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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Land of hope and glory: Too jingoistic?
The words of Land of Hope and Glory have been altered for a major school music event in the UK.

The original lyrics of the anthem were deemed "too jingoistic" in the current international climate.

After a complaint from the National Union of Teachers, the organiser of the Schools Prom, Larry Westland, decided to rewrite part of the lyrics.

BBC News | Land of Hope and Glory

OLD

Land of Hope and Glory,
Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee,
Who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider
Shall they bounds be set,
God who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet!

NEW

Music and our voices
Unite us all as one,
Let our sound be mighty,
Sung by everyone.
Deeper and still deeper
Shall our bounds be set
Bring our world together
Make us closer yet.

The anthem was dropped from the closing night of the annual Proms this year. The Conservative party also decided not to use it at their conference.

Is Land of Hope and Glory too triumphalist in the current circumstances? Or is this an over-reaction?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


We need a little more backbone in the corridors of power in this country

Tim, England
What is it about the British constantly worrying about offending someone? It makes me so angry the way we tiptoe around every 'minority' within earshot just in case someone somewhere may be offended. America is the most Jingoistic nation in the world and no one says a word. We need a little more backbone in the corridors of power in this country.
Tim, England

Poppycock! The new lyrics are terrible and have no right to be sung. I feel great pride for my country whenever I sing it, and should be allowed to continue to do so. Isn't the UK supposed to be a democracy after all? Just further evidence of the existence of a nanny state. By the way, I am a teacher who doesn't go along with all these PC views (and I am sure there are thousands like me), so please stop blaming the teachers. We are dictated to by the Government, and therefore our hands are tied in many cases.
Josephine, Saudi Arabia

I am British. I went to the BBC children's proms with my son last year because we are music lovers. I had always thought Land of Hope and Glory was patriotic, but inoffensive. I love Elgar, but why is his worst composition his best known? This time I realized that it was out of keeping with the concept of music as a universal art, to be enjoyed by all. In fact, I was accompanied by some very understanding and open-minded foreigners, but I found the song rather embarrassing, times have changed and I don't think at this level, we should be singing about our own country's might (and getting mightier) when we are trying to build a civilisation.
Wendy Bird, Spain


The NUT leadership should go back immediately to the classroom from whence they came!

Patrick, England, UK
I am a Music teacher and an NUT member, and I hope that I know a fair amount about both Music and the teaching profession. Because Doug McAvoy has this point of view, it does not follow that hundreds of thousands of NUT members subscribe to it. Land of Hope and Glory is a glorious example of the English music tradition, which is second to none. Incidentally - Tim McCrea of England - I do not indoctrinate children with political nonsense and I am sure neither do the majority of my colleagues. Most teachers are too busy "implementing the national curriculum" or the latest DFEE directive to have time for such matters. Obviously the NUT leadership have too much time on their hands and should go back immediately to the classroom from whence they came!
Patrick, England, UK

Wow, I'm flabbergasted. It's a good song, an uplifting song showing pride in our country. Why do we have to feel guilty about that. I do wish that teachers would concentrate on their core task of teaching the curriculum and stop peddling their political opinions onto our children who have no choice but to listen. Unlike adults, they can't choose to walk out of a class or assembly if they don't agree with its message. That is not education, its indoctrination. Again, I've just been listening to a representative of the NUT. This nut suggested that some of their pupils are of the Muslim faith and may be offended. Does he think all Muslims are terrorist sympathisers? How insulting. As we keep hearing on a daily basis, this is not a war against Muslims but terrorists. Our armed forces are engaged in a fight for our freedoms. They are putting their lives on the line as I write and we won't even support them with a traditional song. Shame on us.
Tim McCrea, England


Don't you think that you might be offending me by your constant denigration of everything British?

Peter Goff, UK
Rule Britannia! Oops, have I offended someone? Tough! Don't you think that you might be offending me by your constant denigration of everything British? Ah, but perhaps I don't count. Shame on you.
Peter Goff, UK

Hmm, me thinks there are too many tabloid readers with an identity crisis of their own posting to this discussion. There's nothing smart about patriotism, it just means you blindly support your country no matter how much you disagree (or agree with it). I'm very glad the words have been changed.
Jim Kent, UK

Just when I think the Guardian reading, guilt ridden & self-loathing left wing & liberal apologists in this country have reached their nadir then I'm shocked by another piece of misguided idiocy becoming public knowledge. When are we going stand up to them? They've also taken over our legal profession, local government, police & social services, what's next?

However, reading through the comments on this page is encouraging as the majority of contributors here can see through this latest bit of stupidity for what it is. There's hope for us all. Orson Wells once said patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. Whilst I had great admiration for the late filmmaker I couldn't disagree more with that comment. There's nothing wrong with a bit of patriotic pride and in times of national trauma & tragedy it's something that unites us & serves as a source of comfort.
David Bishop, England


Why remove them from schools when we continue to impose religious doctrine in assemblies?

