Monday, May 01, 2017

May Day Anniversary

At the beginning of May during a previous period when Labour had been out of office for a few years and their chances of getting back anytime soon were not looking particularly good, the New Scientist magazine dedicated the weekly edition of the cartoon strip they were then running, "Albert the experimental rat" to the May Day bank holiday.

Against a backdrop of traditional and ancient activities and symbols like Morris Dancers and Maypoles ...

the cartoon suggested that May Day was a holiday whose origins were lost in the midst of time, when British people acted out ancient rituals in homage to ancient and half forgotten powers ...

And against a background of somebody reading a newspaper version of "Ye Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" with the headline "Wilson declares May Day bank holiday," they finished the sentence with

"... such as Labour governments"

The left in Britain, particularly the moderate wing of the Labour party, is currently getting a bit emotional over today's 20th anniversary of the election of Tony Blair's Labour government in 1997.

They are welcome to do so, but I refuse to get too excited over the memory of a man who rode popular desire for change to a huge majority through some highly astute rebranding and a mastery of spin and character assassination, a majority with which he could have done anything; but left behind a legacy of constitutional tinkering for party political advantage which failed to achieve even that, the Iraq war which ranks with Suez as Britain's worst foreign policy debacles since WWII, and a population even more disillusioned with and disengaged from the political class than it was before.

Yet there is an anniversary worth celebrating today - the three hundred and tenth anniversary of the Acts of Union in 1707 which created the nation of Great Britain. I hope this is something we will be able to celebrate for many years still to come.

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