Friday, March 04, 2011

Bank Holiday Relocations

I was looking at the latest proposals about moving the May Day Bank Holiday to the autumn. In a year like 2011, when Easter falls late in April, we do end up with bank holiday congestion - Good Friday, Easter Monday and the May Day holiday all occurring within a couple of weeks, with another at the end of May. Contrast that with the long haul from August to Christmas (or New Year to Easter) and you can see the point. May Day has long-established traditions, but in the last century became associated with the political left, so I am sure there are plenty of Conservative politicians who would like to see the end of it.

One proposal is to move to St George's Day in England (Apr 23) and St David's Day (March 1) in Wales. That doesn't really solve the congestion issue. Another is to go for an autumn slot. Trafalgar Day is one candidate (Oct 21) which seems a sure-fire way of upsetting our French and Spanish partners in the EU. In many countries, All Saints Day (Nov 1) is a bank holiday, but that might seem a bit too Christian for some - although Hallowe'en would probably command popular support. We'll probably end up with the last Monday in October to coincide with half-term week.

Unions point out that Britain is quite stingy with its public holidays, so they would go for a "both-and" approach. I suspect in these austere times that isn't going to happen.
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