I ENJOYED Pat Kane’s exploration of the subject of national anthems in Saturday’s National, and the question of a suitable national anthem for a new independent Scotland has been extensively covered in the past, which has encouraged myself and I’m sure many other readers to give the matter some thought (Sound of dumb Tory calls to play anthem remind us of our oppression, Jan 8).

Like many people, I’m not all that keen on Flower of Scotland, though I suspect that this will end up being our national anthem by default, mainly because it’s easy to learn, to sing and to remember. In practice these seem to be essential qualities for a suitable anthem, and although both the songs mentioned by Pat Kane, Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come A’ Ye and Dougie Maclean’s Caledonia are wonderful songs which tick a lot of boxes, they are both a bit tricky (especially Freedom Come A’ Ye).

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I would like, therefore to propose another alternative, which might at first glance seem to be a less obvious choice. The song The Wild Mountain Thyme has its roots in both Scottish folk music and slightly more contemporary Irish music, but it feels to me to be quintessentially Scottish. It has a beautiful melody and like Flower of Scotland it is familiar, easy to sing, easy to learn and play and not too wordy. Although it’s a love song and might initially seem a bit douce to be an anthem, it has a great chorus, and with that glorious, rousing crescendo of “we’ll all go together” and I can just about imagine it being roared out on the football terraces.

What I like most about it though, is it’s inclusiveness and lack of belligerence. It speaks to something which seems to unite most of the inhabitants of Scotland whether native or incomer; our love of the outdoors and of nature. We are rightly proud of our mountains and lochs, our hills and forests, our rivers and beaches, our coastal paths, golf courses, parks, paths and walkways. Residents and visitors alike almost all love to get out and about in order to enjoy our beautiful land. And we go in the company of our friends and family; we “all go together”. It may lack the assertiveness that Pat Kane mentions, but the more I listen to it, the more it seems to be a love song to the land as well as a celebration of community, love and belonging.

Maggie Milne

I MUCH enjoyed Pat Kane’s column on Saturday and in particular his mention of the Freedom Come A’ Ye as potentially a national anthem for a Scotland that recognises a debt it owes to parts of this world. I am always disappointed, however, that PM Jock MacLellan of Dunoon, who actually composed the melody, never gets his credit for this. I suspect what we need, however, is a national anthem to which our younger generation – the Yes generation – can march.

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It certainly will not contain any uplifting effect, however, if it parades any form of the ridiculous and quite frankly pathetic concept of a devo-max future. Only those who don’t understand how politics work – or a certain section who continually overthink things – can have anything to do with this nonsense. “Devo-max” will be offered as we proceed to stop some not fully convinced voters from voting Yes. That is all. Can we please stop even talking about it? Except to point out to the less confident that it is a trap that at this point we can’t afford to fall into.

David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

AN insecure Tory minister, Chris Philp, wants to hear the [British] national anthem more often.

Maybe Mr Philp is unaware of the fact – or maybe he just doesn’t care – that the British national anthem is an invocation against the Scots.

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The final verse of six verses reads as follows:

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring
May he sedition hush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God Save the King!

Imagine if the British national anthem was directed against the English. Would Mr Philp be as keen to hear it?

Sandy Gordon

AS far as I can make out, the national anthem of England was adopted in September 1745. Handel used it in his “Occasional Oratorio” which dealt with the tribulations of the ‘45 Jacobite Rebellion (I think he meant Rising).

It was performed in Drury Lane theatre in London, where it was sung with great gusto and contained the offensive verse entreating God to help Marshal Wade crush the rebellious Scots.

Stirring stuff indeed but not the sort of thing we modern Scots should be expected to sing. Radio 4 plays the tune every night before the switch to international news.

May I offer some soothing advice to those who are irritated by this? Sing along but use the words the United States of America have for this tune, ie My Country ‘Tis of Thee.

P Mackay