ENGLAND faces the tantalising choice of a national holiday that celebrates either the slaying of a fictional animal by a made-up saint or the violent deaths of a great many French people.
Ministers believe the May Day bank holiday has become bloated and inefficient while also failing to give people 24 hours off work in a sufficiently English manner.
They now want a national debate on whether England should have a holiday on April 23, in commemoration of a legendary Syrian for whom there is not a shred of historical evidence, or October 21, marking the day when undereducated men from across Europe died to satisfy the armchair whims of a handful of egomaniacal sociopaths.
The government said Trafalgar Day could also be a ‘British celebration’ based on the assumption that Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh people enjoy the death of a Frenchman as much as anyone.
But Julian Cook, professor of French suffering at Reading University, said: “If we just want to celebrate a large number of French deaths then what about October 2, a key moment in the Battle of Alesia in 52BC which ultimately claimed the lives of up to 90,000 Frenchmen?
“Or, if we really want to do it properly, we should go for February 21, marking the beginning of the Battle of Verdun which saw 163,000 greasy frog-munchers die in a ditch.”
Meanwhile, campaigners who said the new holiday could mark Shakespeare’s birthday, the release of Sergeant Pepper or the discovery of penicillin by a Scottish person in an English laboratory have been dismissed as communists and homosexuals.
Tom Logan, a leading theologian and assistant dean of Winchester cathedral, said: “I tend to favour celebrating the fictional deaths of giant monsters, so I’d like a day off to commemorate Luke Skywalker killing the Rancor in Return of the Jedi.
“By the time they get to the Sarlacc pit you can see that it’s actually quite sunny outside so I reckon it was probably early May.”