Friday, April 08, 2011
The placebo effect of a royal wedding
I have only just found out - significantly later than most of my compatriots, it would appear - that Friday, April 29, 2011 has been declared a public holiday in the UK to celebrate the wedding of Mr William Wales and Ms Catherine Middleton, respectively a 28-year-old helicopter pilot from Gloucestershire, and a 29-year-old occasional photographer from Berkshire.
It will be a day of national exuberance, patriotic fervour and knees-up street parties of a breed not seen since a certain mono-bollocked Austrian corporal shot himself and Europe rapidly descended into peace and tranquility in the spring of 1945. In preparation, grannies the length and breadth of Britain have been buying commemorative tea towels, coffee mugs and sticks of rock in irrelevant gestures of support for the royal nuptials.
OK. Super. But when Britain's finances remain about as robust as a binge-drinking Essex girl trying to walk down Harlow High Street at closing time, Her Majesty's Government has effectively pulled a sickie on the national economy, as the workforce takes an enforced day off, regardless of their view on royalty.
At risk of sounding like an embittered Spartist, the public holiday smacks of a Victorian placebo: "Let's give the proles a day off to wave flags, watch the telly and eat jelly in the street - they'll soon feel better about things after that."
Actually, it's the last thing Britain needs: with a long Easter weekend just a week before, having everyone take another day off, especially just to watch two people getting married at the taxpayer's expense, is madness and will cost millions in lost productivity.
Constitutionally, William's wedding to Kate, three weeks from today, will be as important as anyone's betrothal should be. But is it really worthy of the country collectively downing tools for the day?