Recently a video of a young boy singing Scotland’s undeclared national anthem, “Flower of Scotland”, went viral on Twitter.
English fans were quick to troll him, equating his passion with anyone intoxicated on three pints of beer.
However, the passion displayed by the young lad is more than just an insular comparison as the emotions are intertwined with the socio-political history of the United Kingdom and its sporting events.
Yesterday, England played Scotland in a friendly match and from the start, certain things got very obvious.
Firstly, when The Three Lions stood for their national anthem, a huge clamor of boos was directed by the Scottish supporter towards God Save The King, so much so that people could not even hear the anthem properly.
On the other hand, when it was Scotland’s time for their national anthem, the passion of the Scottish people was vehement.
The United Kingdom has a peculiar history with its national anthem as it’s an amalgamation of three different cultures. Firstly, the official national anthem of Great Britain is “God Save The King”. However, not every country in the British Isle follows that, not even England on some occasions.
In England, various anthems have been traditionally employed for different occasions. “God Save the King” is commonly used, but other patriotic songs like “Jerusalem,” “Rule, Britannia!” and “Land of Hope and Glory” have also made appearances.
In international test cricket matches since 2004, “Jerusalem” has been the anthem of choice for England. In international rugby league matches, England typically uses both “God Save the King” and “Jerusalem.” During the Commonwealth Games, Team England celebrates victories with the rendition of “Jerusalem” as their anthem.
Northern Ireland’s national anthem is “God Save the King,” but some Irish nationalists don’t feel it culturally aligns with Irish sentiments and have looked for alternatives. In the Commonwealth Games, Northern Ireland uses the “Londonderry Air” as their victory anthem.
Like Ireland, Scotland also feels underrepresented by God Save the King. It is very well documented that Scotland wants political, cultural, and judicial severance from England and Great Britain, especially after Brexit, but due to the intricate nature of geopolitics, “The Land of the Brave” hasn’t seen the light of the day.
When it comes to Scotland’s national anthem, it is “God Save The King” but then again it is not. During most “international sporting events”, such as matches involving the Scottish national football team, the Scottish cricket team, and the Scottish rugby union team, Scotland’s national anthem is “Flower of Scotland.” Consequently, they see these sporting events as a chance to highlight their cultural idiosyncrasy.
Scotland’s national anthem has always been a game of Judicial juggernaut. The year 2004 saw the Scottish Parliament’s legal advisors assert their authority by advising that selecting a national anthem for Scotland fell squarely within their jurisdiction, defying the notion that this decision should be reserved solely for the United Kingdom’s Parliament.
So next time you see a passionate Scottish fan singing “Flower of Scotland” passionately, remember it has more to do with cultural history than 3 pints of beer.