Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Saving May Day

His Grace is compelled to say that he completely agrees with Brendan Barber and the TUC.

Though for very different reasons.

It is reported that there is some plot afoot to abolish the May Day bank holiday in favour of a ‘UK Day’ (or some such) in October. There is to be a White Paper on the proposal by the end of this month, followed by a public consultation on this ‘Tourism Strategy’(?).

It is nice to be consulted (if not listened to), so His Grace will get his tuppence ha'penny worth in first, and then he’ll shut up.

Firstly, he would like to dispense with Brendan Barber’s superficial appeal to the Socialist origins of this celebration; and ‘origins’ is something of an overstatement, considering they are barely a century old. The ‘International Workers' Day’ emanates from 1886 when workers and police in Chicago exchanged bombs and bullets during a general strike for an eight-hour working day. Sad and distressing as this may be, it is hardly worthy of a global annual celebration. After all, we don’t get a ‘Tory Day’, or an ‘International Managers’ Day’ or ‘Wealth Creators’ Day’. The idea of a special day for union demonstrations is really nothing to do with the nation’s culture, and it has been somewhat hijacked over recent years by anti-capitalist demonstrators intent on smashing the windows of McDonald’s and urinating on Churchill’s statue.

But the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is intent on establishing a ‘UK Day’ and they are determined to place it in October ‘to help the tourism industry’.

Perhaps Jeremy Hunt would like to explain how an October bank holiday is likely to boost tourism. Does he anticipate hordes of French crossing the Channel to commemorate ‘Trafalgar Day’? Who would journey here specially to participate in such an event?

Tourism Minister John Penrose takes a swipe at the ‘Tory backwoodsmen’ who ‘have a bee in their bonnet about the May Day bank holiday because of its association with international labour day’. He then proceeds to inform us that it is ‘a traditional British celebration dating back to the 4th Century’.

Of course, he doesn’t say a word about the Christian significance of the day: he doesn’t mention Roodmas, which was traditionally celebrated in England at midnight on 1st May as one of the principal agricultural festivals, along with Plough Sunday and Harvest Festival. He doesn’t mention the Feast Day of St Philip and St James, who became the patron saints of workers. For Mr Penrose, May Day segues from Pagan England to Labour Day like the Constitution for Europe shifts seamlessly from Greece and Rome to the Enlightenment: Christianity is airbrushed out as though it were an embarrassing aberration.

The true origins of May Day are thoroughly Pagan: the notions of May Queens, Maypoles and Morris Dancers with their ribbons and bells are celebrations of Anglo Saxon fertility which are deeply embedded in the English psyche as much as Shakespeare and the Monarchy. Villages hold their fêtes and rural communities revel into the morning hours in celebration of this heritage. This is England, to which millions of tourists flock every year. And you can’t eradicate or supplant this to October by something as ephemeral as an Act of Parliament.

It is not possible to manufacture or manipulate a national day of celebration, at least without some sort of cultural Marxist revolutionary imposition. Such celebrations develop incrementally and embed themselves over long centuries. If the Coalition understood culture, they would grant England her St George’s Day, and fuse it with a national commemoration of the greatest literary soul who ever walked the earth. The British will celebrate their Shakespeare long before they will be cajoled into some sort of British 4th July.

Especially if it is situated during the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (and downpours) of October.

But the irony which appears to have escaped Jeremy Hunt and his Department of Culture is that the perfect day to establish ‘UK Day’ would actually be 1st May.

For it was on 1st May 1707 that the Act of Union came into effect, forever joining England and Scotland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

So let us move forward like Conservatives, in accord with the grand chorus of national harmony, consonant with the beautiful order of our mores and traditions. And leave the cultural vandalism and social manipulation to the socialists and ignorant revolutionaries.


Blogger john in cheshire said...

YG, for what it's worth, I agree with you.

8 February 2011 at 10:19  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I love the May ones exactly where they are. We could always move one of the Easter ones to October instead if we have to. That extra long weekend seems to cause havoc with people's food shopping anyway. :)

8 February 2011 at 10:37  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...


8 February 2011 at 10:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about re-introducing the Wicker Man on Parliament Green and inviting the Jeremy Hunt along?

8 February 2011 at 10:44  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

The TUC previously called for an October Bank Holiday, an additional holiday of course. A better idea than moving the 1 May date and helps us creep up to the European average rather being at the bottom of the league as usual:

8 February 2011 at 10:46  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

As one who does not subscribe to the Venomous Bede's polemic which attributes to Augustine of Canterbury the "Re-Christianising" England because the Celtic Church was doing very nicely, thank you - it just didn't acknowledge Rome as 'Head,' I would also disagree with the attribution of the origins of May Day to some Pagan festival.

Your Grace has identified several of the many, now sadly uncelebrated, feasts that gave rise to the holding of Fayres, Markets and Festivals in the Early Christian Church. Perhaps the new UK Day, to avoid upsetting the French, could be held around the time of Michaelmas? Or would that 'upset' the Muslim community who also happen to 'celebrate' the Archangel...

8 February 2011 at 11:49  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
Most of the festivals & holidays that exist in this country have their origin in the pagan past so I feel it matters little what date they fall on or what significance is attributed to them.
However from a purely practical viewpoint, I agree that having a barbicue or outdoor party in a wet howling gale is not likely to attract many participants.
As usual, someone has come up with a 'good' idea that if thought through for a millisecond would be exposed for the lunacy that it is.
Thus proving the old saying " If people think you are stupid don't open your mouth and prove them right".

8 February 2011 at 11:50  
Anonymous i albion said...

St George's Day! 23rd April it is also Shakespeares Birthday,whats not to like about that?( this of course will be in England only, the rest of the devolved nations will hold their own "Day", sorted

8 February 2011 at 12:17  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Switch to the lunar calendar, with its year of around 354 days, and May Day would occasionally occur in October, satisfying both Cranmer and Hunt.

8 February 2011 at 13:35  
Blogger Gnostic said...

You'd think this stupid bloody government would have more important matters to consider...

8 February 2011 at 14:14  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

May I suggest Multiculturalism day? (runs for cover.......)

8 February 2011 at 15:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas morris dancing is nothing related to pagan fertility rites.
A common misunderstanding, which with a little research can be found to be false.

8 February 2011 at 16:11  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Yes indeed YG our folk need to reconnect with our roots, the seasons and the land.

It would be wonderful to see festivals, real traditions that have been slowly repressed celebrated with gusto in traditional fayre.

For this is the day that the Lord hath made.

8 February 2011 at 18:20  
Anonymous Taylor said...

Oh YG - it was all going so well - And then:

"leave the cultural vandalism and social manipulation to the socialists and ignorant revolutionaries."

Such unabashed irony that even Mr Graham Davis might blush!

I was about to conclude with a hearty: "Look forward to your next post." But I see I should rethink.


8 February 2011 at 18:33  
Anonymous HenryJ said...

UK Day,your Grace,surely a broken Britain day,or a better choice a corrupt politician's day when we can throw bad eggs at them whilst they are in the stocks or even We don't want to be in the EU day,I think that would be a hit in England.

8 February 2011 at 18:36  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Bred: "It would be wonderful to see festivals, real traditions that have been slowly repressed celebrated with gusto in traditional fayre."

I hope this isn't about people picnicking while former archbishops and assorted clergy are immolated for treason and heresy? We've had quite enough of that in our history to last us for a while. :O

8 February 2011 at 18:54  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

And not always without good reason Danjo


8 February 2011 at 19:18  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Hm, a potential business opportunity for someone: October-poles!

Perhaps the ribbons will be of a russet hue?

8 February 2011 at 19:23  
Anonymous Celtic Christain said...

Well said Gray Monk. There are time when I feel that we are still picking up the mess left be Augustine of Canterbury

8 February 2011 at 19:41  
Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

The papist invaders of 1066 did more damage than Augustine.

