So they’re back again, the latter-day Puritans whose warped work ethic maintains that unless you’re on the verge of stroke or nervous breakdown, you’re not working hard enough.
Like the harridan who keeps her eyes shut during lovemaking because she can’t bear watching men enjoy themselves, nothing exercises these curmudgeons of commerce like the fact that at least four times a year, the workforce is spared that Monday morning feeling.
Just as football commentators can’t seem to let a major final pass these days without informing us how much money it’s worth to the winner, so Cromwell’s cohorts can’t just sit back and enjoy a bank holiday with the rest of us but instead must make clear exactly how many billions of pounds in lost labour are going down the pan with each tick of the clock.
Newsflash for them and Clive Tyldesley alike: we don’t give a toss.
Some of us happen to measure life in more than just pounds and pence. Some of us know exactly what William Henry Davies was getting at when he wrote, What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare? Some of us, what’s more, have the wit and imagination to know exactly how to spend those precious Mondays and wedging our head up our rear ends to bewail a dent in the GDP isn’t it.
What do you want for this po-faced breast-beating exactly? A medal?
And spare me the smokescreen about how scrapping Bank Holidays gives workers the freedom to use the days elsewhere in the year, as additional annual leave. Some of us, to our shame and irritation, never enjoy annual leave quite as much as we do a bank holiday, for there is no guilt attached to the latter. Everyone is off on a bank holiday, whereas annual leave is our day and no-one else’s and deep in our subconscious, a little voice does its damnedest to make us feel bad about it.
Who saddled us with that irrational guilt complex? The same kind of neurotic bosses who like to rain on everyone’s parade whenever a long weekend comes along.
We need a T-shirt for these executive Scrooges. Something with ‘Hello Bank Holiday, goodbye £19bn’ on the chest. Make it bright red; loud and unmissable, so that whenever the wearer enters a bar, the rest of us can leave. Before they ruin that experience too.
- Does the UK have too many bank holidays? (itv.com)