King Charles should have used his new power to cancel the bank holiday, says Michael Booker
Published: 07/05/2023- 21:59
Updated: 07/05/2023- 22:21
IT’S the dawning of a new era.
Loyal subjects lining the streets of London while millions watched on TVs the length and breadth of Britain to see the consecration of a King.
A magnificent moment in time as a pandemic and cost-of-living ravaged nation look forward with hope to a bold and brilliant Carolean age.
But I’m afraid it’s getting off to the worst possible start.
King Charles was in good spirits
That’s right, a bloody Bank Holiday.
If anything can put the break on the momentum it’s a big, boring old British Bank Holiday.
As a journalist working in national newspapers and telly for the last 20-odd years it’s rare that I’ve had one off in the first place.
But when I have, and not forgetting the ones I had before joining the world of work, they’ve been challenging.
Her Majesty Queen Camilla was crowned in the Coronation ChairPA
As a kid one saw me get shot up the backside by a ‘friend’ with an air rifle while another – during an interminable drive to the packed British seaside – saw me find a large bee INSIDE my flappy Alan Partridge-style short shorts while sat in traffic.
It’s something that has given me a lifelong fear of bees and – more fortunately as it worked out – a lifelong fear of flappy, short shorts.
But it’s not just my Bank Holiday misfortune that puts me off them.
In a time when working from home and four-day-weeks are increasing in popularity who needs another slightly worse version of Sunday but with even less to do apart from drink heavily.
I know we think we’ve had it tough recently, but they were invented in the 1800s when a national day off was a life changer for everyone wanting 24 hours off from trying to avoid getting trapped in the death trap early machinery of the Industrial revolution or getting rickets.
It’s also bearing in mind the bloke who invented them in 1871 – philanthropist, scientist, and banker Sir John Lubbock.
Sir John was a bit of a polymath – think a bearded 19th Century Elon Musk but without a penchant for inventing expensive machines that are prone to bursting into flames at any moment or labelling cave rescuers paedophiles.
Anyway, Sir John came up with the Bank Holidays Act of 1871 to help ease the pressure on workers with an extra four days off – at that point on Easter Monday, the first Monday in August, Whit Monday, and Boxing Day.
And what do we think Sir John did in his spare time?
He had a pet wasp.
Yes, you read that right.
He found the wasp, that is exhibited in the National History Museum, in the Spanish mountains when he was on holiday in 1872.
He put it in a bottle and brought it back to Britain, but not before he let it out while on the train home where it almost attacked the ticket collectors.
As I said before, there really wasn’t much to do apart from work in the 1800s and the fact the inventor of the Bank Holiday filled his time off bothering wasps is illustrative of that.
What I’m trying to say is that the Carolean age needed to get off with a bang.
Everybody getting up bright and early after the glorious Coronation and getting out to put their shoulders to the wheel, working hard trying to get Britain back where it belongs.
The Queen was Elizabeth, and we attached the ‘an’ onto the endPA
Instead, the Carolean Age starts as flat as some of the singing at Sunday night’s Coronation concert at Windsor Castle.
While we’re at it I’ve also got a problem with the word Carolean.
You knew where you were with ‘Elizabethan’, it made sense.
The Queen was Elizabeth, and we attached the ‘an’ onto the end.
Simple and easy to understand.
First of all, have you ever actually heard anyone use it in a conversation?
Secondly, if you did it is only ever going to be the sort of word that elicits the sarcastic response “Carolean? Oooooh fancy, who swallowed the dictionary then?”
Thirdly, who’s Carol?
If I was the King I’d be furious.
Unless he’s identifying differently these days, he’s a Charles – Charlie or Chas at a push – but not a Carol.
Anyway, I digress, the fact is Britain should be back at work today.
The King should have used his newfound power to decree that we put down the quiche and get our lazy backsides out of the door.
So today, when he’s knocking about the Palace humming Lionel Richie’s All Night Long in between wistful mentions of how good Penny Mordaunt looked with that sword (like all the other dads up and down the country) and how he’s looking forward to being Tom Cruise’s wingman, he’ll only have himself to blame when Camilla gets annoyed and orders him out to mow the lawn.