England Wants to Change Its National Anthem. These Are the Options.

English citizens of Great Britain have had enough with "God Save The Queen."

Huge crowds cheering with Britain's Union flags crowd the Mall towards Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL        (Photo credit should read )
Huge crowds cheering with Britain's Union flags crowd the Mall towards Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read )
Huge crowds cheering with Britain's Union flags crowd the Mall towards Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read )

For more than 200 years, English citizens attending sporting events and royal processions have waved the Union Jack and the St. George’s Cross, and belted out the lyrics to “God Save the Queen” -- the United Kingdom’s national anthem that vows loyalty to the British royal family.

But they soon may be singing a different tune: On Wednesday, the British parliament gave preliminary approval for a bill that, if passed, would direct the secretary of state for culture, media, and sport to hold a public consultation that would designate a new English anthem to be sung at athletic events.

The bill’s sponsor, MP Toby Perkins, believes England needs to choose a national anthem that would distinguish it from the U.K.’s other nations, and suggested that the state could even host a live television vote. The current anthem “reflects a sense that we see Britain and England as synonymous," he said Wednesday.

For more than 200 years, English citizens attending sporting events and royal processions have waved the Union Jack and the St. George’s Cross, and belted out the lyrics to “God Save the Queen” — the United Kingdom’s national anthem that vows loyalty to the British royal family.

But they soon may be singing a different tune: On Wednesday, the British parliament gave preliminary approval for a bill that, if passed, would direct the secretary of state for culture, media, and sport to hold a public consultation that would designate a new English anthem to be sung at athletic events.

The bill’s sponsor, MP Toby Perkins, believes England needs to choose a national anthem that would distinguish it from the U.K.’s other nations, and suggested that the state could even host a live television vote. The current anthem “reflects a sense that we see Britain and England as synonymous,” he said Wednesday.

Perkins hopes the winner will be “Jerusalem,” which was composed by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916, and is based on a short poem written by William Blake in the preface to Milton, his most famous work.

But he may not get his way: British broadcasting service Sky News conducted a “nationally representative” poll of its customers Wednesday and found a deep divide over what the new English anthem should be — or whether it should change at all. Sixty-three percent of respondents supported the idea of a vote, and of those, only 31 percent liked the idea of “Jerusalem.” Forty percent favored “Land of Hope and Glory,” 18 percent wanted “There’ll Always Be An England,” and 11 percent supported “I Vow To Thee My Country.”

Below, Foreign Policy has compiled videos of the current frontrunners:  

Jerusalem:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73eB-aAo8Eg&w=560&h=315%5D

Land of Hope and Glory:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpEWpK_Dl7M&w=560&h=315%5D

There’ll Always Be An England:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFsD7Q5QAS4&w=560&h=315%5D

I Vow Thee My Country:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMNlnryrVtc&w=560&h=315%5D

And, the incumbent, God Save The Queen:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAc0Vcv5Gs4&w=560&h=315%5D

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GettyImages

Henry Johnson is a fellow at Foreign Policy. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in history and previously wrote for LobeLog. Twitter: @HenryJohnsoon

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