Ross Johnson, UK
There seems to have been a trend in recent years to remove 'patriotic' or 'jingoistic' hymns and anthems from public events and school assemblies. Why remove them from schools when we continue to impose religious doctrine in assemblies? Better to promote something tangible and real like the nation than something as hazy and irrelevant as religion. As an atheist, I would find it as difficult to sing Land Of Hope And Glory as a national anthem than a previous contributor would to sing the present hymn, albeit religious also.
Ross Johnson, UK

When are we going to start taking pride in our country, which has defended democratic principals for over 200 years? The NUT have taken Political correctness to the point that it is an insult to our servicemen and women, and in a previous generation would have be called un-patriotic. Their view obviously of free speech is where people can only speak in bland terms in case it cases offence, which is not freedom of speech at all! I am sorry that at a time of national emergency, where we are under terrorist threat, this represents an act of virtual treason and they should be heartily ashamed of themselves!
Steve Crick, UK

Which part of the song offends the NUT most? Is it the bit about hope? Or is glory not appropriate? Clearly, neither has any place in the NUT's agenda. Despair seems perfectly acceptable, of course, but then that can always be blamed on whichever government is standing in as the pantomime baddy of the day.
Nick Booth, UK

I note sadly that even the phrase "mother of the free" was deemed offensive by your NUT thought police. I suppose they don't teach history anymore for fear of offending someone? If they did they would realize the undeniable accuracy of that statement.
Ame Willis, Alaska, USA

To our friends in the UK, sing it LOUD, in its original form! For those of you who are opposed, I suggest growing a spine.
Thom, USA


The blatant jingoism of these words makes me cringe

Kay Roetman, The Netherlands
Yes. I am British born; military family, yet the blatant jingoism of these words makes me cringe.
Kay Roetman, The Netherlands

I can't really believe that anyone can be as offended by the old words as I am by the new ones. It conjures up the image of a group of happy clappy anoraks in their 'Man at C & A' crimpolene trousers standing around a Hammond organ with a drum machine. Can you get any more offensive than that?
John Denham, UK

I seems to me that the old lyrics highlight the values of hope, glory, and freedom, and that those values should have no boundary. I think these words are more appropriate now than any other time in history. I am British and live in America. I am proud of the hope, glory, and freedom in both countries.
Allan, British in the USA


Britons are the sort of people who would willingly give voice to those songs, if only they were allowed to

Bill Kirk, USA
As a Brit living in the USA I have found it more and more distressing to see the country of my birth being watered down by the socialist doctrines now in control. It is so refreshing to live in a land where I can display my nation's flag (the Union Jack) without being accused of being racist, xenophobic or jingoistic. I was so proud to see the Star Spangled Banner played at Buckingham Palace after the tragic events of Sep 11th and so many of my friends over here were moved to tears by that fine gesture. It's time for the silent majority in Britain to put the Great back in the country's name. I moved to this country to be with my wife but I still love my homeland with a passion and I'm proud of our "national" songs. If I sang them over here I would be applauded for my patriotism not vilified for being jingoistic. Contrary to the remarks of the NUT spokesperson, Britons are the sort of people who would willingly give voice to those songs, if only they were allowed to.
Bill Kirk, USA

As a Canadian, living in the USA, I still think Britannia rules the waves. Come on Brits, Lighten up and Praise your great country. God Bless England, Land of Hope and Glory!
Beverley, USA

I am a teacher, I'm English and have lived in the United States for two years. I am absolutely outraged that the NUT have taken it upon themselves to change the words of Land of Hope And Glory! It's about time there was patriotism instead of political correctness. People here frequently fly their flags and my seven-year-old daughter pledges allegiance to the flag and sings a patriotic song every day at the start of school, as well as at the beginning of each Brownie meeting. Imagine doing that in good old multicultural England! Living here has opened my eyes to how frowned upon patriotism is at home and has actually made me more proud of my country. The Americans can certainly teach us English a thing or two and this country is a big melting pot of many different races and religions. Lastly, a plea to all those of you who are blaming teachers in general for this idiocy. Please don't tar us all with the same brush: we are not all left wing, politically correct puppets. There will, I'm sure, be many teachers who will be opposed to this move and as angry as I am about it.
Kay, USA (English)


They have seen us through times of all too real hardship and we have emerged the better for them

Roy Garriock, Rutland, UK
How many more times will Great Britain be drawn into snivelling politicking? Yet again one of our most well known tunes is attacked for being "jingoistic" rather representative of our national identity. All such tunes are by their very nature celebratory of real or imagined glory and non the worse for that if they foster, albeit momentarily, a sense of unity and pride. In this country, they have seen us through times of all too real hardship and we have emerged the better for them. Times all too easily forgotten, criticised, denigrated and displaced in a privileged and self-indulgent age by triviality and media ephemera.

