Many thanks to the 507 people who voted in this blog's national anthem poll over the last 24 hours. No great surprise that the current de facto anthem was the clear winner - I suppose it's arguable that a 35% to 26% margin was a bit less emphatic that might have been expected, although I think if you look at the songs that finished second and third, you can begin to see the huge problem faced by those who want to oust Flower of Scotland from its perch. Freedom Come All Ye, in spite of its celebrated outing at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony last summer, just isn't a particularly well-known song, which leads me to strongly suspect that if this poll had been conducted among the wider public and not just the readers of a political blog, the second-placed song would instead have been Caledonia, complete with its home-spun lyrics like "lost the friends that I needed losing". Assuming it's unlikely that such a song would ever be put forward as an official national anthem, where is Flower of Scotland's true rival to be found?
The two songs that have previously been considered unofficial national anthems - Scotland the Brave and Scots Wha Hae - achieved no more than respectability in this poll, and I suspect the majority of people these days don't even know the tune to Scots Wha Hae (although more of that later). My own dark horse pick in the unlikely event that Flower of Scotland is displaced would be the nationalist-yet-conciliatory Both Sides The Tweed, but that finished even further down the rankings.
Which of these songs should be the national anthem of an independent Scotland?
Flower of Scotland : 182 (35%)
Freedom Come All Ye : 133 (26%)
Caledonia : 95 (18%)
Scots Wha Hae : 61 (12%)
Is There For Honest Poverty : 57 (11%)
Scotland the Brave : 40 (7%)
Highland Cathedral : 35 (6%)
Auld Lang Syne : 33 (6%)
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) : 26 (5%)
Both Sides The Tweed : 16 (3%)
Loch Lomond : 13 (2%)
The Dark Island : 6 (1%)
The Skye Boat Song : 4 (0%)
A Man Without Love : 4 (0%)
Land of Light : 4 (0%)
The Thistle o' Scotland : 1 (0%)
The percentages are calculated by dividing the votes for each song by the total number of voters (as opposed to the total numbers of votes), so they add up to more than 100.
There were also a number of 'write-in votes', some of them more serious than others -
Smeòrach Clann Dòmnaill : The song performed by Julie Fowlis at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. I was there at the time, and I do remember the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. It's hard to imagine a Hampden or Murrayfield crowd belting this one out, although it does boast a lovely understated patriotic verse, which translates as...
"If every other bird praises its own land
Why then should not I?
Land of heroes, land of poets
The hospitable, generous land of plenty"
Marche des Soldats de Robert Bruce : The French name for Hey Tuttie Taiti, the ancient tune Robert Burns used in slowed-down form for Scots Wha Hae, and which was reputedly played by Robert the Bruce's army just before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The reason it has an alternative name in French is that Joan of Arc's Scottish soldiers also played it a century later during the Siege of Orléans. I must admit the original faster version of the tune sounds much, much more plausible as a national anthem than Scots Wha Hae (judge for yourself HERE), and it can't be denied that no other song has a hope of matching it for historical significance.
Scotland Will Flourish by The Corries
Theme for the Early Days of a Better Nation
The lyrics of Scots Wha Hae set to the tune of War Pigs (by Black Sabbath)
Calum's Road by Donald Shaw
Weather With You by well-known Scottish band Crowded House
Teenage Kicks by well-known Scottish band The Undertones, or possibly Teenage Dream by well-known Scottish singer Katy Perry.
No Limit by 2 Unlimited (you get the idea).
The Chicken Song
Hearts of Olden Glory by Runrig
Scotland's Story by The Proclaimers
Dashing White Sergeant
The Ball of Kirriemuir
Fan Dabi Dozi by The Krankies
(At least no-one suggested John Barrowman's butchering of 80s pop classic Baby Give It Up.)