Jem Muharrem

Words on thought, art and music

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Gove Save the Queen

Following on from Richard Lindfield’s public affairs lecture at Brighton Journalist Works about the functions of the monarchy (ahem) in which it turned out that nobody in the room knew any of the word to ‘God Save the Queen’ beyond the first verse, my curiosity was piqued as to what all of the words to our glorious national anthem really are.

And what should I find? Do please bring your full attention to the final stanza in the light of current goings-on way up in the chilly north. Discuss…

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring
May he sedition hush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the…..etc, etc

Maybe someone should tell Alex Salmond…

This was written circa 1745 as a prayer for the victory of Field Marshall George Wade’s anti-Jacobite army assembling at the time in Newcastle.

In an 1837 article from Gentlemen’s Magazine (what a name! would that this publication still exist…) the verse is presented thus; as an “additional verse… though being of temporary application only… stored in the memory of an old friend… who was born in the very year 1745, and was thus the associate of those who heard it first sung”.

The Jacobites bit  back with:

God bless the prince, I pray,
God bless the prince, I pray,
Charlie I mean;
That Scotland we may see
Freed from vile Presbyt’ry,
Both George and his Feckie,
Ever so, Amen.

Various other attempts were made during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to add verses to commemorate particular royal or national events.

Here is one David Cameron may like to consider singing out next time he and Nicolas Sarkozy inevitably come to blows :

From France and Pretender
Great Britain defend her,
Foes let them fall;
From foreign slavery,
Priests and their knavery,
And Popish Reverie,
God save us all.

None of these verses have of course survived to the present of course.  The last change to be made was by King George V who asked that the line ‘Frustrate their popish tricks’ should be changed to ‘Frustrate their knavish tricks’. Here is the full stanza, in fact the true second verse to follow the famous first one we all know:

O Lord our God arise
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall
Confound their politics
Frustrate their knavish tricks
On Thee our hopes we fix
God save us all.

(It’s O.K to threaten people old bean, just not the Catholics any more…)

This mutability of the words of the national anthem, albeit in its own imperialistic and blinkered way, is a product of its time but it is also a curious and rather pregnant idea. The notion of “God Save the King” as a socio-political barometer makes me think that, instead of logging on to Twitter to vent, we should just turn to our beloved national anthem and unleash our inner poet.

So picture it, next time the English football team (not Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish, no no no!) run out to play, we can all stand and proudly sing:

This time of austerity,

Doesn’t halt temerity

Of our MPs.

We’re not from Bullingdon,

No peerage for our sons,

No second home in Kensington, (all together now)

Gove save the Queen’s yacht.


Journalism by Numbers

This is my story as it appeared on the Brighton Journalist Works Blogspot today: In light of the Leveson Enquiry and the pressure that the press has recently come under, BJW are making sure that their trainee journalists are fully aware of their responsibility to the public. Here is the link to the original:

In light of the Leveson Enquiry and the scrutiny that the press has recently come under, Brighton Journalist Works are ensuring their new intake of students in January 2012 are fully aware of the responsibility they have to the public and to their trade.

Trainee Journalists were given a crash course yesterday on good and bad practise in science reporting at the BJW headquarters in Argus House, Brighton.

Dr Sam Mugford of the Norwich-based John Innes Centre and Prof David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University teamed up in a two-pronged attack on the irresponsibility shown by some journalists in collecting and reporting scientific data and the flexibility of statistics.

Dr Mugford addressed issues like “Why scientists don’t give straight answers”, highlighting the discrepancy between careful, considered thought processes of the scientific community and the whip-crack speeds expected of journalists. He said the trend leads to misunderstanding and manipulation of data in the search for good copy. “It is important for scientists and the media to have an open and honest relationship” he said.

Citing the MMR/Autism case as an example of lack of communication and use of limited sources, he called for balance in science reporting and forethought in comparing researched and ratified scientific research with emotive human stories.

Dr Spiegelhalter followed this by taking the audience on a fascinating journey through scientific misrepresentation in the press. “You will constantly need to ask questions of the facts being fed to you” he said. Students were warned to be aware of organisations fudging numbers to push their own agendas. “You need to pick out PR from good journalism” he said. The trainee journalists were encouraged to constantly question the data given to them; to be inquisitive and hungry for accuracy and to take personal responsibility for fact.

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