Should we still play the National Anthem at contests? I am not trying to offend anybody here, but I have 3 objections to this: 1. Image: I don't think it does the Brass band world's image any good to play the national anthem, we're already seen as fuddy-duddy enough as it is. They stopped playing the anthem after films and plays years ago. 2. Political: Playing the national anthem is an imposition of a certain political view on the players playing it in a way that not playing it would not be. I played it at a contest once and felt a complete hypocrite as I do not agree with the monarchy. 3. Musical: It's a rubbish piece of music. I have no objection to playing a piece expressing national pride at the beginning of a contest, but there are much better pieces than God save the Queen. In the spirit of democracy I think a ballot paper should be sent to everybody who is registered with a contesting band asking whether they want to carry on playing the national anthem at contests. If the result came back yes, I would be quite happy playing it, as then I would be playing it as an expression of brass band unity rather than as a political gesture.