8 February 2011 at 20:38  
Blogger oldmaid said...

Yes, I read about this yesterday.

It appears the Telegraph have removed the bloggers comments from the article?

So again I, spout

Tourism and October in the UK don't mix. Fact.

Do the politicians really think the tourists and us will be convinced to take our holiday in Britain, as we head toward winter?

We have been known to have snow in October!

Ooh lovely, let's go down to the beach and make snow castles!

However, tourism and May do go together. Another fact.

May Day heralds the emergence of the Morris Dancers, an ancient tradition that now only exists in Britain and some of us (younger ones) have been known and still do, dance around the Maypole on this day. It is also the day that heralds the start of our outdoor fairs, fetes and gatherings.

It is idiosyncratic to England and the morons want to get rid of it!!

This is no more than a spurious attempt to make each european country as anaemic as the next; all in the name of 'uniformity' and 'unity'!

If Cameron wants to prove he meant what said at the weekend in Munich, he will not even attempt to take this ancient tradition and holiday away.

If this was just more of his hand-wringing empty soundbite appeasing, this will make so many people cross, the same ones who are currently at boiling point, not least because of his hand-wringing empty soundbites.

8 February 2011 at 21:19  
Blogger oldmaid said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 February 2011 at 21:38  
Blogger oldmaid said...

I believe Thomas Hardy made a mention of this Day in his wonderful classic 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'.

Are they also going to come up with some spurious mindless justification to get rid of his and others works that refer to this ancient traditions as well

A bonfire perhaps...

8 February 2011 at 21:57  
Blogger outsider said...

Your Grace's case for May 1 is impeccable, especially about the Act of Union.
If we are to move to October, however, it must surely be St Crispin's Day. St Crispin is the patron saint of cobblers, which has a certain resonance: the day when folk traditionally bought their winter boots. Festivals of the Boot would be appropriate.
For the touristically inclined, there would be charabanc trips across the Channel to celebrate our great Pyrrhic victory at Agincourt during the Mediaeval Warm Period.
The clocks would go back, bringing winter darkness and most would just lie abed in England, realising they were accursed.

9 February 2011 at 01:46  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

All of this kind of thing is part of the commie agenda to strip our culture from us,in exactly the same way that the proposed "bill of rights"is intended to do,it is not about enhancing our culture,it is to disenfranchise the English people from what is thiers and put us into the same status as the invaders,so that there is no difference,no deep comitment to your own land,to become another grain of sand on the elites beach,no loyalty,no history,our lives miserably expended for greedy criminal profit,then cast aside to die in filth in what used to be known as a hospital,but now resembles a zoo.

9 February 2011 at 08:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm involved with helping with May Bank holiday events for a small tourist attraction, several years into the future. Regular visitors have gotten used to coming to us on that bank holiday....if it is suddenly withdrawn, it will cost us money in terms of visitor admissions and purchases....not to mention the costs of having to reprint all our advertising leaflets.
October is the back-end of the tourist season. If they want a UK Day, fine, but leave the May Day alone for heaven's sake, it will cost small organisations like ours a ton of money to change.

9 February 2011 at 10:08  
Anonymous non mouse said...

For the first time since I began following this blog, I must disagree strongly with Gnostic.

We have to find something nastier. Our lamp posts deserve better; and piano wire is too good for them

9 February 2011 at 15:20  
Anonymous non mouse said...

sorry about my absent pronoun reference...
'them' = DC et al, of course (not the lamp posts).

9 February 2011 at 16:19  
Blogger Weekend Yachtsman said...

21st October would be the perfect date.

We could all drink toasts like "May Boney grow bonier than ever" and "Death and confusion to the EU" and such like, while remembering our finest hours (all of them) and our greatest hero.

And if the French don't come, well that was kind of the whole idea, don't you know?

11 February 2011 at 20:37  

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