Shame on you, Jeremy Corbyn, for agreeing to sing the words of the national anthem in future!
You will not catch me singing the words any time soon, and here’s the reason why: I don’t agree with them.
|God||As a rationalist and humanist, I believe God does not exist.|
|Save||So a non-existent God can’t save anything. Presumably, “save” means “from death”: I have not the slightest personal ill-will towards the present head of state. But why should I wish this particular individual, whom I’ve never met, a long life, rather than anyone / everyone else?|
|Our||Nothing to do with me: I had no choice in her appointment!|
|Gracious||My dictionary defines this word as “courteous, kind and pleasant”. I have no reason to doubt these attributes could be applied to Little Betty W, at least most of the time. But this epithet was applied to all her predecessors during their reigns, regardless of their various personalities. It would be an extraordinary coincidence if they all deserved the term. So that makes it propaganda, not praise.|
|Queen||As a republican, I want an elected head of state, not a monarchy.|
|Long live our noble Queen||See “save” above.|
|God save the Queen||See all above|
|Send her victorious||Over whom, exactly?|
|Happy and glorious||See “gracious” above|
|God save the Queen||Repetition! It wouldn’t do in “Just a Minute”!|
After that… which of us would be comfortable with verse two? O Lord our God arise, Scatter her enemies, And make them fall: Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish* tricks, On Thee our hopes we fix: God save us all.
*”knavish” used to be “popish” – ah for the days when religious intolerance was official policy!!
When I attend church events like weddings and funerals, I adopt a respectful approach to those around me. This means not drawing attention to my dissenting views: I stand up and sit down at the same time as everyone else. During hymns and prayers, I stand or sit silently as a mark of respect. It would be hypocritical to join in.
This was exactly the approach Jeremy Corbyn adopted at the Battle of Britain ceremony – an honest, respectful and tolerant approach. The real or manufactured anger of his critics simply shows them to be intolerant of those whose views differ from their own. It’s not hard to work out whose attitude I prefer.