I got my long awaited reply from Anne Hogbin, the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Council for England, last week. The Council have just had a meeting to decide whether they stick with the current and entirely inappropriate ‘victory anthem’ for England’s medal ceremony at next year’s Games or change to what many consider to be the people of England’s choice. Regular readers may remember that I have been lobbying Ms Hogbin, trying to get ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ replaced by ‘Jerusalem’ as England’s victory anthem.
During my correspondence with her, I thought I had made quite a convincing case. LofHandG is a pretty jingoistic ditty, going on about Empire, subjugation of nations etc. I argued that Jerusalem was an aspirational song with an already proven national pedigree……
I was fairly hopeful, butI should have known better. This is what she wrote -
’Dear Mr. Wake,
The members of the Commonwealth Games Council for England met last week and one of the items for discussion was the Victory Anthem used for The Commonwealth Games.
I am writing to inform you that the members were unanimous in wishing to retain 'Land of Hope and Glory' as our anthem.
Thank you for your interest.
Commonwealth Games Council for England, PO Box 36288, London SE19 2YY
A few days later, the Sunday Times ran a story about the England and Wales cricket board deciding to bin the singing of ‘Jerusalem’ before England test matches next season because it might insult, upset, stress out the opposition.
I think this is utter bollocks. I smell the dead, blighted hand of Noo Labour at work. The plain fact is, last Summer, Jerusalem became the unofficial-official people’s choice for an English National Anthem. No doubt this elicited catastrophic panic from the CEO of Noo Labour’s ‘Bringlish’ project.
I reckon a little bit of leaning has gone on here. A few words in ears to impressionable and creeping administrators has ensured that Jerusalem has suddenly suffered a McCarthyite fate and been declared an enemy of the people. – Not of course because of its stirring message of hope and aspiration, more due to the binding effect and sense of belonging it has on a people to their country.
And according to New Labour, that simply will not be allowed.