Scrap ‘socialist’ May Day bank holiday and create ‘Acts of Union Day’ says Telegraph assistant editor
The Telegraph‘s assistant editor has called for the “socialist” May Day bank holiday to be scrapped and an ‘Acts of Union Day’ to be created in its stead.
Philip Johnston noted that the United Kingdom came into being on 1 May and that it should be used as a day to celebrate the Union.
He was responding to calls for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to become a yearly bank holiday called ‘Thank Holiday’, which he said was too “sentimental”.
“Why not scrap the socialist May bank holiday, and use the first of May to honour the Acts of Union instead?” Philip Johnston asked.
“What we really need is a National Day. We are one of only two countries in the world that does not have one, the other being Denmark though even they have a Constitution Day.
“Perhaps only states that have been invaded, occupied, colonised or had revolutions have national days, which would explain why we don’t, as none of these have happened to us for centuries.”
He noted that Wales and England only have eight bank holidays, the fewest in Europe, while Scotland has nine and Northern Ireland 10.
“When he was prime minister, Gordon Brown fretted about establishing a British identity and proposed a United Kingdom Day, although nothing ever came of it,” he said.
“Among the suggestions was October 21, Trafalgar Day, but that was ruled out for fear of offending the French. Magna Carta could be celebrated as a national event, except it never applied in Scotland and the agreement was made in June, which does not solve the problem of too many spring holidays.
“Why not turn May 1 into a National Day? It was the date in 1707 that the Acts of Union came into force and the United Kingdom of Great Britain came into being. We would just need to move the existing early May holiday from the first Monday back to May Day itself.
“Mr Johnson, when he became Prime Minister, also appointed himself Minister for the Union. He should mark his tenure by creating a UK National Day.”
The move to create a new bank holiday in June comes despite the UK Government rejecting calls for St David’s Day to be made a bank holiday in Wales In response to a petition which had been signed by over 12,000 people.
Responding to the petition, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Although an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy of an additional bank holiday remains considerable.
“The latest analysis estimates the cost for a one-off bank holiday (across the whole of the UK) to be around £2bn.
“The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to celebrate a variety of occasions. However, the current pattern of bank holidays is well established and accepted.”
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