The latest big idea to come from the bunch of goons in Westminster, promulgated in the press today and followed up with assorted radio and TV interviews/announcements, is to scrap May Day as a bank holiday.
I know I shouldn't take these things personally, but I do sometimes wonder if this shower got themselves elected just to irritate the hell out of me. I shall certainly be interested to see and hear our much-loved local MP's reaction to this proposed act of cultural vandalism. It's her party of government that's made the proposal and that wants it to go ahead - will Sheryll Murray be brave enough to stand up for the traditions of Black Prince Day against her government? When they decide to go ahead, after what they'll call "consultation", which way will Sheryll vote?
Black Prince Day has become a major event, a major attraction, for the Rame Peninsula - numerous teams of the morris, the flower boat itself, the fete at Venton House - all combine to bring locals and tourists alike onto the streets for a day of fun, music and dance. Not to mention the obvious benefit to local businesses of having crowds of people looking for sustenance.
We use the May Day bank holiday here, we celebrate the coming of summer and maintain some of the great British and Cornish traditions; losing the day to some nebulous "UK Day" in October will be a simple act of philistinism. What is "UK Day" exactly? What does it stand for? Naff all, frankly.
Not to mention that if it would really help the tourism industry to have an extra holiday in the autumn - why not just give us an extra holiday in the autumn? We already have far fewer public holidays in this country than any other major European country, including the economic power house that is Germany (some federal states within Germany enjoy 12 days of public holiday per year, the stingiest states have 9).
May Day, though, has genuine history - it's Beltane, for goodness' sake. There has to be a suspicion, as well, that a government of the hue that we currently live under won't like us having a holiday that matches International Labour Day - equating it with a socialist festival. To my mind, the date's political association is of no import (and anyone who reads this stuff will know I'm a lefty through and through). No - this is local, this is personal - this is Black Prince Day under serious threat.
If you'd like to help to try and preserve this wonderful local event, please write to your MP and tell them what you think.....remember - they work for you. And it's their votes in the House that will allow this appalling proposal through.....
It hurts me to do this, but if you're in South East Cornwall, you need these details - please use them:
Sheryll Murray MP
tel 01579 344428
There are several articles worth reading on this subject, amongst others: