Monday, 7 May 2012

Booing the National Anthem

Apparently, Liverpool fans were booing the National Anthem as it was played just before the FA Cup Final this year. So fas as BFTF can see, this was covered only by Chris Warburton on his Radio 5 Live show (Sat 5th May, around 9.40pm). During the show, Chris asked two people who had booed the anthem their reasons for doing so. Their responses are shown below:

"Paul" commented that he had booed:
"Because the transport situation today was a disgrace, the late kick off time made it impossible for Liverpool fans to get home on the train . .. How else do you make a protest. . nothing against the national anthem. . there was no internet conspriacy, no premeditated action, it was something spontaneous, everyone felt the same and how else do you show your displeasure."

While "Mark" said that the booing was
"Representative of a general feeling of anti-establishmentism really amongst Liverpool supporters. . .a lot of it is to do with a lack of justice after Hillsborough. . the national anthem and flagwaving, patriotism, any kind of gesture like that is associated with the Royal family. . .you very very rarely see a flag in the Liverpool end with a union jack with the name Liverpool written across it, that's what other clubs do but Liverpool are different. . I don't think it means that Liverpool fans aren't proud of where they come from or anything like that, in fact its the complete opposite. . there is also an alienation, I know so many Liverpool supporters who don't support the English National team"

What can be done to integrate these communities into British Society?

In addtion, Chris read out a few texts that had come in:

A text from "Ted" stated that:
"I would never agree with booing our national anthem but Liverpool fans feel consistently let down by their own country's rulers to acknowledge how their own were killed at Hillsborough . . .Chelsea were allowed to boo a minutes silence for people who had dies at the FA cup semi final without serious criticism"

Another had texted in to say "come on, we are not all Royalists"

Whilst "Jo" felt that "The national anthem isn't relevant to todays society so why sing it. . .don't play the anthem and then it won't get booed."

BFTF suspects that, had it been Muslims booing the National Anthem at a major sporting event, the coverage would have been a lot greater, a lot harsher and with a lot less time spent asking the people concerned for the nuances of their motives.

In fact just thinking about what the coverage might look like is leaving BFTF with a knot in the pit of its stomach.

Update Apr 2014
Recently read a CRE report on "Britishness" in which the CRE interviewed people from white and BME communities to ask them about their feelings about nationality. The report says that, regarding flags :
Across all groups, the Union Jack was immediately mentioned as one of the most potent symbols of Britishness. This was seen positively, by most, as a force for unity (as opposed to the St George’s flag, for instance, which both white and ethnic minority participants saw as having been appropriated by the far right, and therefore as being divisive)