Right-wing English newspapers have condemned Welsh and Scottish footballers for ‘refusing’ to sing the British ‘national’ anthem ahead of matches in the London Olympics.
Apparently four Welsh players, including Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, did not sing ‘God Save The Queen’ before the game against Senegal , while two Scottish women took the same course of action before their match with New Zealand.
Kim Little (pictured above), from Aberdeen, said she did not sing the ‘British’ anthem because she is Scottish. The other Scot in the ladies football team, Ifeoma Dieke, was born in America to Nigerian parents but was brought up in Scotland from an early age and has previously voiced her pride in being Scottish.
Of course, the British national anthem just happens to be the same as the English national anthem.
In the eyes of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Scotland is not a nation: the governing body sees us as a mere region of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. That being the case, if Scottish athletes want to compete in the Olympics they have no option but to do so as part of ‘Team GB’. Some, like British Unionist Sir Chris Hoy, are happy to wrap themselves in the Union flag and sing the British/English anthem. Others who see themselves as Scots should not be forced to sing the anthem of another country.
It is also ridiculous to expect republicans or atheists to sing a song asking ‘God’ to save ‘the Queen’.
Britain is not, never has been, and never will be a nation: it is a geographical area within which there is a state comprising a union of nations. Much of Europe also features a geographical area that is home to a union of nations, but few people, if any, would state their nationality as ‘European’. The nationality of the peoples within the British Union are Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish. A union of nations may adopt a common song, but it can’t be a ‘national’ anthem.
There is no Act of Parliament or even Royal Proclamation that makes ‘God Save The Queen’ a national anthem, it is afforded that status only through custom and use. It is perfectly acceptable, therefore, for people to choose not to use it.
Of course, Scots have an added reason not to sing ‘God Save The Queen’. The song contains a verse, written at the time of the 1745 Jacobite uprising, which urges troops under the command of Marshal Wade to “like a torrent rush, rebellious Scots to crush”.
It is also the case that the non-English footballers who chose not to sing the British/English ‘national’ anthem are not the first to take that course of action. The Queen does not sing it.
The sooner we re-take our national independence, the better – which would allow Scottish athletes to compete in the Olympics representing their nation, Scotland...and English athletes, representing England, can belt out ‘God Save The Queen’ until their hearts are content.