Unionists back ‘Patriotic’ One Britain One Nation anthem for schools

Unionists have given a positive response to a campaign for school children to celebrate ‘One Britain One Nation Day’ this week by singing a patriotic song.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 6:30 am
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 9:21 am

The UK Government has supported the campaign by a former Bradford police officer, which calls on school children to celebrate ‘One Britain One Nation Day’ this week by singing the song.

The UK Department for Education said it was “encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about our shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect”.

Retired police inspector Kash Singh said the concept was “born from my dream as a police officer” after coming to the UK as a six-year-old boy who couldn’t speak English.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Concerns have been raised about the new patriotic anthem for schools. Photo: PA
Concerns have been raised about the new patriotic anthem for schools. Photo: PA

He said he set up the campaign in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 2013 after retiring, where it was very successful.

He added: “I think we need to celebrate that and create this spirit of oneness and togetherness, and showcase that we’re all one people of this country regardless of where you’re from.”

However, the idea has been derided by one of the Conservative Party’s own MPs, Caroline Nokes. She retweeted a preview of the OBON song saying: “I can’t unhear this (however fervently I wish I could).”

Actress Joanna Lumley has expressed strong support for the song although Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she first assumed it was a “spoof” when she saw it.

Asked if there were any plans for the anthem to be rolled out in NI, the Northern Ireland Office said: “The Secretary of State believes in the importance of our shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect, which are taught and reinforced every single day in schools across Northern Ireland.”

It is understood that although backed by government, it is regarded as an independent campaign and that it is the decision of individual schools as to whether they participate.

Former Stormont Education Minister Peter Weir said he would be supportive of any initiative that helps bind the UK together.

“In such a proposal there is no reason why Northern Ireland, and Northern Ireland schools should be excluded, although anything, ultimately, should be on a voluntary basis,” he said.

UUP MLA Rosemary Barton MLA was also positive, assuming the project includes NI. She understood some would not wish to participate but noted that people from all over the world want to live and work in the UK. 

“Therefore it is important that everyone should feel part of the society that they live and work in,” she said.

MORE NEWS:

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe

Editor