Whilst the media had a feeding frenzy over the state of our weather last week, our government chose to announce we're getting another Bank Holiday (aka public holiday) ... in 2012. I'm wondering if they carefully choose days to bury good news as well as bad. What do you think?
Assuming our illustrious sovereign keeps going for another 2 years, we'll be having Tuesday, June 5th off to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. The late May Bank Holiday will be moved to the Monday, so we'll have a long weekend, just like we did for the Golden Jubilee in 2002. Order your bunting and start organising your street party now!
My beautiful RHS diary has a fascinating page at the back showing all the public holidays of various European countries. France has 14, Germany 17 and Spain 16. Lithuania has the most with a whopping 18 and the average across the 28 countries listed is 13.9. We get a miserly 8 most years (as does poor Romania), though Northern Ireland manages 10 public holidays per year, and Scotland's MSPs voted in 2006 in favour of a voluntary extra day off to mark St. Andrews Day, so actually we're not that consistent across Britain.
I always feel a bit grumpy after reading that part of my diary, but I'm heartened to hear there is a growing lobby for us to have an extra public holiday on a regular basis. The TUC are leading the campaign and a recent survey shows that the majority of 150 MPs asked are in favour too. I've often seen Armistice Day in November suggested for this: I would agree as long as the day focused on peace rather than war. I'm much more in favour of the campaign for us to have a Community Day on the last Monday in October.
A number of companies, including the most recent one I worked for already have a similar scheme where employees are given an extra day off per year for voluntary service. No activity approved = no extra day off. In many cases it's turned into a team building exercise where everyone turns out for a project, such as decorating a local community centre. These organisations already recognise this kind of activity delivers real benefits to their company in addition to the many thousands of extra volunteer hours available to make a difference somewhere.
If that's the case for the more enlightened companies, then why not extend the concept nationwide? It would be a day of positive action and also break up the long run from our August Bank Holiday up to Christmas. If you think we can't afford it as a nation, then have a look at the arguments for having such a day here.
Do you think it's a good idea? If it happens would you spend the day as suggested, or perhaps you see it as a good excuse for an extra lie-in, or maybe something else?