I was interested to read that MSPs were being asked to consider installing Flower of Scotland as the official national anthem, with the absurd notion that this would unite the country (your report, 14 January)
I am of the opposite view. In fact, I would no longer like to hear Flower of Scotland being played at a certain Scottish sporting venue before international matches.
The sound of such a bastion of unionism bellowing out “for we can still rise now and be a nation again” would certainly stick in my craw!
Flower of Scotland is a great folk song, however. Scotland should wait until it has inevitably regained its independence and that a new, forward-looking composition should be penned and adopted by a country no longer shackled by self-interest and avarice and confident enough to govern itself.
Sadly, for too many people who are still tied to the idea of an out-dated political construct such as Great Britain, this is not the case at present.
The Scottish Government must, at all costs, resist the pressure to decide on a national anthem now. There is no hurry, and it should be done properly, via a committee of the musical great and good. (If Yes had won the referendum, a proper process would, I suggest, have only then been put in place and the national anthem unveiled much closer to independence, in 2016.)
The dire Flower of Scotland would be a catastrophic choice, being maudlin and dirge-like. Caledonia is better but still not suitable because they are both folk/pub songs.
A national anthem should be dignified and stirring, with noble sentiments and a great melody. As for God Save the Queen, that will have its place alongside the Scottish anthem on particularly British occasions or when royalty are present.
Other countries have adopted that practice; Norway, for example, has a wonderful, stirring “people’s” anthem as well as a royal anthem (bizarrely, with the same tune as God Save the Queen).
The depressing level of the debate was vividly illustrated on the Radio Scotland phone-in on Wednesday. Couthy, comic and catchy were all considered, some seriously. A proper nation would not be having this distracting debate in such a trivialising way.
Perth and Kinross
I see that, despite plenty of comment about its utter unsuitability, there are moves to approve Flower of Scotland as the national anthem of Scotland. In fact, we already have a national anthem. It is called God Save the Queen. No other is necessary.
However, if some sort of ditty is wanted for sporting events, the current dirge is entirely out of place. If it stays, then people can simply opt not to sing it in their droves. Something cheering which will bring a smile to people’s faces would be more suitable.
In that respect, there are one or two alternatives. Some, of a more bloodthirsty cast of mind, might opt for Scots Wha Hae. However, it is also rather gloomy and a sporting team needs something to lighten its mood, not the reverse.
As an alternative and, for a really upbeat, enjoyable song with very few words to remember, Hoots Mon! by Lord Rockingham’s XI has my vote. If anyone fails to laugh when listening to it, they have no sense of humour.
Andrew HN Gray