People differ in their attitudes to national anthems – and certainly their quality varies.
Anthems, flags and their like are, I suppose, badges that countries wear, identifiers, attempts to say something about the people of the nation, their history, their beliefs and hopes – or a mixture of all of this.
What’s clear is that, given a Yes vote in September, “Flower of Scotland”, our unofficial national anthem these past 20-odd years, will have run its course. Our land will no longer be “lost”, and we will have risen “to be the nation again”.
An anthem for Scotland looking forward will need to somehow encapsulate our new image of ourselves, our hopes and aspirations for a future which we will be planning and preparing to shape.
What’s also clear, however, is that “Flower of Scotland” will have run its course if there’s a No vote.
On September 18, the people of Scotland will be sovereign. We will be making the most crucial decision in our country’s history – a decision no Scot has been allowed a say in for more than 300 years. If we vote Yes, we will collectively retain the power to shape our future, to make a better nation for ourselves and our families.
But if, at the end of September 18, we have decided to give our sovereignty away, then the words of “Flower of Scotland”, or any other of the songs I’ve seen suggested as Scotland’s anthem, will be meaningless. In fact, the whole idea of a national anthem for a country that has rejected its own status as a nation seems bizarre and pointless. Certainly, reading the dismal recycling of scares by Alistair Carmichael in last week’s Southern (such a contrast to the Blair Jenkins piece), it’s hard to imagine how any piece of music could possibly inspire citizens of a post-No Scotland.
Maybe we should simply revert to “God Save the Queen”.
So, although the subject of anthems may not be the most pressing issue of the referendum campaign, I do ask this question in all seriousness: What, if anything, could possibly be the theme for the anthem of a nation that rejects its own nationhood?