America, a supposed 'melting pot' of multiculturalism, seems unabashed in its nationalism, and can be seen and heard singing its heart out at the drop of a photo opportunity, expectant and confident that all present will vigorously engage with like-minded zeal in strident self-affirmation. Meanwhile in the UK, we have relegated our comparatively innocuous tunes to the realms of unacceptability, or else, gerrymandered and "re-jingoed" into politically correct impotence.

It is hard to imagine our troops whistling a number snatched from the current top 10 charts even if they could recall a 'tune', whereas, there is a good chance that someone stopped at random in the street could give a rendition of Land of Hope and Glory and probably a few of lyrics to boot.
Roy Garriock, Rutland, UK

I think a song of this nature should be made the British national anthem. As a staunch anti-royalist I find it hard to sing the current anthem.
Graham Austin, England

Being part of a resounding choir is an exalting experience. It is achieved when almost everyone knows the tune and the words. One of the reasons for the decline in Church attendance is that clever choirmasters are forever changing the tunes and the words, so that the experience is completely lost.
David de Vere Webb, England


If you're going to rewrite something, at least get someone literate to do it.

Matthew Adams, UK
"Deeper and still deeper Shall our bounds be set"...

Do you think they really mean 'bounds' as in boundaries? As it is, this reads as a celebration of what divides us. Perhaps they meant 'bonds'? If you're going to rewrite something, at least get someone literate to do it.
Matthew Adams, UK

Why do people compare decisions made in the past against what is tolerable today? The Empire may not have been perfect but consider the Monty Python phrase, "What have the Romans done for us?" In the case of the British Empire that would be: education, sanitation, transport, organised agriculture, defence, etc.
Malcolm, Great Britain

What are we thinking of? What other country thinks of changing the words to its nationalist songs, and preventing people from waving the national flag? I think the Germans may have dropped a verse from their national anthem that was inappropriate following the Nazi era. Are we putting ourselves into the same category?
Tom Rockingham, UK


Of all the British patriotic songs, Land of Hope and Glory is one of the least jingoistic

Ian King, USA
As a Brit living in the USA this move amazes me. Of all the British patriotic songs, Land of Hope and Glory is one of the least jingoistic. I can understand not bellowing Rule Britannia at this time, but not to sing Land of Hope and Glory is ridiculous. I am not a nationalistic person at all, otherwise I wouldn't be living in another country, but we should be proud of our heritage and believe that Great Britain's net contribution to the world over the centuries has been unbelievably positive.
Ian King, USA

In my view, Land of Hope and Glory or Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, to give it its proper title, has always been jingoistic rubbish, especially as it is just a verse put onto someone else's tune. However, it is still seen by many as something that conveys national pride. I find it horrific that Doug McEvoy considers it inappropriate for Britons to show their pride in this way, when one has never seen the Americans prouder, considering it was they who were worst affected. If anything is inappropriate, it is the patronising attitude displayed by McEvoy and many others.
Nathan Hamer, Wales

I never thought I would be writing this note, or would ever need to do so. I am astounded to hear the report about changing the words of Land of Hope and Glory, and a possible ban, and that the NUT representatives think that we and our children should not be permitted to be patriotic, when our servicemen and women are defending our liberty in foreign lands.

What an appalling example of muddled thinking. Mr McEvoy should be ashamed of setting this example to our children. Does being British mean nothing to him? Does the NUT wish us to apologise for being British? Are we not allowed to sing out, if we wish, as the Americans are? Mr McEvoy seems to have mixed up his lack of understanding of religious belief with patriotism. Perhaps the NUT doesn't go to the church, the synagogue or the mosque as often as previous generations of teachers.

This display of mealy-mouthed ignorance and apologetic appeasement beggars belief. To think that this lack of leadership is put on public display at such a time and that this is the leader of NUT members, who has the responsibility for teaching rising generations of young Britons, is truly frightening. Surely this man does not truly represent the bulk of the profession of good teachers out there in the country, or does he? Mr McEvoy should remember that the terrorist atrocities in New York and Washington could so easily have been perpetrated here and similar events may still happen here in the near future. What price then his brand of courage and patriotism?
Henry, UK


Teach your children to sing those words with pride.

Allan, Washington, D.C., USA
It is clear that the United States is not the only nation that occasionally falls prey to runaway political correctness and hypersensitivity. No good can come from squelching honest and well-deserved pride in one's country.

