The Daily Telegraph was upset by Corbyn's wardrobe, as well as his silence. The staunchly Tory paper complained that the Labour leader had insulted the queen and war veterans by wearing 'mismatched jacket and trousers' and a 'shirt unbuttoned at the top'.
Corbyn is an atheist and a republican, so if he had lustily sung along to 'God Save the Queen' he would surely have been accused of hypocrisy by papers like the Daily Telegraph.
Historically, demands that members of parliament acknowledge god and the queen have been ways to restrict democracy in Britain. In the late nineteenth century some of the first atheist MPs to win election were prevented from taking their seats in parliament, because they wouldn't swear an oath on the Bible. Many Irish republicans elected to Westminster have never taken their seats, partly because they refuse to swear allegiance to the queen. 'God Save the Queen' hasn't just alienated atheists and republicans: the song's call for the queen to 'crush' the 'rebellious Scots' doesn't go down well in Glasgow.
'God Save the Queen' was New Zealand's national anthem for many decades. Kiwis who went to a cinema for a night's entertainment had to stand and sing along to the dirge before they could watch a film or newsreel, and those who tried to remain in their seats risked being beaten up by members of the RSA. Pioneering republican Bruce Jesson became renowned for remaining mutely in his seat when the anthem was played, and suffering the attentions of drunken ex-servicemen.
I suspect that a lot of Britons will applaud Jeremy Corbyn's refusal to be bullied into performing a song whose theocratic sentiments he doesn't share.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]