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How PC myths are becoming government talking points


2:40 pm - August 3rd 2010

by Robert Sharp    


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Five Chinese Crackers spots a stinker from Baroness Warsi:

“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).

The Guardian article by Decca Aitkenhead is here. Now is the perfect time to link to Oliver Burkeman’s fantastic debunking of the Winterval myth:

Perhaps the most notorious of the anti-Christmas rebrandings is Winterval, in Birmingham, and when you telephone the Birmingham city council press office to ask about it, you are met first of all with a silence that might seasonably be described as frosty. “We get this every year,” a press officer sighs, eventually. “It just depends how many rogue journalists you get in any given year. We tell them it’s bollocks, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference.”

According to an official statement from the council, Winterval – which ran in 1997 and 1998, and never since – was a promotional campaign to drive business into Birmingham’s newly regenerated town centre. It began in early November and finished in January.

Clicking back from the Five Chinese Crackers post, I find that the Exclarotive blog has been logging similar myths. Anton Vowl spotted another example of the Conservatives propagating the nonsense, this time over health and safety legislation. Ann Widdecombe cited several examples of PC gone mad during our debate on the issue last year. I wonder how many had any substance?

One might think that debunking articles, such as those mentioned above, might serve to sink the highly dangerous armada of lies that sails through our society, leaving a hatred of immigrants in its wake. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be so. In the Boston Globe, John Keohane reports on a University of Michigan study that shows that the introduction of new facts may actually cause people to double-down on their strongly held misconceptions.

“The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

There’s also my namesake in the Independent with a similarly fine debunking.

This is why we need to discuss much of our politics in terms of narrative. It sounds pretentious, but the fact is that a single article giving some facts will rarely reverse a political consensus.

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About the author
Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy site. He is Head of Campaigns at English PEN, a blogger, and a founder of digital design company Fifty Nine Productions. For more of this sort of thing, visit Rob's eponymous blog or follow him on Twitter @robertsharp59. All posts here are written in a personal capacity, obviously.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Media ,Westminster

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Reader comments


We had a similar thing a few years running at a North West council I worked for. We got letters of complaint that we weren’t allowing schools or council offices to celebrate Christmas in case it offended non Christians. it was total rubbish but somehow seemed to stick each year. I’ve never once heard anyone even suggest that Christmas should be cancelled or that they’d be offended by it.

It was not in my town shops were asked not to put up pictures of holly people, keep it more like a winter festival it was the worse two years where as shops did nothing no Christmas decorations. Then we had Labour no flags on street parties, we had a letter saying it would not be right to have national flags in street parties, and of course, we shall not use the word black.

say what you like New labour under Blair had some strange idea of what Christmas means to people, what black is IC1 or IC2. sorry new labour did have problems

3. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

“The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

I’d argue this hasn’t got much to do with the topic, I mean if you prove to a supply side loony that tax cuts don’t pay for themselves, sure they’ll disregard any such evidence and carry on their merry way, but the ‘pc gone mad brigade’ are a different beast entirely.

The point of ‘pc gone mad gone mad’ is to paint (usually) white Christians as suffering under the weight of a sort of cultural apartheid in order to pre-emptively justify reprisals, it’s been highly effective but it’s a lie, everyone who defends it knows its a lie. Everyone who posts stories on forums, sends emails, or in general talks about Christmas/England shirts/Easter/Sulphur/Wednesday’s being banned knows full well they’re not true and they know that it’s not important, it’s about creating a hegemony, which they’ve done and done well. That’s not to say people in council offices don’t do stupid shit now and then, but painting the one story out of a hundred where someone has done something daft because they believe offence may be caused as evidence of a vast conspiracy is obviously post hoc and can only be done because of the ninety nine lies that have come before it.

There is no natural defence mechanism at play, if anything it’s the exact opposite – an offence mechanism.

Robert – What town are you talking about?

And then there’s the ‘elf and safety issue, another case of bollocks being banded about by the Tories. Have a read what Juliet Samuel (an associate of Guido Fawkes, when in her guise of Emily Nomates) has to say about it.

Basically it is nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with lawyers. “‘elf and safety regulations” are no such thing, it is lawyers telling companies that if they want to cover their backs, they should make sure that have safe working conditions.