As an American, I feel that the people of the United Kingdom should take pride in their culture, their arts, their strength, and above all their willingness to stand up for what's right. I, for one, would like to see the 'bounds' of your honor and integrity be set 'wider and wider still.' You truly are the land of Hope and Glory. Teach your children to sing those words with pride.
Allan, Washington, D.C., USA

While I agree with the majority here that the song is great the way it is, I have to ask why did they choose to use this song, and then change the lyrics? Either you approve of it and keep it the same, or don't sing it at all. The changes make no sense - all they do is bring more attention to the original words and make a lot of people upset at yet another ludicrous intrusion of political correctness.
Reg Pither, England

This latest stunt is typical of the NUT. Throughout the 1980s my education was disrupted time and time again by their strikes and industrial action. It is largely due to them that teachers' status and credibility have fallen to such low levels today.
Robert collins, UK

Does it matter? I don't need the lyrics of a song or a pattern on a piece of cloth to remind me that I like my country. Childish arguments like "they don't do that for us" and petty obsessions with political correctness just make me like it a little less.
Gareth, UK


I would love it if there was maybe a rap halfway through or a sitar solo.

Mark, London, UK
If we are changing the lyrics, why not go as far as to change the music as well? I would love it if there was maybe a rap halfway through or a sitar solo. This would make the music more appealing to people of all ages and from a wider ethnic background.
Mark, London, UK

What the PC writers seem to have missed in their tepid new version is that the wish to "bring us closer together" in the world is being made possible for us today, in no small part by the achievements of Great Britain's Empire past. Oops...did I say a bad thing?
Shelagh, USA

Re: Gordon, UK - "Most of the comments on both sides are from men". Let's not make this even more politically correct by introducing male bashing as well!

As to the change of lyrics, pointless, self-defeating and the new ones are awful! They sound like they were written for a boy band. This country may not be perfect, but it's a damn good place to live and its people have made a huge contribution to the world, that's something that should be celebrated. Surely 'Land of Hope and Glory' is more appropriate than 'God Save the Queen' which venerates a single person and insults the Scots or 'Jerusalem' which is pretty religion specific or is any patriotism now PC no-no?
Peter Denyer, UK

Interesting that so many adverse comments on this change have come from men. I agree with Vicki, that our bounds need not be wider and wider - and that at the moment there isn't much glory, just pain for the families of those who died in the World Trade Centre and Afghan civilians. Perhaps the audience at the schools prom should have been offered a vote on the choice of words? That way the issues would have been raised, but the apparent censorship would have been avoided.
Gordon, UK


They have managed to offend everyone in an effort to ensure that nobody is offended

Mark, United Kingdom
By changing the words they have told the previously un-offended minority that they should be offended while at the same time offending the majority. Congratulations to the NUT, they have managed to offend everyone in an effort to ensure that nobody is offended.
Mark, United Kingdom

We're the little liberals,
We have a frightened song,
What pathetic squeaking,
So sad, so scared, so wrong,
Deeper still and deeper,
Shall the hole be made,
To bury little liberals,
So timid and afraid.
Essada, UK

Surely the first line 'Land Of Hope and Glory' isn't offensive and should have been kept?
Alex Hutton, UK

We do live in a strange country. A US citizen with his flag hanging from the window is assumed to be a patriot. An Englishman with the cross of St George hanging from his window would be assumed to be a racist bigot. And now this! Where did we go wrong?
Andrew Carter, UK


Perhaps they will drop the "Great" from "Great Britain"

Seth Black, UK
What next? Perhaps they will drop the "Great" from "Great Britain" because it will offend some. These are times of great peril and not the time to go messing with a countries history or identity.
Seth Black, UK

I think that it was appropriate for the "Last Night of the Proms" to replace "Land of Hope and Glory" with the "Ode to Joy" last month, soon after the 11 September tragedy. It would have been responsible for the Schools Prom to follow this example, if they felt that there was something wrong with the words (I cannot see it myself). Rewriting them is just silly. It's the same kind of patronising attitude that led the Victorians to cover up bits of statues that offended them. I'd advise those attending to ignore this nonsense and just sing the proper words.
David Harris, UK

The big problem is that these new words just aren't any good. The line "Sung by Everyone" is a waste, a repeat of the sentiment of line two. Whoever wrote it has just shoe-horned words to fit the tune. Good hymns work as poems too. There's another issue - it seems any mention of God is removed.
Bibby Binky, UK

...and teachers wonder why we have such a low opinion of them.
Geoffrey Sturdy, UK

Yet another case of idiocy from the left-wing middle class apologists. The song is about freedom not war. It is about time we honoured our history instead of apologising and got on with moving forward.
Robert J. Lankshear, UK


What utter cobblers!

