Monday, 7 February 2011

Bank Holidays

Apparently we have a Ministry for Tourism and it is thinking of abolishing the May Day bank holiday and replacing it with one in October, possible to be called UK Day (ugh!) or even Trafalgar Day (double ugh!)

In my view if any of the spring bank holidays is to be abolished it should be exactly that, the Spring Bank Holiday. This was originally the Whitsuntide Holiday but was replaced to a fixed day (since Whitsuntide, like Easter, is a movable feast)by Harold Wilson's government, hence it was know for a while as "Wilsontide." Since it no longer has any religious significance and no antiquity, other than a welcome day of it would would be no great loss. The glorous Saddleworth and District Band Competition would doubtless ignore all this messing about by governments,and continue to take place on Whit Friday, as it has done since 1884.

A holiday in the autumn would be welcome, but it is hard to decide which of the two suggestions is the more toe-curlingly embarrassing. That we should commemorate Trafalgar Day (21st October)with a holiday is obviously an attempt to pander to the prejudices of neanderthal anti- Europeans who love to bury their heads in the sands of the present, revel in past glories which are nothing to do with anyone alive today, insult the French and have no vision for the future. A UK Day to "celebrate Britishness" is almost as bad. My youthful diet of the novels of W E Johns and Percy F Westerman taught me that British patriotism should be understated. We should aim at apparently effortless competence but not shout about it as lesser nations do. I'm no longer so keen on the "lesser nations" part of the creed but feel that modest competence in all areas is something to be encouraged but applauded only discreetly.

My own suggestion for an October bank holiday is United Nations Day, 24th October. This would help place a more favourable image on an organisation which, though still imperfect, is our best hope for the future - the organisation specifically devoted to peace through international co-operation and the international rule of law.

No comments:

Post a Comment