Brown calls for national day to enjoy 'Britishness'

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Indy Politics

Britain should be given its own national day for celebrations of its culture and historical heritage, the Chancellor Gordon Brown will say today.

In a speech that sets out parts of his agenda for a fourth Labour term, Mr Brown will also propose ending the power of the Prime Minister to take Britain into another Iraq war without greater support, and scrapping the power to appoint Bishops by Downing Street.

He will call for the country to celebrate Britishness by having its own national day similar to how the Americans celebrate Independence Day on 4 July.

Allies of the Chancellor said one idea they are considering is to declare a national holiday on Remembrance Day, 11 November, each year.

Mr Brown will tell a Fabian conference on the future of Britishness, that the most popular institutions range from the monarchy to the army and the NHS. "But what is our fourth of July? What is our Independence Day? Where is our declaration of rights? What is our equivalent of a flag day in every garden?" Mr Brown will say.

"Perhaps Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday are the nearest we have come to a British Day - unifying commemorative, dignified and an expression of British ideas of standing firm for the world in the name of liberty."

Mr Brown, who has many friends among leading Democrats in the United States and is a frequent visitor, will argue that showing more pride in the national flag does not mean retreating into sentimentality.

Mr Brown will also give a clear hint that, as Prime Minister, he would drop the power of patronage over the appointment of judges and the clergy, currently exercised by Downing Street. Calling for a reduction in power from the centre, he will call for greater restrictions on the 'power and discretion of the executive".