Kate Simon: Hands off bank holidays...unless you're adding one

Travel view

So, tourism chiefs want to move the first of the May bank holidays to the autumn.

After all, with four of our Bank holidays landing in April and May in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (three in Scotland), wouldn't it be more useful for Britain's tourism industry if one of them fell later in the year?

The tourism minister, John Penrose, is open to the idea of ditching the traditional May Day holiday for a day off later in the year. He's reported – in true let's-all-pull-together speak – as saying that an autumn bank holiday, possibly branded UK Day, "would not only help the [tourism] industry but also give us all a new focus for celebrating the best of what this country does, and all the things that make us a world-class nation".

Of course, the Government would rejoice at junking a holiday dedicated to workers' solidarity at a time when its austerity measures are beginning to hit the homes of every working person in the country. But, while urging that careful consideration be given to the idea, Mr Penrose adds that "if people decide they'd rather hang on to the May Day holiday, then so be it". So, it's change May Day, or put up with the long slog from the August Bank holiday to Christmas Day.

Truth is, May Day is always identified as the bank holiday to move. Its roots may be pagan, but what sticks in the craw of some business folk and politicians is that this holiday was introduced by a Labour government in the 1970s and is associated with International Labour Day, a celebration of the struggle of working people. And to rebrand a Bank holiday as UK Day or Trafalgar Day would be the icing on the cake for a Prime Minister trying to push the dangerous old argument that multiculturalism hasn't worked and the only way to defeat terrorism is enforced patriotism.

I say leave May Day alone. The tourism industry should be lobbying the Government to give us an extra day off in autumn instead. As Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC, said last week, we could all do with another public holiday because, as it is, we've got the "stingiest allocation in Europe".


Glasgow restaurant The Ubiquitous Chip is celebrating its 40th birthday with a very unusual offering – the world's first 3D dining experience. Next month, the groundbreaking eaterie will roll out a menu entitled "Ingr3dients", which allows diners to enjoy special dishes while interacting with digital art installations by Alasdair Gray and Debs Norton, featuring Morag the Highland Cow, a leaping salmon, and a flock of wood pigeons.

A friend and I once went to a restaurant where the management saw fit to let a trumpeter wander the room to improvise against a jazz CD on the sound system. After we'd stopped crying with laughter from the sheer pretentiousness of it all, we spent the rest of the evening acquiring a headache from having to shout to hold a conversation. I wish The Ubiquitous Chip a happy birthday, but I must admit I prefer to dine out where entertainment isn't on the menu.

Do you have a travel issue? Email sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas