John Walker's Electronic House


by on Dec.21, 2007, under The Rest

A story in the current Private Eye is so symptomatic of a vast trend in the UK that I have to transcribe it here. I think it’s essential that everyone gets a grip on how the tabloid coverage of so-called “political correctness gone mad” stories actually works, and the complete absense of truth from any of them.

It’s fairly bloody obvious. For instance, has anyone ever actually encountered anywhere using the term “Winterval” instead of “Christmas”? The idiotic truth of this matter was that in 1997 and 1998, Birmingham City Council used the term as part of an advertising campaign for drumming up business in the city centre during the whole of winter. It was never intended to prevent the use of the word “Christmas” – indeed it deliberately included Christmas amongst the various other festivities that occur between October and January. But despite this, every year the papers run stories about councils “banning Christmas”, refering to Winterval as if it’s a current matter. This has never, ever been true, but that doesn’t prevent the papers declaring it, and then legions of fat-mouthed morons shrieking about it everywhere they go.

The new Private Eye story is a perfect example (emphasis my own):

In early December, Healey Primary School in Rochdale sent a note home to parents of 4 to 7-year-old pupils: “Please could parents send just one Christmas card to the whole class rather than asking school for a whole class name list [sic]. This is to avoid tears and tantrums which often occur when Christmas cards are distributed.”

When an outraged parent contacted the Rochdale Observer claiming that this was “political correctness gone mad”, her comments were promptly reported beneath the headline: “School bans Christmas Cards”.

A spokeswoman hastened to point out that cards were “in no way banned” from the school, which was currently preparing for no fewer than three festive productions and a carol service. “The cost of so many cards is prohibitive for some families and we feel the children are often pressurised to act in the same way as their peers,” she explained. “In addition, some children are missed out and feel very upset when this happens.”

How was this reported when it reached the national press the following week? “Furious parents and campaigners last night slammed the politically correct brigade for spoiling the true meaning of Christmas,” roared the Express. “Festive cards are being banned in schools… the season of goodwill is being ruined by Scrooge-like officials fearful of offending other faiths or worried about health and safety rules.” Its sister paper the Daily Star, meanwhile, kept up its own tradition of ignoring all the facts with the front-page headline: “Ban on Christmas cards in case they upset Muslims!”

It’s hard to know what to be more repulsed by. There’s the obvious fact that newspapers tell outright lies. And then there’s the randomly included portrayal of Muslims as poor whimpering fools who can’t cope with someone mentioning the word “Christmas” around them. There’s that it deliberately attempts to create and fuel tension between different faiths. People being enormously stupid as a rule will take any reason they’re given to hate Muslims a bit more. Who cares if it’s true, eh?

No one is trying to ban Christmas. No one. Because it’s a massive commerical opportunity that you’d be insane to ignore. Coming soon in John’s rants: why Christmas being commericial is bloody brilliant.

4 Comments for this entry

  • James

    This is exactly why I hate the tabloids. Makes my blood boil.

  • Grandma

    This is exactly why I buy the tabloids. Good, God’s-honest-truth. Bloody muslims!


  • Willem100

    @Grandma: Did you run away from the home again? I’ve told you, they aren’t trying to kill you. The nurses are all friendly. Now, you go right back to the home and apologise. Go on.

  • Anon

    The school in question has since received hate mail and threatening letters because of the whole lies being told in these papers