Pranksters across the UK are up in arms at the news that April Fools’ Day – which has been celebrated on April 1 in this country since the 14th century – has been moved back a day by European bureaucrats.
While April 1 has seen Britons play tricks on friends, family and colleagues since the days of Geoffrey Chaucer, it’s also the birth date - in 1815 - of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, hailed by pro-Europeans as the father of the superstate.
After celebrations of the revered politician’s bicentenary were marred last year by practical jokers turning up to a Berlin parade wearing false moustaches, the MEP for Bismarck’s home town of Schönhausen, Billy Bücherregal, called for a clear separation between the Europe-wide celebrations and Britain’s traditional day of japery.
He told German newspaper Der Streich: “The eccentricities of one nation state cannot, and should not, be allowed to distract Europeans from a celebration of continental comradeship.”
The motion was ratified in Brussels this week – too late for this year’s April Fools’ Day. But as of next year, April Fools’ Day will be marked on calendars as April 2.
The editor of Letts School Diary 2017, Julie Noted, confirmed that the change will be made in all new diaries sold in the UK from October onwards – if Britons vote to remain in the European Union in the forthcoming referendum.
Roland Butter, a spokesperson for anti-EU pressure group Full English Brexit, told BT.com: “This is just the kind of ‘straight banana’ nonsense that the EU mandarins have been forcing down our throats for years.
“If we allow a simple celebration of classic British silliness to be moved, what else will we let them move? This is why we are urging people to vote Out on June 23.”
Otto von Bismarck was Prussian Ambassador to Russia and France before becoming Minister President of Prussia. He subsequently helped unify Germany and became the fledgling nation’s first Chancellor.
Leading British historian AJP Taylor concludes that the architect of the ‘Blitzkrieg’ on Austria, the Franco-Prussian war and German attacks on Denmark was, "an honest broker of peace; and his system of alliances compelled every Power, whatever its will, to follow a peaceful course”, proving that the truth is often funnier than fiction.
As many of of you have spotted, this was our own little contribution to the nation's April 1st merriment. As it's now past noon (BST) we're coming clean. There isn't really a Europe-wide Bismarck Day. Not yet, anyway.