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13 January 2015, 12:36
Making Flower of Scotland the national anthem could help unite the country in the wake of last year's referendum on independence, MSPs have been told.
Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee is considering a bid to have the song, written by the late Roy Williamson of The Corries in the 1960s, officially recognised as Scotland's national tune.
Giving evidence to the committee, petitioner Chris Cromar insisted the lyrics are not anti-English as has been claimed by detractors.
He said: "Flower of Scotland is known by the vast majority of Scots and is recognised by people across the world.
"It's been said that the song is anti-English and stuck in the past, however the lyrics of 'those days are past now, and in the past they must remain' show that the song is anything but.
"This is an important time in Scotland's history and I believe that this is the perfect time for the Scottish Parliament to legislate on an official national anthem for Scotland.
"Flower of Scotland is a song that helps unite the nation. Scotland football fan Ian Pow summed this up before Scotland's first match after September's referendum when he said: 'There is nothing like hearing 50,000 people sing this song. The No vote in the referendum has nothing to do with it and I read the lyrics as meaning we can rise up and be a better nation, be more successful and victorious'.
"This comment shows that this song is about Scotland and brings people together regardless of their political beliefs or backgrounds.''
Mr Cromar, a student at Aberdeen University and former MSYP for Aberdeen Donside, pointed out that the song is used as the national anthem by the Scottish rugby union team and the Scottish football team, and was also used by the Commonwealth Games team in 2010.
He dismissed other contenders, such as Robert Burns' Scots Wha Hae, saying lyric sheets would have to be passed around at sporting events as people would not be familiar with the words.
Mr Cromar added: "I think people have a lot of passion and a lot of feeling towards Flower of Scotland, and I don't think a new song may be as successful as Flower of Scotland would be because people really regard it as their national anthem.''
MSPs on the committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government to ask whether it would consider undertaking a consultation on an official national anthem for Scotland.
Views will also be sought from the Scottish Rugby Union and Scottish Football Association as well as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, which ran a 2006 poll that found 41% of people backed Flower of Scotland for the national song.