Whatever happened to the St David's Day bank holiday?
- 20 September 2012
- From the section Wales politics
Nick Clegg hopes his apology for that pledge on university tuition fees will help ensure the Liberal Democrats' work in government is not overshadowed by the breakdown in trust over broken promises.
It has certainly got him noticed, something which used to be a problem for the Liberal Democrats. He finds himself trending on twitter, along with a cheeky remix of the party political broadcast.
Although Mr Clegg has previously said that Liberal Democrats have nothing to apologise for, last year he did tell the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats: "I know I haven't always made your life easy, Kirsty, sorry about that."
In the same speech, Mr Clegg highlighted the possibility of St David's Day becoming a bank holiday in Wales.
The idea was launched in a UK government tourism strategy, which promised to consult the Welsh assembly on whether it should have the power to move the spring bank holiday from early May to March 1.
It was potentially good news for those parties which have campaigned for a St David's Day holiday, although David Jones, since promoted to David Cameron's cabinet, told MPs that it could have cross-border implications: "For that reason it is a matter that properly resides with this parliament".
So, eighteen months on, what's occurin'? Not much, by the look of it. The idea appears to have been quietly dropped.
I contacted the department for culture, media and sport to find out the latest state of play and was directed to a blog written some months ago by its former tourism minister.
John Penrose, for it was he, said: "We tested the water in a pretty general way, making it crystal clear that if there was no particular consensus - or a general feeling that the status quo was just fine, thank you very much - then that was what we'd go for."
Mr Penrose summed up the results of the "pre-consultation" like this:
"So no consensus. And - roll-of-drums - no change of bank holiday dates. And is this a victory for Merrie Englande lobbyists and a set-back for hoteliers; or is it a triumph for lawn-mower sellers and a defeat for punch-and-judy men? None of the above, really. More a case of doing what we said we'd do. Will there be headlines along the lines of MINISTER IN 'DOING WHAT PUBLIC WANT' SHOCKER? I rather doubt it."
Indeed, there were very few headlines at all. Mr Penrose was sacked in the reshuffle earlier this month but according to the DCMS when it comes to bank holidays the status quo remains.
Will Nick Clegg use his party conference to update voters on the policy or could there be another "sorry" on the way?