Grandma, were you alive when it was still called Christmas?

Have yourself a merry little Winterfest. That’s what they’re calling the season in Stoke-on-Trent, the latest city council to go utterly bonkers and rebrand Christmas.

Forget Santa and his reindeer, let alone the little baby Jesus – the switching on of Stoke’s lights featured a giant Jack Frost freezing the streets with a firebird chasing him down. Cue outrage.

“The politically correct brigade on the council think it’s fair game to discriminate against Christians by calling Christmas ‘Winterfest’,” said Edward Cook, one of many residents who complained to the Stoke Sentinel. “I assume it is so that Muslims are not offended.”

There is still a tree by the town hall, but the decision to bundle traditional celebrations with an expensive, spiritually neutral arts event called Winterfest has been taken by some as a sign that the councillors of multi-faith Stoke are embarrassed by a festival with Christ in the name.

They should have known there would be a hostile reaction, having tried this a decade ago.

People come to live in western Christian countries, and end up being offended by those already there for generations.  There is something inherently screwy about that.

“People are disgusted that we are giving the impression that this Winterfest is part of a dumbing down of Christmas,” said the Conservative leader Roger Ibbs back then. “Instead of helping ease tension in the city, Winterfest is creating a big problem.”

Now they’re at it again, but Stoke is not alone. There are more examples than ever this year of councils, organisations and institutions avoiding Christmas for fear of upsetting unbelievers.

A survey of festive cards sent out by local authorities across Britain found only one out of 182 that mentioned the birth of Christ. That was from Banbridge in Northern Ireland. Nearly half of the cards ignored Christmas, preferring phrases such as Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays. Some had pictures of the council offices on the front; one showed a bus shelter.

Meanwhile, a straw poll of 2,000 users of the Netmums website found evidence of schools pushing aside traditional elements in their nativity plays to make room for characters such as spacemen, footballers and Elvis Presley. Only a third of schools go for the full traditional Nativity, according to the survey. Some prefer “winter celebrations”, or replace carols with pop songs.

Nothing like Mohammed Christ bopping over the stage singing “You know I’m bad, I’m bad, you know it”

Who are they frightened of offending? Most atheists I know seem perfectly willing to tolerate what they see as a fairy story, as long as their child gets to play Mary or Joseph (or the Angel Gabriel – that’s the real glamour part).

The Muslim Council of Great Britain has made it clear where it thinks the followers of Islam stand, by adapting a famous, fashionable wartime poster to say: “Keep Calm, It’s Christmas”. This was released with the words: “Who wants to ban Christmas? Not Muslims. None of us will be offended if you go ahead and enjoy the Christmas cheer.”

Jesus is an important prophet to Muslims. “So whether you are celebrating Christmas or not, may these holidays bring joy and happiness to you and your loved ones. Keep calm and carry on.”

Nevertheless, the angst is widespread. “I feel guilty,” says Sue, a nurse at a clinic in the west Midlands where the staff have just decided to have a small Christmas tree on the reception desk, and nothing more.

“The official policy is that we have to be sensitive to other people’s feelings in this department,” says Sue, who agrees with that absolutely. She loves working alongside colleagues and serving patients of other faiths. However, as a Christian she also says: “I do have soul searching. In the effort to be sensitive to others I am undermining my own faith a little bit. How far do we have to go to please other faiths? Do we have to abandon what we believe?”

aaand there you go.  Yes you do.  To show how accommodating you are as a host nation, you are to drop anything that might not suit those that have come to live there.   Because, offending them is a worse crime than destroying your own culture.


– The Independent

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.