Should St Piran’s Day be a Bank Holiday?

Celebrations from last year's St Piran's Day Photo:

*As dozens of events take place around Cornwall to mark St Piran's Day today, it brings up the question: Should St Piran's Day be a Bank Holiday? Our political correspondent, Bob Constantine, explains. *

Today’s celebrations to mark St Piran’s Day in Cornwall – which conveniently falls on a Monday this year – once again hightlight the campaign to make it an official Bank Holiday in the county.

Some business do indeed allow their staff time off already – as does St Ives MP Andrew George. There would undoubtedly be pressure in Scotland and Wales to recognise their patron saints with a special day off as well, and having lived in the Channel Islands I can remember marking Liberation Day in early May with a bank holiday there (celebrating the end of the German Occupation in 1945).

Orchestras play traditional Cornish music at last year's event

But the important point is that those places have a degree of self-government, which Cornwall, for all its nationalist tradition, doesn’t. Despite the government’s encouragement of local decision-making, it is hard to see it allowing an official day off, even if substituted for another one later in the year. Government thinking at the moment is more about swapping one of the May holidays for a date in (say) October as a way of extending the tourist season.

That would actually benefit Cornwall and because it would be part of the national calendar, have the wider support of business than a purely local festival like St Piran’s Day.