A National Day

With the Jubilee weekend just gone it’s a good time to think about what we are, and how we celebrate as a nation.  The Jubilee has proved a great opportunity for local neighbourhoods to come together in street parties, for local communities to decorate town centres and hold festivals, and for the nation to celebrate as a whole.

We all know July the 4th when the USA celebrates, most of us have heard of Bastille Day, France’s national day.  Thailand, the Netherlands and Belgium all celebrate days associated with past kings as their national days.  In the case of Belgium this is more confusing as Belgium is really a country of two nations who frankly don’t get on.

Like the US, Sri Lanka, Botswana, Nigeria, Malaysia and Burma, and many others all celebrate their national day, as the day they gained independence from Britain. 

Brazil celebrates it’s independence from Portugal, most of the rest of South American national days celebrate independence from Spain.  Australia celebrates the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, New Zealand celebrates the Treaty of Waitangi, and Canada the British North America Act of 1867.  Whatever the countries reason only 2 nations in the world, the UK and Denmark don’t have national days of celebration.

As a nation, a community, we benefit from coming together and celebrating what unites us.  As a fast-changing nation we need to find opportunities to come together as one and celebrate our commonality.  What’s more with a nation with the history of the United Kingdom, a national day can be used to celebrate many of the values we as liberty lovers hold dear.

Now I should start by saying we will likely be asked to celebrate the NHS, this happens at every opportunity and to be fair it does unite many in the nation as a cause for celebration.  But a national day would go further than that.  I would propose a national day should as a starting point celebrate the ‘British Values’ as laid out in the National Curriculum.  These being:

  • Democracy
  • Rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of Those With Different Faiths And Beliefs

These already have political acceptance, are being taught in schools and are hard to disagree with, and are key British traits.  I would hope all readers of this journal could get behind them.  After a number of years of government and politicians trying to overturn a democratic vote, removing our liberty, and showing no respect for those with different beliefs on for instance medical treatments, it might be good to have these values brought to the forefront once a year.

All this leaves to decide is when do we have the day.  We already have hardly celebrated Mayday and Spring Bank Holiday days, we could simply move one of these to early September or late June / early July to give us a reasonable chance of a warm day to celebrate our nation. 

And if all else fails it’s just a better-timed excuse to have a day off, and maybe, like the Jubilee weekend raise a toast to the Queen.

Photo: Edward Orde, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This article also appeared in Blacklist Press’ Free Speech for 1st August 2022.