Brian Naylor, England
Sure, and while we're about it let's also ban the singing of 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic', 'Stars and Stripes for Ever', and anything else deemd too patriotic. What utter cobblers! It's coming to something when we can't even be proud of our country, and teachers should be ashamed of the lesson they are standing for.
Brian Naylor, England

I have some New Words for the National Anthem;
"God Save our Goodness Gracious NUT.
Long live our PC NUT.
Won't someone add the S?
Send it victorious
Happy and spurious
Long to dump over us
Go and do some work."
Terry Amis, UK


Write a totally new one then it can be as gutless and bland as you like

John, France
Perhaps 'another one bites the dust' sums it. Another win for the PC brigade who want to destroy the pride of the British people. The song was written in a different era. If it is felt inapplicable don't use it. Write a totally new one then it can be as gutless and bland as you like
John, France

Change the teachers, not the words.
Liz, UK

Vicki of England is happy to sing 'Jerusalem'. I would have thought that a Western plot to steal the future Palestinian capital and rebuild it amongst 'dark satanic mills' (somewhere in the Midlands) would be inappropriate and even more offensive. Or maybe I'm taking the words much too seriously?

Mahindra - the Germans haven't used the first verse of their national anthem since 1945. The "Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles" bit is deemed over the top. They always start with the second verse.
Simon, England

I think it's too triumphalist under any circumstances, not just the present ones. I am proud to be English. I'm very happy to sing "Jerusalem" and I'm very happy to sing "God Save The Queen". But I never sing "Land of Hope and Glory", because the British Empire is dead and gone and this is an imperialist song. I'm glad someone has written new words to it, I don't want Britain's bounds to be set wider and wider, but I do want the world to come closer and closer. We don't have to lose our identity in the process. It's better than being annihilated in a nuclear war.
Vicki, England

Our children should be patriotic to the end. After all nobody has condemned Germany for their national Anthem, the first four words of which translate into "Germany Germany over all!" Let's get on with great sense of national pride in our country!
Mahindra Balasubramanian, England


This means you can sing this great melody without it causing you a moral dilemma

Tim Carding-Allen, UK
Elgar himself truly didn't like the original words, and he was pretty imperialist himself. I have to say, if you read the new lyrics without any preconceptions about political correctness or tradition, they are aesthetically far more pleasing than the original. As for whether it is right to change a work of art - all that is being done here is a replacement of lyrics that the composer himself did not write. How many different musical settings of famous poems are there - are these 'changing the work of art'? Nobody is preventing anyone singing the original words if they feel so inclined - they are just presenting another option that means you can sing this great melody without it causing you a moral dilemma.
Tim Carding-Allen, UK

How can anyone teach our children to become a good citizen, when they are so ashamed of this land; a land where the modern representative democracy, freedom and rule of law was born. How can those so-called educators teach our children what is right or wrong when they fear to offend the tyrants in this world? They are a disgrace of the democratic world and this act had insult all our forbearer and serviceman who gave their lives in the last war and all conflicts following to defend this land and her believes. It is time to stop apologising for bringing the rule of law, liberty and democracy to the rest of the world.
Wilson Ma, UK

More politically correct nonsense from the unions. You'd laugh if it wasn't so pathetic. If they spent half as much time looking after their members interests as they do dreaming up all this garbage Britain might be a far better place to work.
Phil, UK


Over here we can't have Halloween parties at school; it's considered Satanic

Charles James, USA
Well, I see that we Americans are not the only ones afflicted with the "Oh, so sensitive" crowd. These are the same types that will grind your entire culture down to useless, soul-less Pablum in the name of inclusion at any price. Over here we can't have Halloween parties at school; it's considered Satanic. No Christmas or Easter breaks. That's Religion! They're now Winter & Spring. I'm surprised they still let the kids observe Thanksgiving Day.

The leadership at NUT (I love that name) should try to remember that attempting to placate at every turn earns one nothing but contempt and invites further aggressive behavior. Humans admire the strong and will take advantage of the weak. You may not like it but it's human nature and unwise to ignore. Remember also that any good idea becomes dangerous if pushed too far. Try not to over-cogitate at every turn.
Charles James, USA

Thank goodness the comments of the esteemed readership of the BBC website show that these Guardian-reading teachers with their (now even trumpeted by the Tories!) intolerance of intolerance are firmly in the minority. I find it offensive, however, that they are allowed to inflict their out of touch shoulder-chips on the youth of today. Talk of re-education!
David Henderson, UK


The people who wish to sing this song are as irrelevant as the ideals it is based on.