These type of myths and made up facts resonate because a lot of people see the world the way they want it to be. Some on the left are not immune to seeing issues this way. Making up facts and throwing it to the right-wing base works because it is what they want to believe. No amount of debunking will make any difference because they so want the myth to be true.

@2

Do you have any verifiable sources for your claims? Councils do cut back on xmas deccys it’s true, but for financial reasons usually not PC. Though local papers may spin it towards the latter.
I have never heard that flags should be banned (aside from made-up stories in the Mail etc) and the fact that my street still has at least seven England flags up proves that as a lie. And the word “black” is banned? Have you informed these folks, as well as others?

8. CitizenSpork

@7

Oh no, not the NBPA, now he will tell us how it’s a racist origanisation, remember today is a littlejohn column day.

I think the problem here is the question of what is believable and plausible. That journalists still (presumably deliberately) churn out nonsense stories on the winterval lines reflects the fact that their readers think this is plausible. That is to say, they believe that some parts of government really do think like that.

To pick up on the Winterval thing, I moved to Birmingham at that time. Most people I met (students and locals) believed that the council was replacing Christmas with Winterval, despite the council’s statements. This is because it was plausible to them, despite the fact that it took me one conversation with someone who was well informed (and I trusted) to find out the truth. The story may have been made up, but it was popularly believed. Why was it believable? Because there was a council in favour of multiculturalism, promoting non-native festivals (actually, to be fair, I think in Birmingham most sub-continental orginated festivals are now native), which was controversial enough. People just thought it went that stage further.

Likewise health and safety. People genuinely believe that there is this huge amount of legislation about what you can and can’t do, rather than simply the duty of care on employers etc. But if you consider that it is true that government has recently produced endless amounts of law, and that lawyers exploit this whenever possible (because that’s their job), you can see why the image of health and safety gone mad is possible.

Basically, government has created a popular narrative through multiculturalism and large-scale legislation which is that it favoured other cultures over British culture and that it had complex rules about everything which stop you doing anything. This was not what was done, or intended, but it was a plausible interpretation. And undoubtedly this was jumped on by those with their own agenda, or merely looking for a cheap headline. But there has to be seeds for a story to grow, and these stories grew from a choice about how to run a government.

Doesn’t forgive a government minister furthering the myth for their own political ends though…

@3

I’d say some people deliberately use PC Gone Mad stories to paint white people as victims and to demonise minority groups and left wingers, but I think most people believe them in the same way that people believe in urban legends.

Robert at comment number two talks about a that took down decorations even from shops for two years. But it’s not his town, it’s another town that isn’t named. Like how a friend of a friend knows someone who was in a car park and got sprayed with perfume that turned out to be cloroform and then they got robbed. Or something.

These stories are so common and so well known that people will sometimes assume that some change they’ve notice is because of Political Correctness. You saw this earlier in the year where a story about police advising pubs in Croydon to turn away people in football shirts because of the potential for violence was turned into one about police banning England shirts because it’s offensive to foreigners. They guy who set up the main Facebook account didn’t seem to know the story wasn’t true, and left the group once he found out.

Some of the stories I’ve heard circulating about Political Correctness boggle the mind.

Sorry about the virtual incomprehensibility of the last comment. Gah.

12. Get Over It

So, just to clarify the facts of the matter, by your own admission “Winterfest” was definitely real and definitely organized by local government in Birmingham, but you are going to continue to refer to it as a “myth” and imply that it never happened.

Ann Widdecombe cited several examples of PC gone mad during our debate on the issue last year. I wonder how many had any substance?

Judging by this post, probably all of them had substance. How about coming up with an example of a “PC gawn maad” myth promoted by senior politicians that didn’t, you know, exist?

@12

Oh FFS. Winterval (not Winterfest as you and the Baroness insist on calling it) was a marketting stunt to get shoppers in Brum. The mythical aspect of it is that right-wing fucktards continue to pretend that it was “a war against xmas!!!!1” and “political correctness gone maaaaaaad wahhh” whereas the truth is it was nothing of the sort.

Most, if not all, of these bullshit stories are either outright lies or distortions of the truth that a contortionist would be proud of.

