English Need A National Anthem Of Their Own, Says John Cruddas

Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 25/04/2012 14:30 Updated: 25/04/2012 14:49

Labour MP Jon Cruddas is throwing his support behind a campaign that calls for England to have its own national anthem.

Those backing the idea worry that while Wales and Scotland have their own national anthems - sung at rugby and football matches in particular - England lacks a distinctive anthem of its own.

Cruddas believes those on the left of politics need to seize the initiative and come up with some ideas for one.

He tells HuffPost he likes "Jerusalem" because it "gets him going", but says he doesn't want to get too involved in what the anthem should be. His main concern is that while Tories have talked a lot about recapturing English patriotism, left-wing politicians haven't got on board with the idea.

"The point is about recognition of the issue," he tells us. "It does seem a bit odd that there's no equivalent to "Flower of Scotland."

Tell us - Apart from "Jerusalem" and "Land of Hope And Glory", what other candidates for an English national anthem are there?

The Labour MP - once tipped as a possible leader of the party - has long been concerned that definitions of Englishness are at risk of being hijacked by the far-right.

"It's part of the broader issue of whether we're going to have a shrill, sour, form of english nationhood based on resentment and loss, or if we're going to build a new positive English nationhood, within a federal United Kingdom," he says.

"The one thing is missing is an identity for England and the anthem itself is part of what we want to take on."

Cruddas believes it's time for those on the left of politics to accept that there's nothing wrong with English patriotism:

"The left has always been more resistant than anyone, they see patriotism as a form of homogenous white english identity, well that's not the case, secondly they see it as jingoistic. I don't think so, I think you could look at a different history of England - from Orwell to the independent Labour party, which has always attempted to contest a romantic notion of what England could mean.

"I accept a lot of people on the left find this alien territory, but I don't see an option, because of worries about the notion of what English identity is, if it's left to those who want it to become a politics of anger."

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