Saturday, November 03, 2007

When is a Public Holiday Not a Public Holiday?

…When not everyone gets it off. The SNPs latest plan to promote independence is to create a Scottish Winter Festival starting with St. Andrew’s Day (30 November) running through Hogmanay (31 December) and culminating in Burns Night (25 January). Nothing wrong in that, but it will take a lot more than the £6,000 they are spending sending information packs, which include flags, have been sent to nurseries and universities, while leaflets have gone out to schools suggesting ways to celebrate St Andrew.

It will take many years of solid thought through marketing by VisitScotland and others to get this message out across the world. However, I dare say it's more about political posturing than really expecting anything very significant to happen. It's also another example of political fudging as, for a start, St Andrew's Day is till not going to be a public holiday. This year, only public servants have the option of a half-day St Andrew's Day holiday, but in 2008 all civil servants will get the day off and it is 'hoped businesses will follow suit". It's been said that people can swap another public holiday for the St. Andrew's day but this is just confusing and plain daft. If they really meant business they would go the whole hog and make it a public holiday.

Let's hope the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations don't get called off for a third year in a row otherwise this will be a rather inauspicious start to the SNP's Winter Festival.

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