There has been a lot of feverish comment in the press about Jeremy Corbyn’s choice of respectful silence during the playing of the National Anthem at the Battle of Britain memorial service. The obvious irony of the journalists’ position on this is that our courageous airmen fought so that we could have the personal freedom to decide what songs we sing. Surely it was the people they were fighting against who were less keen on such freedoms.
A large proportion of our society have republican views or do not follow a monotheistic religion and will struggle to find meaning in the current National Anthem but that does not mean they are not patriotic but simply that they do not find that the anthem articulates their sense of what patriotism means. They, and particularly those in high office, could just sing along to keep the press happy but wouldn’t that simply be hypocritical and aren’t people totally sick of hypocrisy in public life?