A plan by a council-funded charity to ban the word Christmas from this year's festive celebrations has been criticised by religious leaders of all denominations.Oh, but I thought that was all a myth, put about by those dastardly right-wingers, who constantly whine about ‘political correctness’…?
Oxford city council confirmed the events in the city would be renamed 'Winter Light Festival' to make them more inclusive, provoking outrage among shoppers in the city who called for a return to tradition.Well, quite – I know I always check to see that the tacky Christmas ‘light display’ put up in my nearest high street is inclusive and culture-neutral, and if not, I just won’t shop there….
Oh, and it seems for once, it’s a ‘charideee’ at the heart of this, not some pencil-pusher in the bowels of a HR Department somewhere:
The idea has come from the charity Oxford Inspires, the cultural development agency for the county, which runs the celebrations.A ‘cultural development agency’ running the county Christmas celebrations, apparently independently of the elected officials? Who voted for that then…?
No-one. That’s the point…
Let’s take a look at these unelected people who presume to speak for Oxford:
Chair: Tony Stratton is Chairman of CPM, Europe's leading sales development agency. He is also Chairman of Tonic Life Communications PR and The Quantic Group and a non-executive director of RT Marketing, Unisono Field Marketing in China and The Smollan Group in South Africa, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a past President of Thame Show. He has lived in Oxfordshire since 1975.In other words, the usual collection of the ‘great and good’ holding various sinecures from which to tell people how they should think, and behave, and change to suit their betters…
Vice-Chair: Hilary Lade
is a Trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund and former Managing Director of Shell's UK gas business. Recent public appointments range from Chairman of the Royal Parks to Director of the BTA/VisitBritain to Director of Southern Arts. She is a keen musician and textile designer and lives in Charlbury.
Vice-Chair: Yasmin Sidhwa
is the Head of Arts Education of Pegasus Theatre, Oxford. She has worked as an actor for The Royal National Theatre, Tara Arts Group, BBC and ITV. Yasmin is also a lecturer for Oxford University’s Department of Educational Studies.
Needless to say, the people this sort of nonsense is supposedly aimed at are as baffled as anyone else:
Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, said: "I am really upset about this. Christians, Muslims and other religions all look forward to Christmas."It’s not about you, Mr Mirza…
Fr Brian Van-Dungey, a priest in Garsington, Oxon, said: "I am a Christian and pleased to see my Muslim brothers joining in the condemnation of this stupid and dangerous idea; this sort of thinking creates racial problems and should be stopped in its tracks."It’s not about you either, Father…
Rabbi Eli Bracknell, who teaches at the Jewish Educational Centre in the city, said: "It is important to maintain a traditional British Christmas. Anything that waters down traditional culture and Christianity in the UK is not positive for the British identity."And it’s certainly not about you, Rabbi…
This is about power – these people have seized it, and they aren’t about to give it up:
Oxford Inspires spokesman Tei Williams said: "In Oxfordshire we have Winter Light which is a whole festival spanning two months. Within that festival will be Christmas Carol services."This isn’t, of course, based on any desire to be ‘more inclusive’ – this is simply a giant ‘We’re in charge and what we say goes’ from the new masters.
Liz Gresham of Oxford Inspires added: "We changed the name to be more inclusive."
The council understands that:
Ed Turner, deputy leader of the council, said the renaming of the festival was "unfortunate and sends out a problematic message."Get that? "It’s the charity's festival” – it belongs to them, and you ratepaying suckers in Oxford are just the mugs ponying up for it, with no say in the process. You can’t, after all, vote this bunch of braying luvvies and trust fund hogs out. Because you never voted them in in the first place…
He added: "It is the charity's festival. Among councillors there is certainly no desire to downgrade the importance or the prominence given to Christmas.
"There is going to be a Christmas tree and even if the lights are called something else to me they will be Christmas lights."
As pointed out by one of your own councillors…!