It is fine to add an extra days’ holiday at Christmas and Easter but what are May Day, Spring Holiday and the Late Summer Holiday all about?
In the days long gone when the working week averaged sixty to seventy hours, it was understandable to have an occasional extra day off to re-charge batteries. Today the working week has been slashed in half, effectively leaving many under occupied and hardly in need of additional days off.
Bank Holidays are now blamed for unnecessary disruption to the working week, reducing the UK’s productivity and often causing chaos on the roads. Perhaps those questioning the purpose of them should be listened to.
As has been suggested, the way forward could be to allow individuals and families to choose four additional days off at a time to suit them rather than prescriptive Bank Holidays. This would put an end to motorway congestion and holiday companies adding a surcharge to families booking holidays over Bank Holiday weekends. It would also address the matter of lost productivity and disruption to businesses.
The outcome of last week’s local and European elections had been well predicted. The message was coming through loud and clear that the electorate wanted to send the mainstream party leaders a message and they certainly did that.
The public consider the political ‘elite’ to be aloof, disconnected and often unaware of the realities of life, and what the man on the street really thinks.
Then along comes Mr Farage with his plain speaking no nonsense, anti EU and anti-bureaucracy manifesto. Plus his ability to voice what many people are thinking without causing too much offence, and hey presto he hits the jack pot.
As the weekend papers have reported fulsomely, the public have well and truly sent out their message. They want to he heard and are no longer prepared to be dictated to by politicians who do not listen, but consider they know what is best for us.
The concern is that if the same protest takes place at next year’s General Election, we could wake up to find that by default Ed Millband and his chum Ed Balls have the keys to Nos 10 and 11 Downing Street.
Having coped with the austerity packages introduced in an attempt to clear up their previous mess, which has been hard but has proved effective, do we really want these two rolling the dice and leading the country down the snake to economic turmoil once again? Perhaps it is better to continue up the recovery ladder and hope things will continue to improve.
It is quite obvious that David Cameron and Nigel Farage will never make happy bed fellows, they clearly despise each other. However, for the sake of our future and to safeguard the vote in the promised referendum, it is surely essential that over the next twelve months they find a way to combine their best qualities and policies.
The calls for the Prime Minister to bring forward the referendum may persuade the public that he genuinely wishes to give the public the opportunity to decide in or out of Europe. The public want to believe him but it is quite obvious that on Europe and immigration they plainly don’t. It is however clear that by voting UKIP again in 2015 the opportunity for that referendum will escape our grasp.
If ever we needed proof that planners and politicians give greater consideration and importance to the environment and wildlife than the public, there is no greater example than the proposals to expand both Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
The lives and businesses of those living below and around the immediate take-off and landing areas of both airports have been blighted for years. The prospect of increasing the disruption and distress of those affected by the noise, pollution and problems caused by incoming and outgoing traffic, would be magnified out of all proportion if either proposal were to go ahead.
There is little recognition or even lip service paid to the disruption and anguish of those whose homes, businesses and lives will be destroyed as they are thrown off their land to make way for these airport expansions and developments.
However if crested newts, slowworms, rare orchids or even a colony of badgers were to suffer the same fate all hell would be let loose. Any suggestion that they should be uprooted from their habitats would be fought tooth and nail.
No such consideration is reserved for the farmers, landowners, home owners and businesses, there is no powerful focus group or government department to protect them.
It is perhaps time that government, blue sky thinkers and the planners stopped looking short term and hiding behind consultants. They should be looking ahead to the next hundred years and recognise the need for a whole new concept in aviation and travel. Boris’ far sighted, radical and practical vision for the Estuary Airport should be embraced and developed quickly. This is the Twenty First Century, not the Nineteenth, it is time to move forward, create an airport appropriate for our time and those to come and abandon the sticking plaster.
Carola Godman Irvine