Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Corbyn and the anthem
Sir Nicholas Soames, Churchill's grandson no less, has complained that Jeremy Corbyn failed to sing the words of the national anthem when it was played at a service in St Paul's Cathedral to commemorate the How puerile can you get?
Yet this event, or rather non-event, has hit the front pages of many British newspapers. The Guardian, to its credit, has relegated it to a modest half-column on page 8.
In my youth the main function of the anthem seemed to be to clear the cinemas quickly after the last showing. About two thirds of the audience would rush out before it started, the rest of us, unless we had a bus to catch, would stand in respectful silence, which exactly what Mr Corbyn did. Very few people sang. And how many of our footballers sing when this ritual is enacted before international matches?
Given that people claim to want honesty and sincerity in politicians, how can they expect Corbyn to mouth that he wants the Queen and her family "long to reign over us"? Rather he presumably would like them to go into modest retirement.
If we must have national anthems I think it is high time we found some words more suitable for today. "For he is an Englishman" from "HMS Pinafore" might well suit UKIP. Perhaps Prince Charles could commission the poet laureate to compose some more inclusive words to that fine tune, or perhaps to the BBC's "UK Theme."
As a former Wolf Cub I happen to know not one but three verses of the National Anthem. I wonder how many Nicholas Soames knows? To save Mr Corbyn further embarrassment I recommend this third one which he can sing without compromising his beliefs:
Oh Lord our God, arise,
Scatter our enemies*,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics
Frustrate their knavish tricks
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.
*mainly those in the Labour Party.