Alternative anthems to sing this One Britain One Nation day
Five patriotic(ish) bangers that have lyrics better than “Strong Britain, great na-a-tion”.
Haven’t you heard? Today is One Britain One Nation day, a campaign that will see school children up and down the country wave plastic Union Jack flags with glee as they “celebrate the values we share: tolerance, kindness, pride, respect and a tremendous desire to help others.” While that might sound like a sweet sentiment, the campaign is, of course, just another cog in the government’s patriotic (*cough* nationalistic) spin machine. If you’re in any doubt, then just listen to the song the Department of Education is urging schools to teach students for the occasion:
Eerie, right? Unsurprisingly, the lyrics of “Strong Britain, great nation” have already drawn comparisons to Hitler Youth on social media, while some parents have even threatened to take their children out of school in protest. A strong start to the campaign for Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, then.
We can think of so many songs that are much better suited to celebrating One Britain One Nation day here at THE FACE. So, naturally, we collated them all for you right here. Come on, Britain. Belt it!
Yes Sir, I Can Boogie by Baccara
“The default anthem of the Scottish fans in the Euros. A cheerful, party-bringing song of inclusion, but also an optimistically defiant riposte to defeat. I can’t think of a tune that, right now, speaks (better) to the godawful lyrics of that godawful song: “We are Britain and we have one dream, to unite all people in one great team.” Less politicking, more boogie-ing feels very Summer 2021.” Craig McLean, Consulting Editor
Who Do You Think You Are by Spice Girls
This Spice Girls’ Comic Relief bop is great at a party, but it also poses a pretty loaded question to a nation so insecure it invented a new national holiday to prove how great it is. Are we a “strong Britain” or are we divided by Brexit and culture wars? And who do the government think they are when they gaslight the nation over their Covid-19 failures? In any case, a screeching hall of school children trying to reach Mel C’s high notes will be much easier on the ears than the OBON official anthem. Olive Pometsey, Features Editor
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life by Monty Python
After a painful 2016 referendum and a dire year and a half of battling a pandemic this past year, this is the only song that comes to my mind (and that’s coming from a miserable bitch herself). We can stomp our feet and chant “Keep Calm And Carry On” ’til the cows come home, but there’s nothing more I’d love to see than a whole nation of kids coming together to sing Eric Idle’s banging lyrics: “Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it.” It’s time we taught them young. Jessica Morgan, Deputy Editor
A Certain Romance by Arctic Monkeys
At the risk of sounding both lame and cliché, I’m going to suggest one of my favourite songs by one of my all time favourite bands. It’s a quintessentially British anthem to me in so many ways. It’s nostalgic, slightly melancholy yet totally joyful, which I think can also be said of living in this country. Alex Turner’s Sheffield twang hits home when he sings about being stuck in a shithole town, but somehow making your own fun there. I think we can all relate to that – it speaks to a pretty universal, formative experience of growing up in the UK and acting like a dickhead with your mates in the process. Now that is a quality every national anthem should have. Jade Wickes, Staff Writer
Anarchy in the UK by Sex Pistols
Imagine the little punks singing “I am an anti-Christ /I am an anarchist” – adorable. Start them young, I reckon, and hope they turn out to be as great as the Sex Pistols, wanting to tear down the establishment and all that. TJ Sidhu, Junior Editor