God Save the Queen is the national anthem for the United Kingdom as a whole, but there are some Scots who don’t feel entirely comfortable singing it. The best-known unofficial anthem north of the border is Flower of Scotland, but, again, some feel it’s too nationalistic – verging on anti-English – to be an appropriate choice. Tory MSP Murdo Fraser even went as far as to call it “jingoistic” once.
The conundrum over a Scottish national anthem gained particular attention during the first Scottish independence referendum campaign, during which former First Minister Alex Salmond even suggested a competition could be held to find Scotland’s new official tune.
Mr Salmond had used lyrics from The Corries track, “Scotland Will Flourish”, in two speeches that year and told the Mail on Sunday he wanted it to become Scotland’s new anthem.
He said the track was the right one to take Scotland forward.
His spokesman said: “It is a wonderful song with fantastic lyrics that set out a positive and forward looking vision for the country’s future.
“The First Minister was delighted to give the song a new and wider audience by quoting from it in his election victory speech, and again in parliament on Wednesday when he was re-elected as First Minister.
“The song’s sentiments are fine and noble, and it would make a great national anthem for Scotland.
“Scotland is blessed with many contenders for an anthem, songs both old and new, and a national competition to choose would get all of Scotland talking – and singing!”
The Nationalist leader first used the lyrics as he addressed Scots the day after his election win on May 5, 2013.
Despite The Corries reaching their peak in a bygone era, Scotland’s former First Minister dusted down their staunchly patriotic words for his victory speech.
Mr Salmond injected the words of the 1985 song, saying: ‘We’ll govern fairly and wisely, with an eye to the future but a heart to forgive.”
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The lyrics from the track read: “Let the Scots be a nation proud of their heritage, with an eye to the future and a heart to forgive.”
Singer Ronnie Browne, one half of The Corries, said he was pleased that Mr Salmond had drawn attention to their song, but was unconvinced that it would become a popular choice as the country’s national song.
He said: “I suspect the SNP have chosen Scotland Will Flourish because it’s more appeasing and more international for the purposes of pursuing independence.
“But not many people know the words and I’m not sure how it would play out in rugby and football stadiums.”
The move sparked a row with supporters of the Union, who said that any bid to replace the official UK anthem would have been a snub to the monarchy.
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Tory David McLetchie, a member of the Scottish Parliament, said: “Alex Salmond’s delusions of grandeur know no bounds. The last time I checked, the official national anthem was still God Save The Queen.
“We have more things to worry about in Scotland than organising competitions to change the country’s anthem and instead of these sideshows we should be concentrating on important matters such as jobs and the economy.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is determined to hold a second referendum on independence this year, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson firmly resisting her calls.
She has not yet put forward plans to change the Scottish national anthem.
However, her party has set out an 11-point roadmap for taking forward another vote, which was presented to members of the SNP’s national assembly in January.
The SNP leader told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “I want to have a legal referendum, that’s what I’m going to seek the authority of the Scottish people for in May and if they give me that authority that’s what I intend to do: to have a legal referendum to give people the right to choose.
“That’s democracy. It’s not about what I want or what Boris Johnson wants.”
The SNP leader’s comments came as four-nation polling for the Sunday Times found that a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland want referendums on the breakup of Britain.