News reaches us from across the Atlantic that the American people have taken a vote and chosen none other than Bruce Springsteen as the man they’d most like to compose a new national anthem for their star-spangled country, beating the likes of Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z.
We can all agree that’s a fine result for democracy from a country with a frankly patchy recent record, and let’s not let the fact that this is an entirely spurious Vanity Fair pop quiz result spoil our fun. It seems apposite at a time when Union Jack bunting is clogging the country’s arteries to ask who the British Boss is who could be drafted in to pen a replacement for ‘God Save The Queen’?
Anyone stumbling past Buckingham Palace during the Jubilee Concert this weekend would have witnessed a particular brand of British music being pumped into the inevitable drizzle. Would any of those flag-wavers get your vote? God save us from from Robbie Williams’ budget-Sinatra shtick, while the frankly inexplicable Will.i.am would have to be disqualified as he’s a) American and more pertinently b) culpable for ‘I Got A Feeling’.
Pop-zombie Cliff Richard is barred because he actually wrote the current anthem back in 1745, while bright-eyed Gary Barlow’s efforts on ‘Sing’ suggest he should probably give it a rest too. No, even as the baton of national celebration was being passed alphabetically from Jessie J to JLS it was becoming painfully clear that this cavalcade of mediocrity were woefully underqualified to represent our green and pleasant land in this year of our Lord 2012.
So if the Jubilee concert can’t provide us with an alternative anthem, who can? A quick fix would be to just throw on The Sex Pistols’ take on ‘God Save The Queen’, but that’s already 35 years old. Morrissey would no doubt provide something equally iconoclastic if asked, although singing about the Queen being dead would put a downer on that whole Jubilee thing. There’s a good case to be made for Jarvis Cocker, especially given that I can’t lay eyes on a single member of Her Majesty’s Coalition Government without hearing his debut solo album-closer ‘Cunts Are Still Running The World’ play inside my head.
In the end, my vote for the person best qualified to compose a new national anthem for this sceptred isle would probably go to a hoody-wearing polymath from Forest Gate. Plan B isn’t flawless by any means, the gender politics of Strickland Banks in particular proving pretty unpleasant, but with both ‘Ill Manors’ (his rich boy-baiting anthem) and 'Ill Manors' (his bruising multi-layered portrayal of the inner-city) he’s shown he’s got more to say about modern Britain than a whole weekend of pomp and circumstance. Vote Plan B for an anthem worth standing up and paying attention to.