Ladies and Gentlemen, I realise that you come to this particular space for solutions, not problems. You might be prepared to contemplate, mingled in among the incisive analysis and lapidary judgement, the odd carp, but only if it is accompanied by a typically imaginative and inspiring remedy.
I produce this preface because I want to address you about Christmas, the increasingly early advent of which is as tedious as commentators writing about it. Nevertheless, as more and more people joined the queue at the Post Office yesterday afternoon and watched as two of the counter staff put up their decorations, I did have time to come up with something. In fact, I had time to come up with several somethings, but only this one is pertinent.
In America, I thought, premature Christmas celebration is prevented by the earlier festivities attending Thanksgiving. So all we need to do is come up with our own late November celebration. The proposal also has the merit of deflecting the predictable accusations of scroogery from determined jollifiers and commercial interests.
These, then, are my initial suggestions: 1. Ninety Day, a celebration of our ancient liberties before it's too late. 2. Shopping Day. 3. Responsible Round The Clock Drinking Day. 4. Sick Day. 5. St Andrew's Day, 30 November, when we could all celebrate either being, or not being, Scottish. 6. Today Egg Cup Day. 7. Half Day, in honour of our gift for compromise. 8. Away Day. 9. Good Day, widening Children in Need, but only if Terry Wogan agrees. 10. Doris Day, a celebration of our senior citizens. White Paper, please!