MSPs Reject National Anthem Bid

17 March 2015, 13:28 | Updated: 17 March 2015, 13:29

MSPs have rejected a petition calling for Flower of Scotland to be made the official national anthem.

The petition, by Aberdeen University student Chris Cromar, was closed by Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee with cross-party agreement after the Scottish Government indicated it has no current plans to adopt an official national anthem.

The popular Corries song, which recalls Scotland's medieval wars of independence, is both "loved and loathed'' by sections of Scottish society, according to Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw.

SNP MSP Angus MacDonald "reluctantly'' agreed, insisting "the jury is still'' out on the best anthem for Scotland.

Flower of Scotland is widely recognised as Scotland's unofficial national anthem and is used in the Commonwealth Games, football and rugby matches as well as being sung at the London Olympics in 2012.

Other unofficial Scottish national anthems include Scotland the Brave, Highland Cathedral, Scots Wha Hae and A Man's a Man, but the petitioner argued that none of these have the support of Flower of Scotland.

Mr Carlaw acknowledged that he has "something of a track record of commenting on the number of petitions we receive encouraging us 'adopt a national this, that or the next thing'''.

"My understanding is that a lack of enthusiasm was expressed by the Scottish Government on moving forward at this time,'' he said.

"This petition has sparked a limited national debate on the issue and it seems a little bit like Marmite in that this particular anthem is either loved or loathed.

"I think at this stage it would be inadvisable for a committee of MSPs to embrace any anthem.''

The Scottish Government stated: "Scottish ministers believe that consideration of whether Scotland should officially adopt a national anthem, and if so what that might be, should not be led by the Scottish Government or by any single political party.

"We, therefore, have no current plans in this regard.''

Mr MacDonald said: "I think consensus is breaking out on this one, clearly from the submissions that we have had from a number of contributors the jury is still out on what is the best national anthem for Scotland.

"Given the view of the Scottish Government, and given that there is still a considerable amount of debate out there as to what the national anthem should be, I think we should perhaps close the petition, reluctantly, and allow the debate to continue out there.''