Banking holidays

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The Independent Online

We may not have joined the euro, but in other respects Britain is already well on the way to joining Europe. New Year is increasing in importance every year. In a secular society, Christmas is almost eclipsed. We cannot help noting that, as we sit at our computer screens in London's deserted Docklands, the entire population – emergency services apart – seems to be snoring off a collective hangover at home.

We may not have joined the euro. In other respects, however, Britain is already well on the way to joining Europe. New Year is increasing in importance every year. In a secular society, Christmas is almost eclipsed. We cannot help noting that, as we sit at our computer screens in London's deserted Docklands, the entire population – emergency services apart – seems to be snoring off a collective hangover at home.

Which leads us to make a suggestion which (we admit) is in danger of appearing "bah! humbug!" Scrooge-ish. Rather than allowing the country to grind entirely to a halt for up to 10 days, perhaps we should instead follow the example of our European neighbours in cutting out the meaningless Boxing Day holiday (how many people do you know who box up their presents on 26 December?). We would then have a Christmas and a New Year holiday and even (shocking though the proposal may seem) have time for a day or two of work in between.

Then again, perhaps not. Let us celebrate all the holidays that we can lay our hands on – and blow the cost to the economy. Next year, though, the Third Leader Department would like a lie-in, too.

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