Misbah, UK
Absolutely, you should be able sing the song because Britannia rules the waves and a quarter of the world is under her imperialist control. Reality check - Britain's influence economically, politically and geographically is negligible. The 'British Empire' now consists of a few specs on the map. Politically, Britain blindly follows what the US says and economically it is a spent force. The people who wish to sing this song are as irrelevant as the ideals it is based on.
Misbah, UK

I'm sick and tired of being English, the ONLY race on the planet NOT ALLOWED to be patriotic or proud of our heritage. Political correctness has gone too far and needs to be stopped.
Laurie Knight, UK

It is a disgrace that such ignorant and intolerant attitudes are fed to our children. Shall we stop the teaching of British history as well as the singing of British songs? It is national identity and pride that binds people together, and such feeling does not immediately translate into hostility towards others. Only in the UK is this sort of nonsense allowed to happen. Why? Because the government is too scared of minority pressure groups to do anything about it. Tonight I'll be telling my family about the Battle of Waterloo!
Giles, England


Making British people feel insecure and defensive about their own culture can only increase tensions here.

Michael Entill, UK
The constant undermining of British culture and history in the interests of political correctness is utterly self-defeating. Making British people feel insecure and defensive about their own culture can only increase tensions here. We desperately need to re-establish what it means to be British. That does not mean stupid bigotries but rather a quiet confidence in what is good about being British - a concept that embraces, but is not confined to, modern multicultural society. Land of Hope and Glory is a powerful traditional anthem. We need it today as much as ever.
Michael Entill, UK

The teachers should be ashamed of themselves. They should be teaching the children to be proud of their country and it's traditions. Also not to allow terrorist murderers to force them not to display that pride. The Americans certainly haven't. One can only fear for the future with people like this and their attitudes teaching our children.
Geoff Harding, UK


I think that hope and glory are rather nice things to wish for

Nathan, UK
I think that hope and glory are rather nice things to wish for and would be welcome in every country including the UK. Let the singers make up their own minds about what the lyrics mean, that after all, is what art (and music) is all about, personal interpretation and personal meaning. The new words are too obvious, too pat and too PC. Actions not words count.
Nathan, UK

'N.U.T.' - a very appropriate name. If they had their way we would all live in a land of 'cotton wool' and call each other 'comrade'.
Ivor, Thailand

I don't really get it at all. The Scots sing about sending the English home and God Save the Queen talks about crushing the Scots. As rightly stated by others, the Americans have songs about America, and why shouldn't we? They certainly never stopped singing it during the world wars, and if they had, would the British have made it through them?
Paula, UK

Times have changed. This bombastic nonsense is no longer appropriate. The British Empire is no more, and to suggest setting its bounds wider is nonsense. And incidentally, since the German national anthem has been mentioned in this column, let me point out that the verse beginning with "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" has been removed from it. So the British are not alone in adapting their patriotic songs to the exigencies of the age.
Peter, Netherlands


In these times of uncertainty we should be able to embrace "being British" and what it stands for in terms of freedom and democracy without guilt or criticism as other nations do

James, UK
Having attended Proms in the Park I was initially disappointed by the omission of Land of Hope and Glory but afterwards felt that it was appropriate to reflect the sombre mood of the occasion just a few days after the attacks on the US. However, using recent events to justify rewriting the words is symptomatic of the opportunism of the politically correct left-wing which increasingly dictates its own view of the world on us. In these times of uncertainty we should be able to embrace "being British" and what it stands for in terms of freedom and democracy without guilt or criticism as other nations do.
James, UK

Oh dear, more of the daft hand-wringing, self-loathing, bleeding heart tendencies of the liberal elite. Afraid to offend in the wishy-washy climate of shuffling, unctuous, inclusiveness. Give us a break.
Barry, Canada

So it's going to be a crime to be British next? The political correctness and nannying to all rears its ugly head once more. The song is not about war aggression, nor border expansion, but is derived from a quote by Othello which is celebrating a return to freedom and all of its benefits. Of course, since it not PC to study Shakespeare any longer, few will realise this. Changing the words is just another way of eroding a British identity.
Chris Street, UK

Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No 1: grand tune! Land of Hope and Glory: very silly words and fourth rate poetry. Mind you the new Schools Proms text is even naffer. Elgar didn't really like the usual words himself. Yes, as a Promenader for over 30 years I think they are inappropriate.
Chris Newman, UK


Maybe a little less PC and more common sense!

