A National Anthem for Scotland

During December 1997 the Scottish Arts Council made the suggestion that Scotland officially adopt a National Anthem, now that there is to be a Scottish Parliament once again in Edinburgh.

Suggestions were made that this was a ploy by the SAC to divert attention away from their own difficulties, with serious questions being asked about the way in which they have chosen to allocate funds for the arts in Scotlands. Nevertheless a valid debate has been opened.

Galgacus addressing his army

The requirement for an official Scottish National Anthem arises from the fact that the current British National Anthem, God Save the Queen, is a British rather than a Scottish anthem, and when first written contained lines of a distinctly anti-Scottish nature.

Some years ago the song Flower of Scotland, composed by the late Roy Williamson, began to be spontaneously sung at sporting events and thereby became an unofficial Scottish National Anthem.

It is argued that the time is now right either for Flower of Scotland to be made official, or for another anthem to be chosen.

The Herald newspaper has taken an initiative, and started a Hotline for readers to call in and vote for the anthem of their choice.

 In the event that a majority of callers vote for a new anthem to be composed, the Herald has promised to give a prize of £500 to the winner of a competition to compose the new anthem.

The telephone numbers to call for the choices proposed by the Herald are:

Compose NEW Scottish National Anthem+44 (0) 930 563 850
Flower of Scotland+44 (0) 930 563 851
Scotland the Brave+44 (0) 930 563 852
Scots Wha Ha'e+44 (0) 930 563 853
Amazing Grace+44 (0) 930 563 854
Freedom Come All Ye+44 (0) 930 563 855
Auld Lang Syne+44 (0) 930 563 856

The lines are open until midnight on Friday January 30th.

We favour Flower of Scotland on the grounds that it is already the people's choice and has been sung in preference to God Save the Queen by many in recent years. The initial voting on the Hotline seems to reflect this, with 48% of callers so far voting for Flower of Scotland, with a new anthem the next most popular option with 19%.

If anyone is wondering about Galgacus (picture above), he was the most distinguished among the Caledonian Chieftains in the year 84 AD, and is shown addressing his army before the first major battle with the Roman invaders, which reputedly took place on the moor of Ardoch at the foot of the Grampian mountains.

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