt...
    then Dorfkcots wrote again:
    And if you really want to go somewhere else - especially for sports events where we have just won, why is everyone ignoring "Rule Britannia"? More politically correct tosh no doubt...

    Please note that GSTQ is the National Anthem of GB/UK, and RB is titled Rule "Britanni"a not Rule Englandia

    Get politically correct yourself before criticising others

  • Comment number 61.

    Here's an observation: "and we shall build jerusalem in englands green and pleasant land". Every since I first heard the song as a nipper I thought "isnt jerusalem essentially a city in a desert?" That wouldn't make england very green and pleasant any more..... Before anyone jumps on me I realise it's a metaphor...

    Let's have Land of Hope and Glory, and for British events Rule Britannia, the best song ever written about not sparing french sailors..

  • Comment number 62.

    If the Welsh have 'Land of my Fathers', why don't we have 'Son of my Father' by Chicory Tip?

  • Comment number 63.

    Agreed with so many on here. God save the Queen is a woeful dirge, with no redeeming musical quality whatsoever. The best national song we have, musically, is Wales's Land of My Fathers. But Jerusalem is the closest that England has - simply a beautiful piece of music that is rousing with or without words. The only fool is whoever chose to put both verses on the recording, a piece of incompetence gleefully and rightly mocked by all on the Commonwealth Games show. Heck, even God save the Queen has more than one verse. Mercifully God saves us from hearing the rest.

  • Comment number 64.

    I love Jerusalem, but only with the words sung with gusto. It does not work as an instrumental. Land of Hope and Glory has been sung at the Commonwealth games for as long as I can remember, so why not this year. I hate God Save the Queen as an anthem, it is dull and boring and does not invoke any positive feeling in those singing it. We need something more upbeat to inspire English footballers, athletes, swimmers, etc, not a tune that makes them feel like having a nap before competing.

  • Comment number 65.

    Jerusalem is exactly the right anthem. When sung properly its absolutely rousing. Its one of the few songs/hymns that doesnt sound like a durge.

  • Comment number 66.

    I've never felt the same about the Aussies since they changed their anthem from Waltzing Matilda, the archetypal down-to-earth Aussie song, to the pretentious Arise, Australia Fair.

  • Comment number 67.

    What country in the world would have a total of 1900 people voting on such a big thing as our English National Anthem. I bet The idea to change our national anthem was thought up by a Labour Quango Jobsworth.

    David Cameron should put the Quango out of its misery.

    Land of Hope and Glory is a rousing celebratory anthem which is only played if England win a Gold Medal. jerusalem is not a celebratory anthem - Its a Dirge. In the last 6 Commonwealth Games the English anthem has stayed the same - Land of Hope and Glory.

    An English Anthem is not a pop record that can be changed on a whim. I really think as an Englishman it's just not Cricket - please revert back to our traditional anther.

  • Comment number 68.

    The English national anthem should be "He is an Englishman" from HMS Pinafore. There is literally no group on earth that won't take offence. But it has a good tune and is quintessentially English. And celebrates the people, not the nation or any of its institutions. And demonstrates a very English sense of humour. It's what we want!

  • Comment number 69.

    What an utterly pointless article. Have you no ambition?

  • Comment number 70.

    I have to disagree Gordon. Anyone who watched or was involved in any part of the 2005 Ashes series (but in particular the culmination) will know that Jersusalem makes an excellent sporting anthem. It is stirring, passionate and sends shivers down the spine. Especially when sang by a crowd. I appreciate that for a medal ceremony you would probably have to leave out one of the verses.

    I have advocated Jerusalem as our national anthem for a number of years (although I appreciate it is more relevant to England than Britain) as God Save the Queen seems frighteningly outdated in its sentiment. As someone of a republican disposition, I refuse to sing or even stand to it as it does not relate to our nation - as a national anthem surely should - but just to the aristocratic dynasty that heads it (albeit thankfully with no "actual" power). Parallels could no doubt be drawn to the North Koreans singing about their great leader. Discuss.