Robert Collett, England
Is this political correctness gone mad. What a sorry state education is in if the NUT concentrates all its attention on a song that stirs emotion and some might argue makes us "feel good" rather than sorting out the appalling mess education seems to be in, maybe a little less PC and more common sense!
Robert Collett, England

Ah! Now I understand. All these years "Land of Hope and Glory" was really just a work in progress. Well, thank God the National Union of Teachers has finally finished it! Now perhaps they will tackle other great-unfinished works - Blake's "Jerusalem", perhaps, or "Rule Britannia".
Hugh, England

Yes, it is jingoistic and rightly so. We are at war with people completely opposed to our way of life. They use any psychological mechanism at their disposal to unify others under a banner of terror. We have to ensure that we use any means at our disposal to unify ourselves in the face of this aggression.
James, London

Get a life! It's a harmless ditty! Who even knows the words?
Helen, England

Mahindra Balasubramanian, to be exact, the first sentence of the German national anthem USED TO BE "Deutschland, Deutschland, über alles in der Welt". This stanza was banned after WWII and now the official anthem begins with "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" (Unity, justice and freedom). Anyway, the Russian national anthem has been changed twice, so I do not see anything wrong with changing the lyrics. Coming from a former British colony and have to say that the lyrics of "Rule Britainnia" and "Land of Hope and Glory" do not appeal to me. Britain no longer has an empire, and it does not help to cling on to a vision of the glorified past with tinted spectacles. Far more positive is to work to build a better future for ourselves.
Andy Yu, UK


Americans have freedom, we have political correctness

Anthony, UK
This song is about our tradition and our sense of national pride. I believe we should teach our children this and if people from other faiths and beliefs cannot accept our traditions then they should not be here. I feel the Americans are the most patriotic nation around and I envy this. When would you here the British singing the national anthem in the streets? Sometimes I wish I was American, they have freedom. We have political correctness!
Anthony, UK

This is typical of the unpatriotic left wing petty posturing that we have come to expect from the National Union of Teachers. What gives them the right to censor and impose their views on the children they are supposed to be educating?
Chris Townsend, England

This is typical of the trendy, politically correct thinking that has robbed this country of it heritage, traditions and pride. When are we going to stand up to these people? Time and time again we are told we might upset someone. Sing it and sing it again along with our national anthem. I don't recollect the people of the US rewriting the words of "God bless America".
David, UK


Just when you think political correctness couldn't get more absurd, this happens

Kevin Flatman, UK
Just when you think political correctness couldn't get more absurd, this happens. Perhaps if we had more self-pride, like everyone else does, we would have the confidence and capability to build stadiums and railways. Why is it that the British are so terrified of raising their flag? In the USA it is flown everywhere and in every office and classroom. Look at France, Austria and Italy where nationalist parties enjoy real political power. Then look at us, scared to even sing a song. It is pathetic. Do these people really have the time to worry about such things? Must they justify their jobs and extend their remits in this way? This country is fast becoming anything but British and the resentment of this is underlying, widespread and already there. I've never heard that kind of soppy, liberal, self-righteous, condescending, pious tripe in all my life.
Kevin Flatman, UK

In a time where all such conferences are being drowned out of public attention by events, there's no better a way to foster publicity than by attacking something perceived as dear to us British, and doing it in such a tooth-grindingly, politically correct manner is bound to stir the media. Pathetic thinking and predictable reactions all round.
Andrew Cover, UK

I'm getting a little bit tired of this "emotional correctness".
Eddie Talbot, UK


These words are a product of their time and tell us something about how people felt then

P, UK
Maybe we would not write such words now, but clearly they were considered suitable when written, and as such are a product of their time and tell us something about how people felt then. Rewriting them is an attempt to rewrite history in the name of political correctness. We should preserve our heritage without trying to edit it; if someone else writes a new song that more accurately reflects the mood of our times then by all means let us use it, but let us be clear that it is a new song and not a New Labour politically correct rewrite of an old one.
P, UK

How pathetic it is to attempt to change these lyrics! Your military is in harm's way, and there are people afraid to celebrate their patriotism? Here in NYC, not only do we see American flags flying- but just yesterday, I saw a home flying a British Union flag. So sure the words are a bit jingoistic - they were written a 100 years ago. The UK has shown itself to be America's truest friend - celebrate that.
Chet Cutick, New York City, USA

I am appalled by this sickening act of political correctness. There is not enough patriotism in this country and there is certainly nothing jingoistic about this great song. Nowadays, if you wave the flag you're more likely to be branded a BNP party member than someone who believes in his country. Perhaps, instead of meddling with traditional songs, the NUT should concentrate on getting a grip on reality. They clearly don't seem to be on the same planet as the rest of the population.
Andrew, UK

To feel pride for our nations achievements in the past, and to display strong patriotic feelings doesn't make a person a racist. To wave our flag is not a bad thing to do under any circumstances, and it doesn't make a person intolerant of other cultures. To sing the original lyrics in a climate where British service men and women are putting their lives on the line is not triumphalist, it shows unity and support for them. Unity is a word the NUT has not been too familiar with in the last few years.
Eddie, Great Britain


This song is a relic of the Empire and should be consigned to the dustbin of history

