Interesting to read Richard Sumner’s account of the origins of the national anthem (Letters, October 2).
But why, Richard, no mention of Shelley’s New National Anthem written in the wake of the Peterloo massacre of August 16, 1819? Readers wishing to know more about that and other matters should read Perish the Privileged Orders by Mark O’Brien (New Clarion Press, 2009).
They key passage in Richard’s letter, though, is this: “When you take an official position it brings with [it] concomitant public duties.”
I can think of many such duties, the most important of which is the duty of care noticeably absent over the last five years.
But singing the national anthem is not one of them.
And if fitness for public office is going to be reduced to mouthing trite lyrics set to bland music – or the willingness to start nuclear Armageddon – then the barbarians aren’t just at the gates, they are already inside.
It’s time for this and other overheated debates to cease so that we can get on with saner and more relevant matters.
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