Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Let's use our bank holidays to celebrate Britishness

Bank holidays are funny things and, like buses, you wait for ages for one to come along and then a group of them arrive at once. Apart from rainy days at the seaside, the funfair or country show most have little significance other than a day off work and an extra day in the pub.

This year, and next, we are being blessed with an additional days holiday to mark the royal wedding and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Both nationally significant events in the history of our country.

If we can do this for the next two years why can't we do this every year? Instead of a bank holiday for a bank holiday's sake we should make them meaningful and a way to celebrate who we are.

In Australia they have Australia day but also ANZAC day when they remember the sacrifice made by the previous generations. In America - not a country to work in if you like your holidays - they have Memorial Day which similarly remembers those who died in military service.
Here we rightly observe Rememberance Day and Rememberance Sunday but couldn't we find a way to celebrate a momentus moment in our history as a way to bring the country together?

Perhaps Battle of Britain Day - a day of celebration but also reflection as to the qualities that has defined this country. What better way to commemorate the sacrifice of those who have gone before us as well as communicating our history to the next generation?

As well as making a bank holiday meaningful, maybe it would help to spread these days out more equally through the year so they no longer come along like buses?


  1. In England we have eight bank holidays, in Scotland they have nine statutory bank holidays, as well as St Andrew's Day, which has to be taken in lieu of another public holiday, while Northern Ireland has 10, including St Patrick's Day. And the St David's Day debate in Parliament is over whether St David's Day should be a bank holiday in Wales (previously the Welsh Assembly voted in favour of making March 1 a public holiday, but the idea was blocked by Westminster).

    To level the field we need an English (not British) bank holiday, St George's Day being the obvious choice, so let's forget all this Gordon Brown-alike Britishness nonsense and celebrate our Englishness.

  2. Ed, you say: 'Perhaps Battle of Britain Day - a day of celebration but also reflection as to the qualities that has defined this country'

    What country would that be? Britain is s state not a country, England is a country...without a Parliament unlike the other countries of Britain, so should Battle of Britain Day be a state holiday of a country holiday?

  3. Please also don't forget that in the Duchy of Cornwall we have a popular campaign -supported by many local businesses and councils- to have the 5th of March, St Pirans Day, as a bank holiday for Kernow.

    The facebook page can be found for one of the campaign groups here:


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