The fact that Lanimer Day 2017 was scheduled for Thursday. June 8 probably wasn’t uppermost in Theresa May’s mind today Tuesday when she called a snap General Election for that very date.
However, her unexpected announcement has thrown not only the nation’s political parties into a state of flux but also presented the Lanimer Committee with the problem of changing their already advanced arrangements for Lanark’s Big Day with less than two months notice.
Although Mrs May’s announcement came on the Gazette’s deadline day, making it difficult to garner comments from the committee’s leading figures, it is understood that last-minute re-jigging of the huge civic celebrations will be a challenge that won’t daunt the organisers who have, after all, faced this dilemma before, albeit with a bit more notice.
There have been occasions in the past when the insistence of traditionalists on continuing to hold Lanimer Day on a Thursday has led to clashes with elections, also, by tradition, held on that day of the week.
The most famous such occasion was when one of the first elections to the European Parliament was called for a Lanimer Day date. It is now part of Royal Burgh lore that the Lanimer Committee wrote a stiff letter to the head of the EU, pointing out their ‘mistake’ and inviting him to make alternative arrangements for the Euro-poll.
It is thought likely that Mrs May will reject any such call and arrangements are probably already underway for a June 15 - or June 1 - Lanimer Day.
As the Gazette went to press this week, few members of the Lanimer Committee were available for comment but an emergency meeting of its executive was expected to be held tonight to discuss at least the initial steps necessary.
One member of the executive, John Dickman, was not even willing to confirm or otherwise that the likely re-arranged date would mean a late Lanimers on Thursday, June 15 or even an early one on Thursday, June 1.
“It’s far, far to early to even speculate on what the date will be. There are a lot of people to talk to, including the police, council, schools and many other bodies.
“The only thing at this stage that is absolutely certain is that there WILL be a 2017 Lanimer Day, come what may.”