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Gov cans 'national day' plans

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The government has canned plans for a 'national day' during which citizens of good old Blighty might celebrate their Britishness by tucking into a chicken tikka masala washed down with cheap tinned Oz lager while watching US TV imports on their Japanese-made TV.

Sadly, Gordo's proposal to offer a day where Brits might "focus on the things that bring us together... whatever our backgrounds" - which was a key recommendation of attorney general Lord Goldsmith's citizenship review - is not to be.

According to the Press Association, constitution minister Michael Wills told MPs: "A number of Lord Goldsmith's recommendations merit further consideration across Government and will be taken into account in discussion and debate on policy development in these areas. However, there are no plans to introduce a national day at the present time."

In fact, the powers that be have been trying to avoid giving punters and extra day off work since Lord Goldsmith outlined his plans. Back in June, the then immigration minister Liam Byrne suggested the bank holiday weekend at the end of August could be reinvented as the "Great British Weekend", without the need to extend the UK's generous roster of public holidays.

The Conservatives reacted to the news in the traditionally British way - by slagging off the government in the Tory press. Shadow justice secretary Nick Herbert told the Daily Express: "First a national motto, then an oath of allegiance, now a patriotic day - one token initiative after another in Gordon Brown's Britishness agenda has sunk without trace. Labour still hasn't worked out that British identity is bound up in our institutions, culture and history. It can't be re-manufactured by their spin doctors." ®

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