We should note that the UK indulges in the same kind of idiotic patriot games that the US does. The new leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has been criticized for simply standing but not singing along with the national anthem at an event.
My sympathies are totally with Corbyn. I abhor these symbolic acts of patriotism in general. Interestingly, Corbyn’s behavior would not be a major issue in the US. Here the singing of the national anthem is usually given over to some designated singer and many people, including politicians, simply stand, though many will place their hands on their hearts and gaze adoringly at the flag in order to show the public just how super-patriotic they are. This may be because the US national anthem is not as easy to sing as the British one.
All the national anthems that I know tend to have words that are pretty awful, consisting of either pandering self-praise of their own countries and people and/or promoting warmongering, and the British national anthem is positively ghastly, lacking any artistic value, consisting as it does of sappy wishes for the Queen. Just look at the words:
God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen!
How vapid can you get? I can well imagine that saying this rubbish would stick in the craw of Corbyn, a man who would like to abolish the monarchy altogether.
He was asked about this non-issue and he replied in the soft-spoken way that is his trademark.
I wouldn’t mind scrapping national anthems altogether but given that people seem to need and want them, here’s a compromise. Maybe we should scrap the words and have only music instead. The music is usually not that bad and when played by a brass band can be quite uplifting.
I remember some years ago Australia was debating replacing the British anthem with its own and a strong contender was the popular song Waltzing Matilda. It lost out to something called Advance Australia Fair because, as I recall, the words of the former told the story of a wanderer who is killed by the authorities for the unauthorized killing of a sheep, and this was felt to be inappropriate for a national anthem, while the words of the latter consist of the usual sappy self-praise. But the tune of Waltzing Matilda is great and would sound even better when played by a brass band.