Struensee in memoriam

History recalls that 28 April 1772 was the last date on which a Danish politician was executed. Johan Struensee lost his head because he was the lover of the queen of the insane monarch Christian VII.

Store reformer
That aside, he was a central figure in the Enlightenment and issued in his short time in office more than 2,000 cabinet orders, which during a sovereign monarchy was a cascade of much-needed reforms.

One of them in 1770 involved Store Bededag (this year on May 1), a Friday three weeks before Pentecost, which replaced 22 days of prayer in a bid to institute “work and productivity” instead. Now, some 245 years later, it is time for another reform.

Time for secular holidays
The spring in Denmark is littered with work days off: Easter, three days; Store Bededag, one day; Pentecost, one day; Ascension Day, one day; May 1 (International Labour Day), one day for public workers; Constitution Day, a half-day holiday that many businesses close all day for.

But while Danes are Christian in tradition, they are very secular and do not go to church (less than 5 percent), so why do we have so many religious holidays. Why not just introduce a one-week winter holiday in late February and then another at Easter, and cancel all the others, thus tying school and bank holidays together

Long Good Friday alright!
It will signal how we’ve moved on from the tedium of Good Friday, the holiest of them all, when no public entertainment was allowed and shops were closed tight.

Now in our multicultural society, a full week’s holiday of a secular nature seems appropriate – and it will certainly ease planning and increase productivity as people are increasingly taking extra days off around these holidays (especially the Friday after Ascension Day).

Having one dip in productivity (with the same total number of days off) is infinitely better than having three or four irregular periods in slow motion. When an institution does not make sense, it is time for change. Chop.

Another overdue execution
And while we’re at it, another reform should also be considered. Danmark’s Radio, the public service monster, is celebrating its 90th birthday. It started as one radio channel and grew accordingly when band width and IT in general took speed. Now it is difficult to see why that institution should ever celebrate its 100th anniversary. When capacity was in short supply, it made sense to monopolise it. Now that capacity is without limitation on the internet and across social media, one has to question the logic of having a politically-controlled communication machine.

If the politicians want public service, they can just buy it from the multitude of suppliers and get what they want at a competitive price. The younger generation are leaving anyway, taking their refuge in the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Spotify, using their smartphones, and having neither a radio or television set in their dwellings. Save the money and decapitate Denmark’s Radio. Chop, Chop!

Time for enlightenment!
So even though we do not threaten to decapitate decision-makers, we do hope that politicians make sense of the obvious. It is no shame to be enlightened, even if it is late in the day.

Happy Easter – however you celebrate it.