Robin Walker MP has confirmed that there are no current plans for a new national holiday, despite over 20,000 people signing a petition on the Government’s website for June 23 to become the British Independence Day.
In a Yahoo News article, Walker is quoted saying that he Government “has no current plans to create another permanent UK bank holiday”.
According to Walker, a new bank holiday would cost businesses over £1 billion.
“Unfortunately it’s just too costly, in the view of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy, to introduce another holiday at this stage”, Walker said in a Westminster Hall debate. “When they analysed the impact of the additional holiday for the Diamond Jubilee, they found that it cost employers over £1 billion.”
In the same debate, Walker also proposed that it would be difficult to agree on a date for a new permanent UK bank holiday. “Tempting though that might be, I think the idea of an independence day would face fierce competition from the likes of St George’s Day, Trafalgar Day and many more,” he said. “It’s very hard to commit to June 23 over its many rivals.”
Saint George over Independence Day?
During the Tudor period, Saint George was established as the patron saint of England, based on the warrior saint’s popularity during the times of the Crusades and the Hundred Years’ War. In the High Middle Ages, he was not considered a patron saint of England and the saint most closely associated with England was instead Edward the Confessor.
God for Harry, England, and Saint George!
Saint George became the primary patron saint of England during the English Reformation, when all saints’ banners except for Saint George’s were abolished. In 1606, Saint George’s Cross was combined with the Scottish Saint Andrew’s Cross to form the Union Jack.
The veneration of Saint George declined among the English populace during the 1700s. When the Royal Society of St. George was founded in 1894, it was an attempt to revive the tradition of celebrating Saint George on 23 April and utilize him as a symbol for English culture and identity.
April 23 is the traditionally accepted date of Saint George’s death in AD 303.