Letter: A modern anthem

Sir: Watching the start of the latest England/Scotland encounter reminded me that the English don't really have a national anthem.

However fans may jeer at "Flower of Scotland", they themselves are required to give voice to a nondescript melody with anachronistic words, written as much for Scotland, Ulster and Wales as for England, and according to some rumours, based on a tune by the Frenchman, Lully.

The number of verses people can stomach is decreasing. Already junked are calls to Confound our enemies' politics, and Frustrate their knavish tricks - can it be long before a state separated from its Church finds the idea of God pouring his Bounteous Gifts on a Royal Family already over-endowed in that department a little too ironic for comfort?

As a new millennium approaches, let us take this opportunity to fashion an English anthem which acclaims English virtues. I am a song-writer, and I would be willing to set a good lyric to a rousing tune that we could sing at times of national pride - should any arise in the future.

To start you off, it might include such phrases as Centres of excellence, Properly-valued third age community, and Traditional values in a modern setting.