    Furthermore, as has already been mentioned above by several people the tune is rousing nor triumphant!

  • Comment number 71.

    There must be an Ivor Bigun song appropriate for the occasion.

  • Comment number 72.

    I agree with various people - God Save the Queen - is BRITISH not English.

    Jersualem or I Vow To Thee My Country are great, but what about holding a national song-writing competition for an English national anthem - But please don't make it like the Eurovision song contest.

    Also the person who mentions Jerusalem is Christian. Lets not get in to this group or that group - that sort of thinking will just led us down a very rough road. I am sure most normal thinking people from where ever will not get upset.

  • Comment number 73.

    @28 - the 'those feet' and 'the countenance divine' may well actually refer to Milton not Jesus, and the poem may well be about the former.

  • Comment number 74.

    It should be the theme from Where Eagle Dare - no words required.

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm not one to say, "I told you so..."
    Who am I kidding! Of *course* I told you so! "Land of Hope and Glory" works both as instrumental and as a fully sung anthem, and should have been the choice.

  • Comment number 76.

    It's great to read english people discussing what is and is not a anthem,you get to see a debate about values and what it is to be english. i hope that it leads to the reestablishment of that nation as a state in it's own right. and i wish you all well.

  • Comment number 77.

    I do not care what it is, as long as it isn't 'God Save the Queen'. I would love to stand at an international sporting event and sing our national anthem, but as an atheist who despises the monarchy, I cannot and will not.

    Flower of Scotland may be a dirge, but have you stood at Murrayfield listening to 60,000 Scots singing it, and meaning it?

  • Comment number 78.

    we used to sing hyms in chapel before our rugby games. It was unanimously felt that Jerusalem was by far and away the better of all anthems. Everyone had goosebumps and felt very patriotic, therefore being 'psyched' up for the game. Then again, I am Manx so we already have our own national anthem.

    I think the English are feeling a little confused & lost.

  • Comment number 79.

    I wonder how many people knew that there was a vote, I certainly didn't, I didn't see it advertised anywhere. Jerusalem isn't a bad piece of music, but it went on much too long on the medal presentation, I felt sorry for the swimmers having to stand there for so long instead of feeling emotional with pride as I normally do.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm with tamO. His usage of lower-case is poignant!

  • Comment number 81.

    Many don't sing to god save the queen either, sometimes through choice or sometimes like me, they don't know the words to that either.

  • Comment number 82.

    Change it to Bruce Dickinson's version. Full length, with the guitar solo. AWESOME!

  • Comment number 83.

    Imagine, by John lennon, would be a great choice for the English anthem.

    An improvement on the usual dated xenophobic and jingoistic nonsense we churn out.

    As for God Save The Queen, I hope that all English teams stop playing this as it is not our anthem and leaves me utterly cold.

    Advance Australia Fair? Ask the Aborigines how fair they think life in Australia is...

  • Comment number 84.

    If you must have an anthem without any words, you could do worse than the middle section of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No.4 (Land of Hope and Glory is March No.1). For me, No.4 is a better tune, more uplifting, more martial, more inspirational.

  • Comment number 85.

    Why not have something that has simple lyrics, a simple tune, and that would sum up perfectly English triumphalism (and xenophobia)?

    I mean of course "Oo are yer?", repeated ad infinitum, or at least ad nauseam.

    There would in addition be the irony that, of all nations, the English seem to struggle more than most with expressions of national identity.

  • Comment number 86.

    I love "Jerusalem". Yes it should have been only one verse but the tune is absolutely amazing and I think it is a great anthem whether it was sung or not. Of course I noticed it is down to personal musical tastes, but I do find "Land of Hope and Glory" boring.

    As for the people complaining about the reference to the city of Jerusalem in the potentially English anthem, what do you think about the fact that "God Save the Queen" is based on a tune called "America"?

    Doesn't that also bring us to another question... "Danny Boy (Londonderry Air)" as an anthem for Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games? Now I know that had been the case for years, but that really does not work!

