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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 13:45 GMT
National anthem lyric questioned
Lord Goldsmith

Some of the lyric to the UK national anthem God Save the Queen may change to make them less offensive in Scotland, a government adviser says.

The sixth verse of the song urges God to help 17th Century commander Marshal Wade "crush" the "rebellious Scots".

Ex-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, who is advising Gordon Brown on citizenship, said a "number of people" had raised concerns over the lyric.

People had to look at "different ways of saying" what links the UK, he added.


The little-known and even less-sung sixth verse of God Save the Queen implores God to come to the aid of Marshal George Wade, who was sent to quell rebellious Scottish highlanders in the wake of the Jacobite rising of 1715.

It says: "May he sedition hush, And like a torrent rush, Rebellious Scots to crush."

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!

God Save the Queen
Verse six

Lord Goldsmith, who stepped down as attorney general when Tony Blair left Downing Street in June, is conducting a review on the future of Britishness and citizenship.

He told BBC Two's The Daily Politics: "Quite a number of people have raised the issue of the national anthem in a number of ways.

"I think the national anthem is an important part of our national tradition."

He added: "But the review is about different ways of sharing our tradition and national identity...

"What we have to look at is different ways of saying what it is that links the country together."

Lord Goldsmith said he had not yet decided whether to recommend altering the sixth verse of the national anthem.

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