Gwion Williams
The words are offensive in that they are imperialist and triumphalist, and remind us all of what has been regrettable about the British mindset over the centuries. We live in a multicultural society in the 21st century. This song is a relic of the Empire and should be consigned to the dustbin of history along with the Last Night of the Proms and other such jingoistic claptrap.
Gwion Williams,

I think the NUT should probably look to other ways in which they can help the youth of today learn about peace amongst nations without acting in such an unnecessary politically correct manner - are we trying to teach that spin is the right way?
Stephen Cooke, UK

I am outraged that they believe the words to be offensive. Where is their loyalty? It's appalling that a country cannot sing its own praises - where has our sense of spirit and unity gone? American sings its songs to unite its people - we have the right to do that too - it is not up to the NUT or a teacher to decide the fate of this country's sovereignty.
David, UK

The song is more appropriate now than it ever was. As a matter of fact, it was not appropriate when Mrs. Thatcher rode roughshod over poll tax protesters and the trade unions. Today we can be proud to be able to enjoy civil liberties which were denied us in the past, and are still denied others in many parts of the world.
Roger Ball, Wales

The new lyrics sound like they were written by a Labour spin doctor.
Ian Cox, Coventry, England

Of course it is not too jingoistic! We as a nation should be proud that we are bombing the world's poorest country forward to the stone age.
Olly Clifford, UK

Why are we so afraid of offending other cultures? They make no such allowances for us. We should follow the US example and sing all our patriotic songs from the roof tops. Ignore these politically correct luvvies who use society provided by heroes they despise to hate us from within. You don't find the Muslims changing their traditions just because someone might find them offensive.
Gerry Anstey, England

This is so sad. Should the Americans stop singing 'The Star Spangled Banner'? The worst part is that such a left-wing, politically correct organisation as the NUT is teaching our children.
Simon, UK

Pop music is far more aggressive and offensive than this harmless ditty. It appears that the politically correct tolerate offensive behaviour in contemporary music and actions, but anything old that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up with pride is a politically correct "no-no". I'm looking forward to the backlash against the politically correct.
Martin, UK


It is the singers who are either jingoistic or not.

Mark, UK
Land of hope and Glory is just a song. It is the singers who are either jingoistic or not. Changing the words of the song will not change their disposition and therefore is a worthless and frankly small-minded gesture.
Mark, UK

Rubbish. Another example of Political Correctness gone wrong. It makes me sick to live amongst such PC people. I cannot wait for the backlash against such idiotic people.
Matthew, England

In the modern world there is little place for this type of jingoistic rubbish. Far ahead of his time, Samuel Johnson said in 1775 that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel".
Martin Hart, UK

Isn't there a contradiction in trying to make songs less imperialist while waging war on Afghanistan? I bet most of the world would rather we kept singing but stopped bombing.
Ben Drake, York, UK

It's a great song, even the Americans use it. It does not mention empire. Patriostism is different from Jingoism. Keep the lovely old version.
Chris Tolmie, UK

The new words are even worse than the old. Elgar himself hated the words (he walked out of the performance) and they are quite awful. But to stop people singing them? If they want to sing them why stop them, isn't it a free country?
Pete B, UK


We're teaching our children to be ashamed of our culture.

James, UK
All cultures have the right to express their traditions and celebrate the past. We're teaching our children to be ashamed of our culture. Land of Hope and Glory is one of the few uplifting British tunes, much better in my opinion than God Save the Queen. Perhaps we should change Rule Britannia to "Britannia used to rule but now we're rubbish, sorry for offending anyone"
James, UK

I cannot believe this! You can not change another artists work no matter what you feel it portrays. How can these teachers educate the children on the value of art, tradition and english culture if they keep changing everything?
Carole K, UK

I wager no one would have been bothered by the lyrics if they simply kept them the same. But now it's a fine example of Political Correctness censorship - drawing far more attention to the anthem than ever would have happened before.
Stephen, USA

Perhaps the best way to deal with this kind of rubish is to ensure that everyone with the oportunity sings the "real" words in an attempt to drown out the politicaly correct minority!
Des, UK

Surely no one realistically thinks that when we sing the lyrics we are saying 'let's go out and enslave the world'. What possible objection there could be to the phrase 'mother of the free', or for that matter 'land of hope and glory'- Britain invented modern democracy, and being a nation full of hope and a desire for glorious achievement is a great aim.

The idea that singing is an act that can unite everyone is foolish- the way to bring people together is to help them understand one another, not bombard them with platitudes.
Michael Dnes, UK


Is it just me? Or do the new lyrics sound kind of sexually charged?

Dean Welsh, Canada
Is it just me? Or do the new lyrics sound kind of sexually charged? Imagine Barry White singing "Deeper and still Deeper" and "Unite us as one!"
Dean Welsh, Canada

See also:

12 Oct 01 | Education
Prom anthem 'too jingoistic'


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