Friday, July 04, 2008


Happy Independence Day to the rebellious colony! 

I think it about time we in Britain had a specific holiday to commemorate the great deeds this country has achieved in the past. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed. Maybe we could kick off with Darwin's 200th birthday next year and have a day off every year thereafter on that date?

Or Faraday day.
Or Agincourt day.
Or Newton day.
Nightingale day.

Or all of them!

8:08 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I agree despite the fact that as a retired pensioner everyday is a holiday to me. ;0)

8:32 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

I do so agree, Norm. The first possibility that came to my mind was Magna Carta Day, and that seemed so obviously right at this time of all times that I didn't bother to forage for other possibilities.

"And still when mob or Monarch lays
Too rude a hand on English ways,
The whisper wakes, the shudder plays
Across the reeds at Runnymede"

Well, Rudyard, it hasn't quite been like that lately, but it should, especially given the mobs that have been playing Monarch in Westminster, Washington and elsewhere these past years. In Britain and the US, in the lands of the Commonwealth, and even in countries that have never had a common law legal system, the Great Charter of Liberties symbolizes the values of the common law and the principles of the rule of law. And it is such a symbol we need now, a time in which executive arms of government are riding roughshod over the principles of law, circumventing the legislative bodies, and threatening the independence of the judiciary. The objection can be made that the Magna Carta is English, not British, but the charter and what ensued from it has been of such influence over so much of the globe that it is supranational in significance. And why not enshrine something English anyway? The other parts of the United Kingdom have celebrations of their own national treasures, as they rightly should.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for that. As an American who had the pleasure of living for a while in the UK, I've never understood the lack of a single national holiday to mark all the best of Britain.

If it was my choice, I'd opt for the Magna Carta. Like the Declaration of Independence, it was more a challenge to the future than a statement of reality.

And don't forget, the Declaration was written and promulgated by folks who considered themselves to be English.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oddly enough, that very question crossed my mind today as I returned from a week on North Carolina's Outer Banks with a carful of Canadians. My countries of birth and residence are so young that their seminal events are easy to date and commemorate. What event or person or phenomenon would Britain choose as emblematic of their nations' ancient history? Boudicca? Alfred? Vortigern, which would both honor a seminal phenomenon in British history and display the sort of ironic and self-effacing humor not normally associated with national holidays?

Magna Carta Day occurred to me as one possible British counterpart to Independence Day and Canada Day. But is the document's immense symbolic weight enough to counteract the fact that so little of it remains part of British law (one article, I think), not to mention that a document that put power into the hands of barons might not resonate all that strongly today?

Forgive me if my suggested names will sound too American, but perhaps Britain could celebrate a national holiday called Constitution Day or, more broadly, Liberty Day. This day could celebrate any and all of the named persons or events already suggested as well as, perhaps, such a great ruler as Henry II, though churchmen might object to the latter.

And celebrate this holiday on -- when else? -- June 15.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

8:45 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thank you all for your suggestions. I have a suspicion that if a new national holiday was designated it might be a Maastricht Treaty Day or a Lisbon Constitution/Treaty Ratification Day.

I personally would have either an Armada, Battle of Britain, Trafalgar, or El Alamein Day as these were definitive victories that had more to do with our present freedoms than Magna Carta.

And when we say we've always won
And when they ask how it's done,
We'll proudly point to everyone
Of England's soldiers of the Queen [Traditional]

That's enough Victorian jingoism for a Sunday morning but of course we do have a statue of General Sir Redvers Buller [ 'he's an absent minded beggar and his weaknesses are great'; oops another attack of the Kiplings] outside Exeter College so you will have to forgive me.

3:59 AM  

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