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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Anthem debate call hits flat note
Scotland rugby fans at the Six Nations game against England
Rugby fans sing Flower of Scotland to stir passions
MSPs have rejected calls for a debate on Scotland's national anthem.

First Minister Jack McConnell addressed the issue in March when he said it would have to be examined to strengthen Scotland's global brand.

SNP MSP Michael Mathieson told the Enterprise and Culture Committee on Tuesday someone needed to "focus" on the anthem issue.

But the committee ruled out a debate, with one member arguing there were "dozens" of better issues to discuss.

At the Commonwealth Games, Scots medal winners ascended the rostrum to Scotland the Brave, while Flower of Scotland is played at rugby and football games.

Mr McConnell has said his favourite Scottish tune was Highland Cathedral, but said that politicians should not lead the debate.

What we should try and do is get some focus on who should lead the national debate
Michael Mathieson
SNP MSP

Mr Matheson said a lot of people, including the first minister, wanted a national debate on the national anthem, but no-one seemed willing to take the next step.

"'I'm not suggesting that it should necessarily be this or even any other parliamentary committee," said the SNP's culture and sport spokesman.

"What we should try and do is get some focus on who should lead that national debate.

'Good tune'

"It could be a whole range of organisations and individuals but just now there is absolutely no focus on it."

But Labour MSP Susan Deacon insisted there were "several dozen issues" that Scots would probably prefer to have a national debate on.

Fellow Labour member Christine May added: "These things come about with better public support when they come from a genuinely-felt wish by people to sing a particular song."

Tartan Army
The Tories said Flower of Scotland was "jingoistic"

Scottish Tory deputy leader Murdo Fraser said Scotland's national anthem was God Save the Queen, but he acknowledged there was an issue about what was played at international sporting events.

"Flower of Scotland, I think, is inappropriate because I think some of the sentiments expressed in it are jingoistic and anti-English," he said.

"Scotland the Brave is inappropriate because, although it is a good tune, its words don't match the upbeat nature of the music.

"And Highland Cathedral is a good tune but doesn't have words at all."

Scottish Green co-convener Shona Baird insisted politicians should not feel "awkward" about discussing the issue.

A majority of committee members opposed to taking action and the proposal was dropped.

Committee Convener Alex Neil said MSPs might debate the issue in a future members debate, before suggesting - with tongue firmly in cheek - that one contender might be "Things Can Only Get Better."




SEE ALSO:
McConnell calls for anthem debate
23 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Action call over national anthem
21 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Anthem demand falls on deaf ears
24 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Scots anthem call rejected
29 Oct 03 |  Scotland


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