Archbishop of York calls for Wales to sing God Save the Queen before sports matches
The Archbishop of York has called for Wales to sing God Save the Queen before international sports games.
Stephen Cottrell suggested that when the different nations of the UK play each other in sporting contests that they “belt out our individual anthems” before they “sing our national anthem together”.
Cottrell also complained about Scotland singing the Scottish national anthem Flower of Scotland before its Euro 2020 match with England, instead of both teams having “sung one national anthem”.
But he did praise the “impressive zest” with which the Scottish anthem was sung.
He made the suggestion in a column in the Telegraph, in which he said many people in England feel left behind by “metropolitan elites in London and the South East” and are “patronised as backwardly xenophobic”.
He also called for “an expansive vision of what it means to be English”.
In his column he said: “I’m also a big fan of any game that stops for tea. In fact, after the horrors of Covid, our whole nation would benefit from a tea break.
“A chance to pause, reset and rediscover who we are: a courageous and compassionate community of communities, serving the common good, and delighting in our diversity across these islands.
“Then when the different nations of the United Kingdom find themselves pitched against each other on the sports field, we could belt out our individual anthems. Then sing our national anthem together. And love our neighbour.”
‘What do sing’
He also said: “When England played Scotland in the Euros a few months ago, we faced a conundrum. What to sing before the match?
“Both nations, England and Scotland, belong to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We should, surely, have sung one national anthem.
“But the Scots, with impressive zest, sang Flower of Scotland. And the English sang God Save the Queen. The national anthem of both nations became just the English anthem.
“The question is something more than just coming up with an anthem. It is something about Englishness.”
On devolution Cottrell said: “Various devolutions seemed to be a good development. They emphasised that unity in diversity. They shared responsibility and empowered local government.
“A Scottish parliament and a Welsh assembly were born. But similar developments never really happened in England.
“Consequently, Westminster started to feel like the English Government. And London, with its own mayor and wealth, size and influence, started to feel like a separate nation: even in England, it was London and the rest.