I’m sick of Tory politicians blaming others for their abject failure to deliver Brexit. It is true that most Labour and Tory MPs signed up to Article 50 and stood on manifestos committing them to respect the results of the 2016 Referendum. However, bearing in mind that Brexit is not a binary issue, Labour did not commit to supporting a Tory interpretation of Leave into which they had zero input.
Had Theresa May been a collaborative leader, keen to find a consensus, we would now be in Transition, outside the EU, and negotiating trade deals everywhere. But she chose to design her own Withdrawal Agreement and blueprint for the future, adding red lines that no-one confirmed in a public vote. She reluctantly, at a very late date, decided to have talks with Labour but refused to budge on anything of significance – phoney talks for appearance sakes.
The sensible approach would have been an all-party constitutional convention to work through all the options and come up with a proposal that could be supported by an overwhelming majority of MPs, accepting that to Lib Dems, the SNP, and some others, any form of Leave would be unsupportable; nothing you can do about that. The Tories were not sensible though. They have tried to force through a hardcore Brexit that did not have a popular or parliamentary mandate and, thanks to Speaker Bercow, didn’t get away with it. Now they are keen to blame others for failing to back their narrow and dangerous extremism, including the latest Johnson wheeze to put a Customs border down the Irish Sea.
All Opposition candidates have a duty to counter these Tory excuses and point out their lack of collaboration and consultation with a broad spectrum of viewpoints is a direct cause of their failure to deliver a Brexit that a majority of people and MPs could support. They are the authors of their own misfortune and you cannot trust them any longer.
I normally wake to Radio 5 Live news each morning. The volume is set to maximum to ensure a response. Imagine my surprise earlier this week when I awoke to a rather good, very loud, rendition of the Russian National Anthem. All was explained a while later when it was clear that normal programming had been replaced by a Rugby World Cup match between Russia and Scotland. Thankfully Scotland won 61-0.
Russia may be crap at rugby, and drug-cheating baa-lambs at most other sports. But you can’t deny the brilliance of their National Anthem. Some versions give me goosebumps. I’m not keen on Scotland’s Anthem really but it is infinitely better than the official UK National Anthem.
I’ll be upfront about it: I haven’t listened to every country’s National Anthem and objectively ranked them. But if they’ve won a gold medal at an Olympics I’ve probably heard their song. And I’ve taken some hints from sad people who have listened to the lot. With the possible exception of Liechtenstein, I’ve come to the conclusion our God Save The Queen is the worst of the lot. It’s not even about the UK; it’s a toast to an undemocratic birthright leader that once contained a line about an Irishman crushing rebellious Scots. The music is a tedious dirge better suited to a funeral. I would hazard a guess that half the population could not recite the first verse correctly, and 99% could not tell you the content of any other verse, assuming they knew there were other verses. I’d struggle myself on the first verse and have instantly forgotten any hint of those other verses even though I researched them for this post 5 minutes ago. It is the most forgettable anthem as well as the worst. I know no-one that is proud of and loves either words or tune. I don’t recall once in over 50 years when I’ve had the least desire to stand and sing it but am very envious of foreigners with a song to get passionate about. It has to go, relegated to Royal Anthem as it has been elsewhere in the world. At least Liechtenstein’s anthem is about the country.
My Top 10:
- Russia. Stirring. Goosebumps, suits huge youth choirs.
- France. Don’t know the translation but the music tells me a story.
- New Zealand. Simple and sweet with some odd lyrics that don’t always fit the music. Sing it around a campfire accompanied by a guitar.
- Australia. An optimistic young and free modern anthem that grows on you.
- South Africa. Symbolic of the demise of apartheid.
- Wales. Beautiful. The best version was the old HTV Wales closedown music.
- Italy. Bonkers intro but worthy of the home of great opera. Fantastic finale.
- Chile. A cross between a circus parade and beer hall drinking song.
- Ireland (Ireland’s Call). Symbolic foot tapper played when the united Irish rugby team take to the field. Quite like the Irish Republic’s tune too
- Senegal. Reminiscent of a 1950’s film score. No idea how you sing to it.
So what do we replace the dirge with? Jerusalem is for the English only, and we should have our own for when we compete in sports events as England. For the UK it has to be Land of Hope and Glory. I can see a time when we’re all proudly belting that one out in a way we can never do with the royal toast song. But let’s not do a Referendum and split the country 48%-52% between Land of Hope and Glory and the Birdie McBirdface Song.