Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Nuala McKeever: Power to the people (just not over here, OK?)

The May Day public holiday, introduced officially in 1978 by James Callaghan to coincide with International Workers’ Day, is under threat.

The Tourism Minister (yes, there is such a job), John Penrose, wants to scrap the May holiday and create a new one in October — possibly to be called UK Day or Trafalgar Day.

It’s supposed to be a day to celebrate “the best of British”. Like ...? No, I can’t think of anything either.

It’s being pushed for by the tourism industry who want to extend the tourism season to the autumn half term, with a holiday in October. So actually, it’s about money. Surprise, surprise! Let’s take an ancient traditional day that celebrates ordinary people and the coming of summer and dump it, in favour of a day driven by profit and nationalism. Oh and it’d be nice for the Tories to get rid of those pesky May Day workers’ marches. People power’s grand in Egypt, but you wouldn’t want it here, would you?

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