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A Song of Patriotic Prejudice

You know, it's a curious thing, I don't know if you've ever thought of this, but England hasn't really got a national song, you know, just for England; there's plenty for Great Britain. That's quite different. You have to be very careful how you use these terms, too. The rule is: if we've done anything good, it's "another triumph for Great Britain" and if we haven't, it's "England loses again". Have you noticed that?
All the others, they've got songs about their countries, you know, the Scots, like "Scotland for aye" (or for "me" as it should more properly be). And the Welsh and the Irish have got songs saying how marvelous they are and making rude remarks about the English in their own languages. In the case of the Welsh I think this is the pot calling the saucepan "bach".
What English national song have we got? "Jerusalem" . . . "There'll always be an England". Well, that's not saying much, is it? I mean, there'll always be a North Pole, if some dangerous clown doesn't go and melt it.
I think that the reason for this is that in the old days - you know, the good old days when I was a boy - people didn't, we didn't bother in England about nationalism. I mean, nationalism was on its way out. We'd got pretty well everything we wanted and we didn't go around saying how marvelous we were - everybody knew that - any more than we bothered to put our names on our stamps. I mean, there's only two kinds of stamps: English stamps in sets at the beginning of the album, and foreign stamps all mixed at the other end. Any gibbon could tell you that.
But nowadays nationalism is on the up and up and everybody has a national song but us. The Americans have national songs, like "My country 'tis of thee", which they sing to the tune of "God save the Queen", I may say, and which together with their long range forecasting of our weather I find hard to forgive. Yes, and the Germans - and whatever you say about the Germans (and who doesn't) - what a marvelous song that was: "German, German overalls". Now there's a song.
Well, the moment has come, and none too soon; we have a song here which, I think, fills this long-felt want and I hope that all true-born English men and women in our audience will join in the last chorus. And if you don't have the good fortune to be English true-born, or a man, or a woman, I hope you'll join in as an ordinary mark of simple decent respect. This song starts with, I think, a very typical English understatement.


The English, the English, the English are best
I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest.

The rottenest bits of these islands of ours
We've left in the hands of three unfriendly powers
Examine the Irishman, Welshman or Scot
You'll find he's a stinker, as likely as not.

Och aye, awa' wi' yon Edinburgh Festival

The Scotsman is mean, as we're all well aware
And bony and blotchy and covered with hair
He eats salty porridge, he works all the day
And he hasn't got bishops to show him the way!

The English, the English, the English are best
I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest.

Ah hit me old mother over the head with a shillelagh

The Irishman now out contempt is beneath
He sleeps in his boots and he lies through his teeth
He blows up policemen, or so I have heard
And blames it on Cromwell and William the Third!

The English are noble, the English are nice,
And worth any other at double the price

Ah, iechyd da

The Welshman's dishonest and cheats when he can
And little and dark, more like monkey than man
He works underground with a lamp in his hat
And he sings far too loud, far too often, and flat!

And crossing the Channel, one cannot say much
Of French and the Spanish, the Danish or Dutch
The Germans are German, the Russians are red,
And the Greeks and Italians eat garlic in bed!

The English are moral, the English are good
And clever and modest and misunderstood.

And all the world over, each nation's the same
They've simply no notion of playing the game
They argue with umpires, they cheer when they've won
And they practice beforehand which ruins the fun!

The English, the English, the English are best
So up with the English and down with the rest.

It's not that they're wicked or natuarally bad
It's knowing they're foreign that makes them so mad!

For the English are all that a nation should be,
And the flower of the English are Donald (Michael)
Donald (Michael) and Me!


Originally from the album 'At The Drop of Another Hat'.

Note: 'Saucepan bach' is a pun on "Sospan Fach", which is a patriotic Welsh song, the expression "the pot calling the kettle black", and the Welsh word "bach", which means "dear" or "friend" or "little one".