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

FreeView from the editors at i

Amol Rajan
Friday 10 August 2012 11:40
Comments

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.

Follow @amolrajan

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in