Amol Rajan: How about a reggae anthem to inspire the nation?

FreeView from the editors at i

Share
Related Topics

Almost the only aspect of being paid to write columns that is not highly pleasurable is being scooped. In journalistic parlance, to be scooped in news is to be beaten to a story – and to be scooped in views is to be beaten to an argument.

That my esteemed colleague Dominic Lawson is cleverer than me has long been a source of anguish. But when he wrote in this newspaper on Tuesday that our national anthem should be replaced on musical grounds and that Gustav Holst's "I Vow to Thee My Country" is a fine candidate for the vacancy, the pain became intolerable. I have wanted to write the same thing for weeks.

"God Save the Queen" is a musically immature nonsense and that our national anthem should enshrine a subservience, to the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas and a dictator in the sky who doesn't even exist, is of course a source of national shame. But Dominic covered all that.

So today, let me make some alternative recommendations. Where he specialises in classical, I'm a reggae man. Here are five reggae anthems that could inspire a nation.

1. Vybz Kartel – Clarks

With his seminal lyric "Toothbrush get out di dust fast / Everybody haffi ask weh mi get mi Clarks", Vybz articulates the passions of our rioting youth and the aspirationalism of New Labour.

2. The Wailers – Small Axe

Bob Marley sang: "So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down". This is really a metaphor for how the Coalition wishes to chip away at our staggering national debt.

3. Dillinger – Loving Pauper

One of my desert island discs. The lyrics: "Financially I'm a pauper, but when it comes to loving I'm alright" might as well be the slogan of the Big Society.

4. Sizzla – Solid As A Rock

What is this song's constant riff: "I'm so solid as a rock, they just can't stop me now", if not the perfect reminder of George Osborne's claim that the UK, with its low interest rates, is a "rock of stability"?

5. Horace Andy – Skylarking

Andy mellifluously sang: "So if you all keep on doing what you all are doing / You will end up, up, up in jail… skylarking." Fraudulent bankers, expense-fiddling politicians and even former News of the World journalists will all feel a sense of connection with these fine lyrics.

Quite which is my preferred choice I couldn't tell you. If you have better ideas, do get in touch on Twitter.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
“I just wanted some chicken wings,” Tan Shen told the assembled media. “But once I got in there ... I decided I needed time to think.”  

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015