  • Comment number 87.

    Jerusalem - Love it. Big improvement.

  • Comment number 88.

    Queen's "We are the Champions" would do th job.

  • Comment number 89.

    The problem with Jerusalem is that it takes too long to get to the bits that most people know - Bow, Arrows, Shield and Chariots of Fire.

    'If you're happy and you know it' on the other hand....

  • Comment number 90.

    I think they should have the queen running around with a can of tennants super shouting "engerland engerland engerlaaaaand" when we win a medal.

    Might not be very pc, but would be very funny.

  • Comment number 91.

    I'd just like to point out to 47 that the Queen is a direct desendent of James VI of SCOTLAND so before he starts his nationalist rants can he get his facts straight.

  • Comment number 92.

    Land of Hope and Glory all the way. With or without the words - it's something that you can stand up to and feel proud, and at the same time, actually want to sing it.

    All this talk of British versus English anthems.......
    What do the England Football and Rugby teams sing when they take the field? Good....glad we've cleared that up.

    Jerusa-man-this-tune-sucks-what-are-words-again? No thanks.
    Land of Hope and Glory for England and Britain.

  • Comment number 93.

    I have to disagree. Land of hope and glory is british and aweful - save it for the proms.
    Jerusalem is the only choice of anthem to be sung at the commonwelth games, and in my opinion at any ENGLISH sporting event. It would easily be the most rousing and emotional to be sung beofre or after, it won't take too long for everyone to learn the words (maybe some footballers a bit longer than most but they will get there).

  • Comment number 94.

    "Sir Cecil Spring Rice's 'I Vow to Thee My Country' always sends a shiver down my spine. Holst's tune is far superior to Jerusalem and the words conjure up a sufficient level of patriotism, without going over the top."

    And Holst hated the words that were put to hios music

    And as far as I have ever been concerned in my 55 years LOHAG was the English National Anthem so where does Jerusalem come from and why was there any need to change

  • Comment number 95.

    I don't understand the criticism. I think obviously it would sound better with the backing of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, but it's still a good choice. If those athletes don't know the words to Jerusalem then I don't see why they would know Land of Hope and Glory either.

  • Comment number 96.

    I don't understand what this "I-don't-know-the-words" fuss is all about. Surely people will familiarise with the words after it's been played several times! And that's the only reason athletes knew the words to "Land of Hope and Glory".

  • Comment number 97.

    92. At 10:46am on 06 Oct 2010, Spectre486 wrote:

    All this talk of British versus English anthems.......
    What do the England Football and Rugby teams sing when they take the field? Good....glad we've cleared that up.

    I am sure you are aware that the Northern Irish football team also use "God Save the Queen" because they have not got another anthem! Now are we clear that it is a British anthem?!

  • Comment number 98.

    I just look on it as payback for all the times I've had to suffer other peoples dreadful national anthems. Now it's their turn to suffer. How about 'Heart of Oak'?

  • Comment number 99.

    I was under the impression that God Save the queen was the British anthem. The English national anthem is Land of Hope and Glory. The English national teams should sing Land of hope and Glory, including football and rugby.

    Also, God save the queen was written by a French Mistress to King Louie(unsure which one) to celebrate ungoing a successful operation on his behind. Not sure why we adopted it in the first place.

  • Comment number 100.

    It would seem that there is some confusion amongst you lot...and also in ~India, where "Jerusalem" is played BEFORE an event, but if England win, they play "The National Anthem"..but if Scotland win..they play "Flower of Scotland" Scotland is (last time I looked) part of the "United Kingdom"..surely, their "National Anthem" is the same as the one for England, since we are the same "Nation" (Clue here..Nation..NATIONal Anthem"....So if Scotland can have Flower of Scotland, and Wales should have Tom Jones "Green Green Grass of Home" Norn Iyrn can have Danny Boy, and England can have Land of Hope and Glory. (Though I much prefer "Nimrod")


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