D-Day

This week a Minister got himself into hot water when he proposed that the August bank holiday should be re-designated as ‘Britishness' day.  It was swiftly pointed out that this bank holiday is held on a different day in Scotland than it is in England and Wales.

The problem with the Government's approach is that they want Britishness to be devoid of any historical significance, believing it possible to construct something new and artificial - like the vacuous Millennium Dome.

But if we are to celebrate a Britishness day, perhaps it should be one with real historical significance for our country.

Today, for instance, is the 64th anniversary of the D-Day landings.  I visited the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth last month and thoroughly recommend it.   The messages left by veterans and their relatives in the visitors' book are especially moving.

And on Saturday I am particularly looking forward to visiting the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum.  My grandfather commanded No 145 Squadron at Tangmere, and on August 8 1940 - the day which became acknowledged as the first of the Battle of Britain - he is said to have fired the opening shots.

Of course we already have Remembrance Day to acknowledge the debt we owe to those who have fought and died for us.  So to celebrate Britishness, perhaps we should go back further in history and mark Trafalgar Day on 21 October.  I'm sure that the European Commission wouldn't mind.

There are other days we could celebrate.  This Monday was Tax Freedom Day, marking the point in the year when we all stopped working for the Government, which now takes 40 per cent of national income, and started to keep our own money.

When I was born in 1963, Tax Freedom Day fell more than a whole month earlier, on 24 April.  We're all paying more tax than ever before.  In my book, that's distinctly un-British.

Michelle Taylor