@12

No, Winterfest as Baroness Warsi describes it did not happen. She said that the state had said:

You will have Winterfest instead of Christmas.

That absolutely did not happen. Ever.

Birmingham City Council, in 1997, ran a marketing exercise called Winterval. It also held its normal Christmas festivities, had a Christmas tree and all the other good Christmassy stuff we associate with Christmas.

The myth is that it replaced Christmas.

How about coming up with an example of a “PC gawn maad” myth promoted by senior politicians that didn’t, you know, exist?

That Winterval replaced Christmas. There’s one! Oooh – and it’s the first example in the OP. There’s lucky.

@ 12

I agree.

How utterly bizarre that such an outraged post about “myths” is actually about something that really happened and for two years running.

Hello admins — What is the point of this post exactly?

@12 again you might wanna read this from the BBC archives, it includes the usual suspects (priests etc) whinging but the key quote from Birmingham City Council is:

“Birmingham City Council wants people to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is the very heart of Winterval,” she said.

“Far from not talking about Christmas the events within Winterval and the publicity material for it are covered in Christmas greetings and traditional images, including angels and carol singers.”

She said the council had drawn attention to the city’s cathedral during the festival by placing Christmas lights in the trees around the building.

It’s tabloid scum lying to their readers and inciting hatered that causes myths to spread. If they reported the truth no-one would give a flying shit.

So it’s not a “myth” at all but something that actually happened for a couple of years.

Irregardless of whether there were tandem celebrations, clearly the council still ran a Winterval campaign and yet you ask where the very idea came from?

Tell us all 5cc, did the council also run a ‘Lightval’ campaign for Diwali? Or the equivalent for Ramadan, Hanukkah, Vesak etc

Or was it just the Christmas period that was treated to that awful PC nonsense?

What a crappy post.

18. Get Over It

Birmingham City Council, in 1997, ran a marketing exercise called Winterval. It also held its normal Christmas festivities, had a Christmas tree and all the other good Christmassy stuff we associate with Christmas. The myth is that it replaced Christmas.

Well, that is an important clarification and I accept that the Baroness has somewhat mischaracterised what happened. It’s a pity that this specific point wasn’t emphasized in the original post.

However, it begs the question as to why Birmingham City Council felt the need to provide an alternative, parallel festival to Christmas. It certainly isn’t because ordinary people who follow other faiths have demanded it — it appears to originate solely with politically correct apparatchiks inhabiting the lower tiers of government, and that is something it is quite legitimate to be concerned about.

@17

I’m not sure if you’re being obtuse or not, so here goes again.

The myth is not that there was something called Winterval. The myth is that it replaced Christmas.

Irregardless of whether there were tandem celebrations, clearly the council still ran a Winterval campaign and yet you ask where the very idea came from?

No I do not. I asked when the state said you must have Winterfest instead of Christmas. because, you know, it didn’t.

Tell us all 5cc, did the council also run a ‘Lightval’ campaign for Diwali? Or the equivalent for Ramadan, Hanukkah, Vesak etc

Or was it just the Christmas period that was treated to that awful PC nonsense?

It didn’t have to. Know why? Almost all these things occurred during Winterval. So, in a way, yes it did.

What a crappy post.

Sorry I didn’t make what Robert quoted from me simpler for you to understand.

17 and 18 you seem to have made your minds up already.

You also seem to be grasping at straws.

Christmas is not the only thing which happens in Winter, but the months running up to Christmas are some of the most lucrative in the year for retail firms.

The council wanted to support local businesses.

“Super-come-shop-in-brum-at-xmas-val” was probably turned down by some marketing bod, and Winterval was recommended.

It has not and did not replace Christmas, because the council did not replace any Christmas activities, they all went ahead, as everyone in Birmingham noticed.

What they did was run a marketing campaign which those wishing to be provocative took advantage of and have created an urban myth.

“Winterval” is not a myth, it happened, it was some sort of marketing campaign. It did not replace Christmas.

“Just do it” is not a myth, it is a nike slogan. It did not replace Christmas either.

You can run a marketing campaign at Christmas without trying to replace Christmas.

