The Baroness and the Groan

Via the nice person behind exclarotive (which is one of the many fine new additions to my blogroll on the right - check 'em out), I have stumbled across this interview with Baroness Warsi in the Guardian.

Since I'm obsessed with myths like the one about Winterval, exclarotive knew I'd zero in on this bit:


"Well I think there's a difference between multiculturalism per se, and state multiculturalism, where the state intervenes and says, 'You will do this, you will do that.'" For example, she offers, "When the state says 'We'll have winterfest instead of Christmas, so everyone feels included.' That's wrong."
Eh? Did I miss something? When - and you don't have to be exact now, a year will do - did the state say we'll have Winterfest instead of Christmas? (Except for the time when Cromwell's government banned Christmas, smartypants).

Decca Aitkenhead doesn't appear to have asked. Maybe she thinks Winterfest is real herself, I dunno. Instead, she quibbles about whether it counts as the state saying we should have Winterfest if a school says it. Has that ever happened?  If not, why quibble about it instead of saying, "Sorry, but that's bollocks.  You got anything that has, you know, actually happened in real life?"

Anyway, Baroness Warsi thinks it should be up to the individual school, so she doesn't think that counts as the state.

It could be that Baroness Warsi was only using Winterfest as a hypothetical example, and Decca Aitknenhead hasn't made this clear (maybe she didn't know either), so we're luckily treated to a concrete example:
For example, there was a county court that didn't put tinsel on its public desk because they thought it would offend! You see, that's the state intervening, saying you can't have tinsel there.
There's just a teensy problem with this example. Can you guess what it is? If you guess, you get a lolly.*

That's right. Never happened, although a member of admin staff apparently wrote to Baroness Warsi about it. As TabloidWatch said at the time:
A piece of tinsel has been moved in an office block because it was in the way.
This was apparently pointed out by an unnamed spokesperson at the Ministry of Justice. Unless the Ministry is going round sneakily removing stuff and pretending it's for mundane reasons, I think this story was rubbish. And yet here it is being trotted out without challenge in a national newspaper interview with a government representative.

Actually , there's another tiny problem.  If the County Court didn't want tinsel on its own premises, even if we agree to pretend it was because of causing offence, which it wasn't, how is this the state saying, "you can't have tinsel," instead of, "we don't want tinsel,"?

It's a conundrum Decca Aitkenhead leaves infuriatingly unanswered.

No gold star and big tick for the Graun.  Instead, a 'see me' and a punch up the bracket!

As an aside, I wonder why my comment that said something like, "I forget, when did the state say we should have Winterfest again? Was it before or after they invented robot policemen with laserbeam eyes?" got deleted. It wasn't that bad a gag, surely.

*But you have to buy it yourself. From your own shop. It can be any flavour you like though.


the-whybird said...

Clearly your comment was deleted because it was potentially offensive to giggling imbeciles who think multiculturalism will steal their Christmas.

merrick said...

I do marvel, imagining what sheaf of compromising pictures of Guardian editors Aitken head must have. Why else do they continue to give her potentially insightful interviews to squanderously fluff about on?

My favourite was interviewing Plane Stupid, missing the point, exaggerating their outlawness, and writing: 'The one golden rule of every action is to target the aviation industry, not its customers', shortly after talking about how they'd blockaded runways and stopped flights.


muslimsteampunk said...

Generally, when I come across sthg in the Guardian or CiF that is so ludicrous it demands to have the piss taken out of it without remorse, that's precisely what I do. And that's when I seem to suffer the same deletion problem. And don't ever say anything rude about Sarfraz Manzoor's haircut or you'll be booted off permanently!