Surely the time has come, particularly given the current difficulties around the concept of the monarchy, to revisit the issue of the national anthem? ‘God save the King’ was first sung in 1745 and the melody can be traced back to an ancient medieval plainsong chant. Phrases such as ‘Long to reign over us’ could be seen to be inappropriate in the context of a modern democracy within which public deference to authority figures, especially where these are unelected, is no longer automatic.

Exposure to different national anthems during the recent Rugby World Cup will have made people more aware of the vibrancy, intensity and sheer musicality of examples such as the French, Italian and especially the South African versions.

My choice of a more inspirational national anthem would be either ‘Land of hope and glory’ or ‘Jerusalem’. Alternatively, a nationwide competition could be held to compose and then choose a new and inclusive anthem that would be more representative of the 21st century and of the more diverse nation that we have become.

Neil Burke,