Knowing the national anthem does not make you British
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One third of those surveyed by The Sun don't know the first line of God Save the Queen. But in a multi-cultural society, does it actually matter? The newspaper posed the question to 1000 of its readers, along with nine other questions about British history and popular culture. Surprisingly (or maybe not?) 37% of those questioned didn’t know that “God save our gracious Queen” was the first line of our national anthem. Based on the paper’s imaginings of what the new British Citizenship test might entail, the article revealed that over half of the people interviewed didn’t know that Henry VIII had six wives. But how does this reflect on our patriotism or lack thereof? The comments under the article on the Sun’s website exploded with vitriol, evenly divided between the monarchy and immigrants. Is knowing the national anthem and who invented the telephone an essential part of being British, or just useful if you like pub quizzes? I’d argue that the British identity is more to do with community and diversity than less tangible things than the history of the British Isles.
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