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

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
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

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style