St David's Day should be a national holiday

In two days time Wales celebrates St David's Day, but the grind of daily life will go on as usual.

Despite this, all four political leaders in the assembly have called to make March 1st a bank holiday and 11,034 have signed a petition on the government's website demanding the same. That's almost double the amount of signatures in support of a national holiday on St George's Day.

In fact, it's quite rare for the assembly to agree on something so emphatically: seven years ago they voted unanimously in support of giving us a day off to celebrate our Welshness.

But this debate has really been a case, as with dear Dewi Sant, of the blind leading the blind. The assembly voted in the full knowledge that it didn't have the primary legislative powers needed to implement it. And the man who matters, aga-loving Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, remains unconvinced.

It may seem trivial, but giving St David's Day the status it deserves should be a priority for whoever inherits the assembly's new powers on May 4th (he is after all the only indigenous patron saint in the British Isles).

The UK currently celebrates only eight national holidays each year. That's compared to 10 in the USA, 13 in France and 20 in Japan. There's plenty of room for another day off. And if it means I can drink copious amounts of Brains and eat cheese on toast all day then I'll be happy.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 7:14 am,

11 Comments:

At 10:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could the Assembly use its "new powers" when bank holidays are decided by the Treasury - and still will be after May?

 
At 10:37 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

The assembly's "new powers" barely give it the power to do anything.

I think the WAG spokesperson quoted in the Western Mail today sums up the position pretty accurately:

"If the Assembly voted to approve a draft order which would give it legislative competence to do this, it could not acquire that competence unless the Secretary of State, the UK Government and both Houses of Parliament agreed."

Incidentally, I wrote this blog post last night, before I saw Tomos Livingstone's piece this morning. Great minds...:P

 
At 10:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

exactly - so won't the Assembly be wasting its time making a priority of something it can't change?

 
At 11:00 am, Blogger Penddu said...

Yet another example of how poor little Wales can not be trusted to make any decisions.

We need our own Parliament now - with full independence to shortly follow.

 
At 11:03 am, Blogger Penddu said...

The full response form Downing Street was:
==========
The Government receives a variety of suggestions for new or different Bank Holidays and celebrations. Whilst the Government is pleased that so many people are interested, as you can imagine it is not possible to please everyone as to who or what should be celebrated. Unlike Northern Ireland, where St Patrick's Day is a bank holiday, bank and public holidays in Great Britain do not, by tradition commemorate particular individuals, events, or institutions, other than those associated with Christmas and Easter. Moreover, many individuals and communities in Wales already celebrate St David's Day in a way they consider more suitable. The present pattern of bank holidays in the United Kingdom is well established and accepted, and the Government has no current plans to change the arrangements.

I hope that this is helpful.
==============
Well no actually.........

 
At 11:11 am, Blogger Welsh Spin said...

Don't we have enough Bank holidays over the spring period?

If we are to have another one, why not sometime between August and Christmas - say, the Monday following Remembrance Day?

 
At 12:11 pm, Blogger Wynne Jones said...

Blamer: We agree on something! I just posted a similar comment on my own blog.

 
At 12:27 pm, Blogger Penddu said...

Why not simply reschedule the meaningless Whitsun holiday to March 1st - no increase in business costs.

Sorry - sensible idea .......

 
At 12:53 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Why not simply reschedule the meaningless Whitsun holiday to March 1st - no increase in business costs."

It would play hell with the eisteddfod cycle. And give me sunny whitsun any day.

The point is we *can* afford another day off. We have 12 fewer than Japan already.

Who knows, productivity might improve if we all feel that little bit more proud to be Welsh...

 
At 1:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with all this bank holiday nonsense is that the only people guaranteed a day off will be those who work in certain sections of the public sector. None of the shops in Cardiff will close and neither will any of the pubs.No body in the Corus steel works will even realise that it is a bank holiday because stell production is acontinous process. Even in the public sector certain key workers will have to work.

 
At 12:28 pm, Anonymous wendy said...

It should be a national holiday!! Why not, we tons of pointless holidays so why not tac on another one!
http://cafe.glogster.com/faithless

 

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