Here's a tip for how to tell whether a story about Political Correctness Gone Mad (to give it its full title) is exaggerated, distorted or made up in the Mail. Ready?
If it's in the Mail, it's bollocks.
Today, we have 'Campaign for a real Christmas: Religious leaders unite against political correctness'. Here's a fact (I was going to say 'interesting fact' but that would have been stretching the truth). The only people to actually ban Christmas in the UK were Christians. Cromwell did it in 1644. I could do a Melanie Phillips now and scream, 'See, even Christians don't want Christmas! When will our supine government finally stop appeasing these evil madmen?' but that would be silly.
Now, let's have a look at the Mail story. There's a nice change in that they at least don't appear to be blaming Muslims this time, which is their tactic for everything else. Here's the second paragraph:
Leaders of the two faiths warned that attempts to suppress Christmas bring a backlash and Muslims get the blame.Yes, Muslims do often get the blame for a lot of things that aren't their fault. The Mail knows this because they're often the ones doing the blaming. Have a look at my post from the other day, 'Classic PC gone mad Mail', which mentions a story that blames certain Christmas things being stopped on Muslims, even though Muslims are not specifically mentioned and nothing's been stopped.
It's a pity that the leaders of the two faiths hadn't realised that the 'attempts to suppress Christmas' don't actually exist, and its only the exaggerated reactions to innocuous nonsense that make people think they do. They might have realised they were wasting everyone's time.
The next paragraph gives us a clue:
And they said that while Christmas causes no offence to minority faiths, banning it offends almost everybody.Yes, I'd bet that banning Christmas would offend nearly everybody. It would offend this atheist, who rather likes the excuse to get horribly pissed up and overeat. It'd be impractical as well, and just drive the practice underground. You'd have to visit shady East-End pubs to approach big, bulldog looking fellas with gruff voices to buy smuggled 'crackahs' having no idea whether or not they'd been used in the commission of a crime. You'd have to go to shifty looking blokes on street corners and disguise the exchange of money for mince pies with a funny handshake, and end up crouching behind bins to stuff your face with, well, stuffing. I'm not even mentioning cold turkey.
Nobody's banning Christmas, and nobody bloody wants to. Surely, if there were a plan to prohibit buying fir trees in December or something we'd have heard about it. Perhaps the Mail have a scoop we don't know about. We can find out in the next paragraph:
Notorious local authority attempts to stamp out Christmas include Birmingham's decision to name its seasonal celebrations 'Winterval' and Luton's attempt to change Christmas into a Harry Potter festival by renaming its festive lights 'Luminos'.Seriously, is that it? Is that all they've got? Birmingham change the name (which I admit is fucking stupid, but not the same as banning), and Luton tries (and fails, we must assume from the word 'attempt') to call Cristmas lights something else to be a bit more 'in with the kids'. And notice the claim that Luton were trying to turn Christmas into a Harry Potter festival. No they bloody weren't! They suggested calling the lights something out of Harry Potter, that's all. From this we're led to believe that there have been attempts to ban Christmas? I don't think I'll be worrying about SWAT teams crashing through my windows and doing commando rolls all over the carpet because they've seen a glimpse of tinsel just yet.
Plus, have a look at the Birmingham City Council website. What's that in massive letters slap bang in the middle of the page? It's not 'BIRMINGHAM AT CHRISTMAS' is it? It can't be, because that would mean that the Mail is more full of shit than even I suspected.
What follows is a bunch of quotes from the letter these 'faith leader' buffoons have sent demanding and end to the banning of Christmas, which is not happening anyway. Ironic that. People with entire belief systems based on made up stuff complaining about things happening that are just made up. I'm going to write to my MP to demand that Fred Flintstone be stopped playing the trombone behind the Question Time panel with his willy out, because it ruins the tradition of Question Time being about listening to people speak and not including cartoon characters or visible willies.
Then we get to a bit about the Royal Mail stamps this year having Father Christmas and reindeers and stuff on rather than religious things. A couple of points:
1. Father Christmas. His fucking name includes the word Christmas. His other name is a shortening of Saint Nicholas, a Christian saint. Why is a depiction of a Christian saint not Christian enough?
2. Last year's stamps were full of Jesusy goodness. The two or three years before were Father Christmas again. Why pretend the Father Christmas thing is new? And why pretend the idea of Jesusy stamps are out of the question when they were on last year's?
Most of the rest of it is a lazy retelling of what's already been said. Interestingly, they include years for the Birmingham 'Winterval' and Luton Harry Potter things. 1998 and 2001 respectively. So we're expected to accept that there is currently a nefarious plot to ban Christmas on the evidence of two Councils changing - or trying to change - the name of something five and eight years ago. One of them didn't even end up happening.
There are then a couple of moans about how Christians aren't allowed to do anything any more - not even discriminate against gay people. I ask you, what's the point of being a Christian if you're not allowed to reject gay rights rules?
It'll be a while yet before we see news of a bearded man with a rucksack shot several times in the head, with a police spokesman saying, 'We thought the beard was false. And it would have been a disaster if it was. He could have had toys in that rucksack. Toys!'