The following letter was published in the Sunday Telegraph on 22nd April 2012. You can view the original piece here: www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/9217699/An-English-anthem-would-give-us-pride-without-prejudice.html
SIR – When British athletes win Gold for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, God Save the Queen will play to celebrate. However, when it is England who take to the sporting field to play rugby or football, they should be heralded by an English anthem for an English team, just as Flower of Scotland and Land of My Fathers are sung as Scottish and Welsh anthems.
The lack of an English national anthem can lead to complaints about a lack of fair play, while treating the British national anthem as if it belongs to England undermines an equal claim to British identity and the allegiance of other nations within the United Kingdom.
An English anthem would show symbolically that pride in our national identities is no barrier to being proud to be British too. We would like to see an English anthem used when England play France in their first game in this summer’s Euro 2012 football tournament.
This St George’s Day is an ideal moment for the proud and inclusive majority in our country to speak up. It would strengthen the case that the fringe extremists of the English Defence League, who would tear England apart, have no real claim to St George’s flag.
An English anthem for the talented, diverse teams that represent us on the sporting field would help modern patriotic pride to defeat prejudice.
Jon Cruddas MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Dagenham and Rainham