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British PM Backs 'Jerusalem' as English National Anthem

England launched a campaign to adopt a separate anthem for its team during 2014 World Cup; David Cameron backs 'Jerusalem.'
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 7/16/2012, 8:50 AM

British Prime Minister David Cameron
British Prime Minister David Cameron
Israel news photo: Flash 90

England has launched a campaign calling to adopt a separate anthem for its soccer team during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying his personal choice would be the church hymn ‘Jerusalem,’ written by William Blake in 1916.

While the UK does not have an official stance on the issue, many believe that sporting authorities should be able to decide what is played before international games, The Telegraph reported.

Currently, most England teams line up to G-d Save the Queen, as the country’s football players did before matches in last month’s European Championships in the Ukraine. Teams representing Scotland and Wales, however, sing national verses such as Flower of Scotland or Land of My Fathers.

According to the report, other nominations have included Land of Hope and Glory, with music by Sir Edward Elgar and words by A.C. Benson, which was written in 1902, and the Negro spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot, which is popular with rugby fans.

“I’m delighted that the Prime Minister wants Jerusalem as an English anthem, ending the anomaly of England and the UK using the same hymn,” said Conservative Euro-MP Daniel Hannan.

Scottish National Party MP said that while he believes that England should have its own sports anthem, “it should emerge from the people rather than the Prime Minister,” adding that it “will be difficult to find a song that attracts general approval.”

“Why not have a competition putting the old anthems up against new songs, even put it to a public vote through a show like X-Factor and give everyone in England the opportunity to select their favorite choice?” he suggested.