Friday, 2 March 2012

A day off for the Chartists

Should we have a new bank holiday to commemorate the Chartists who took up arms in Newport in 1839?
Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West (pictured right), believes that we should. He has put down an early day motion in Parliament calling for the Monday nearest 4 November (the date of the uprising) to be declared Democracy Day.
So far he has gathered the support of 24 MPs for the proposed bank holiday which would also stand as a tribute to the suffragettes, those who took part in the Putney debates of 1647 and other pioneering democrats down the ages.
The full text of the EDM reads:
"That this House believes that the pioneering sacrifices of those who sowed the seeds of British democracy should be celebrated with a new Bank Holiday on the Monday nearest to 4th November, the anniversary of the killing of more than 20 Chartist insurgents in Newport in 1839, recalling other significant events in the history of the Suffragettes (1903) and the Putney debates (1647); and calls for a fresh appreciation of the value of the courage and vision of past generations in order to defend, promote and develop Britain's democratic institutions."
It should be noted that the campaign probably stands very little chance of success, and that others are campaigning to have a Magna Carta Day on 15 June, or a Trafalgar Day on 21 October.