THANK you, Neil Mackay.

I have wondered if I was the only Scot embarrassed by hearing Flower of Scotland offered as an anthem for our country.

Even more worrying than the song itself is the idea that anyone could possibly consider it appropriate as an anthem for, well, anything.

I wonder if The Herald or anyone else could lead a move to create a Scottish national anthem that would meet our aspiration to be a small, modern, forward-looking country making its way in the 21st century.

Ritchie Ross,


NEIL Mackay must be having a laugh (“Why I hate Flower of Scotland and God Save the Queen”, The Herald, October 1).

I heard the Corries singing Flower of Scotland in the 1960s at the Empire Theatre in Inverness when it was sung in a very gentle, reflective manner.

The only hate I see being glorified is in Mr Mackay’s headline.

George F Campbell,


I AGREE with Neil Mackay that Scotland’s national anthem should be forward-looking and inclusive.

However, as a tool of revolution Scots Wha’ Hae has a more interesting history than is generally known.

It was completed in 1793 on the day of Thomas Muir’s Edinburgh trial for sedition. Muir had tirelessly campaigned for political reforms such as the universal male franchise.

The lyrics referred to the Battle of Bannockburn; the melody was the tune which the Scottish army played when supporting Joan of Arc at the Battle of Orleans.

Robert Burns sent it to his publisher with a postscript referring to “other struggles of the same nature, not quite so ancient.”

Despite its apparently medieval subject, the song was immediately banned by the authorities and remained banned for 50 years.

It became a favourite rallying call during the radical wars of the early 19th century in both Scotland and England (for example during the 1820 London-based Cato Street Conspiracy).

Bands playing the tune were everywhere charged with sedition.

Mary McCabe,


CONGRATULATIONS to Neil Mackay for articulating so well what I’ve thought for years, that when it comes to choosing a new national anthem for Scotland, why replace one miserable, tuneless dirge with inappropriate lyrics with another one?

Could I add to Neil’s suggestions for a new anthem, Hamish MacCunn‘s The Land of the Mountain and the Flood, a great tune which celebrates the beauty and majesty of Scotland?

Although there aren’t any lyrics to this piece I’m sure that we have the talent in this country to add great lyrics that don’t refer to “defeating proud Edward’s army and sending him homeward to think again” or “sending her victorious, happy and glorious, long to reign over us”.

Stuart Neville,


I DON’T doubt the sincerity of Mr Mackay’s sentiments for a moment.

Flower of Scotland might be, as he says, a dirge, though I would take issue with his argument that it is a dreadful song.

I have heard it sung on numerous occasions at Murrayfield prior to Scottish rugby international matches, and the mass singing of it in that stadium never fails to move me,

I cannot think of any other Scottish song that has the power to unite 50,000 strangers in the way that Flower of Scotland does.

Mr Mackay argues that the song implies we are insular and self-centred.

I think he is overstating the case and anyway, what is wrong with a song that enables us to take pride in our small country and who we are as a people?

Where I do agree with him is that Caledonia, by Dougie McLean, might be an acceptable replacement as an unofficial national anthem

Michael Smith,