I came back from Germany yesterday and noticed that the Christmas banned by Oxford story was being debated on local radio here. 5CC covered the story in depth back on 3rd November. I drafted an email on 4th November on the basis that it was bound to come up some time.
A guy came on from Oxford and was a bit confused as to the story as he was talking about the lack of lights in the city. He seemed to suggest that this was due to economic factors. Indeed, our own local council is considering cutting back due to the investment losses in Icelandic banks.
It seems that the BNP were on the day before - possibly talking about the leaking of membership lists, and in particular, the alleged membership of a Merseyside Police officer. It sounds like the BNP were using this myth to further their claim that multi-cultural Britain is sweeping away tradition.
Therefore, although the story is a couple of weeks old, the use of it by the party of hate means that it needs highlighting. This is another example of how the Mail-type scare stories are the favourite weapon of our vile enemies.
The email in full:
- It must be November as the 'Christmas is Banned' stories are appearing in the tabloids in another attempt to poison the minds of the people. What is surprising this year is that the first national paper to deal with the story was The Observer rather than the usual suspects of the Mail and the Murdoch Comic.Oxford City Council has issued a statement on its own site which totally debunks this myth.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader Oxford City Council says: "Oxford City Council has not 'banned Christmas' and has not banned the use of the word 'Christmas'. The Council has not even considered doing either of these.
"Oxford City Council will celebrate Christmas 2008 in the same way as it has celebrated all previous Christmases: we will have Christmas trees in the Town Hall and in Broad Street, the Lord Mayor will host a Christmas reception for community workers and will hold the annual Christmas Carols event, and we will be sending out Christmas cards.
The story conveniently uses the fact that there is a joint event with 'Oxford Inspires' which uses the phrase 'Winter Lights' and this is on the same night as the switching on of the Christmas lights. Note that the Council also uses the word 'Christmas' too, so the story falls flat.
Unfortunately, like a similar situation in Birmingham many years ago, a simple use of Winterval was seen as abolishing Xmas to appease ethnic groups. Moreover, when organisations representing such groups are asked, there is no onjection to the celebration of Christmas notwithstanding their own festivities. This can be seen in the current story because both the Jewish and Muslim communities have issued statements to that effect.
It should be noted that Liverpool is also conducting Pool of Light tours which will not detract from the Xmas celebrations.
No doubt these stories will continue every year as urban myth becomes fact.
The chap from Oxford needs enlightening as to how to conduct a conversation. Let people get a word in and stop babbling on about how many foreign mates you've got.
- Radio Merseyside Listen Again (for 7 days)