Leading Article: God save the Queen

THE MILLENNIUM crowd are determined to put a smile on Her Majesty's face, with a "cookin'" version of the National Anthem to be performed at the Millennium Dome on New Year's Eve. The standard model was reckoned to be "leaden", so the Queen will sit through a version that includes samba drummers and Jools Holland on the piano.

But why stop at mere changes to the arrangement? The words "Frustrate their knavish tricks,/ On Thee our hopes we fix,/ Oh, save us all!" are hardly in keeping with the new millennium. And the melody, let's face it, is a bit plodding.

Old-fashioned censorship can help. The Germans emasculated "Deutschland uber Alles". In Britain, too, the old lines "And like a torrent rush/ Rebellious Scots to crush" have also vanished. Better to go the whole hog and find a new anthem. Obvious candidates such as "Land of Hope and Glory" are of little use - they fall out of the royalist frying-pan into the imperialist fire. We could choose modern icons, say "Satisfaction", or "Things Can Only Get Better". Or perhaps we should stick with the sage advice of Billy Connolly and stage a hum-in of The Archers' theme. Just as long as we stay away from samba-rhythm "happy and glorious". Her Majesty will thank us for it, eventually.

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