@19:

However, it begs the question as to why Birmingham City Council felt the need to provide an alternative, parallel festival to Christmas

It didn’t, really. It came up with a marketing term to describe a season covering a whole series of events in order to attract people to Birmingham throughout the season.

The originator of the term explains here:

<a href="http://pigsonthewing.org.uk/winterval-the-truth/&quot;

I missed these.

“Well, that is an important clarification and I accept that the Baroness has somewhat mischaracterised what happened.”

No she either lied or has absolutely no idea what she is talking about. Those are the only two options.

“It’s a pity that this specific point wasn’t emphasized in the original post.”

It didn’t need to be if you read the post or followed the link to check the background information provided.

If you comment on a website exposing PC myths, while you believe in those myths are real, you should read the source material before commenting.

Not everything can be covered; it would be too bulky. Not every angle can be emphasised; it would lead to there being no emphasis on anything.

I know its bad form to leave successive comments, but I am subscribing to the comments and want to implore pro-PC-mythists to read the links provided, because they will answer your questions.

You can then admit that the “Birmingham Council replaced Christmas with Winterval” myth is a myth.

(Oh and go 5CC go!)

From what I recall, the term “Winterval” was coined as a catch-all term as there was a string of string of religious festivals around that time. If Birmingham City Council was having a holy(?) crusade against Christmas they probably should do something about the enormous “MERRY CHRISTMAS BIRMINGHAM” lights they string up over Corporation Street.

“Irregardless”

Well I’m stumped.

27. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

@10

I’d say some people deliberately use PC Gone Mad stories to paint white people as victims and to demonise minority groups and left wingers, but I think most people believe them in the same way that people believe in urban legends.

Oh sure, any scheme has it’s tiers, at the top you’ve got Littlejohn, Slack, et al who are motivated by malevolence and hate, then you’ve got overworked journalists on a deadline that resultantly bang out press releases about surveys that may or may not even exist about workplaces ‘banning’ Christmas decorations without looking into any of it. One down from that is the #12’s of the world, who will ardently push and defend the myths, then at the bottom, what you describe, people who don’t really actively push the myths but simply acquiesce because they don’t know anything else (you can generally correct these people and they’ll blankly nod along).

These stories are so common and so well known that people will sometimes assume that some change they’ve notice is because of Political Correctness. You saw this earlier in the year where a story about police advising pubs in Croydon to turn away people in football shirts because of the potential for violence was turned into one about police banning England shirts because it’s offensive to foreigners. They guy who set up the main Facebook account didn’t seem to know the story wasn’t true, and left the group once he found out.

You’ll also remember that somebody went around masquerading as a PCSO (and of course that woman who lied about a bus driver telling her toddler to take his shirt off or some such shite) telling people to take off their England shirts, somebody was desperate to make out that story was true because of the massive capital in it – http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/06/03/fake-police-asks-people-to-take-off-england-shirts/

Some people are unconsciously going along with the tide, maybe it is a majority, but I think you’re underplaying the notion that a lot of people want to believe that the forces that repealed the era of Garnett and Manning are somehow to blame for everything they don’t like in order to justify their own Davidson tendencies and ultimately repeal those advances – well if they’re getting special treatment, it’s alright for me to be a cunt as recompense, maybe I could band together with some other cunts and we could all go to stoke and try to start a pogrom, fair is fair after all.

This is all rather pathetic.

When I moved up to Scotland in the early 1960s to work and live there (for a while), Christmas day was a full working day (really) – the traditional seasonal holiday in Scotland was Hogmanay, New Year’s Day. In due course, both Christmas Day and Hogmanay have become effective holidays in Britain.

There is no historical evidence linking 25 December to the birth of Christ. The early Christian church – probably motivated by marketing considerations – vested ancient pagan festivals celebrating the winter solstice with Christian mythology.

Try this:

“Since the [solstice] is seen as the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay’s redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. In Greek mythology, the gods and goddesses met on the winter and summer solstice, and Hades was permitted on Mount Olympus. Also reversal is another usual theme as in Saturnalia’s slave and master reversals.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice

“Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters ostensibly switched places.

“Saturnalia was introduced around 217 BCE to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat at the hands of the Carthaginians.[1] Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, its popularity saw it grow until it became a week long extravaganza, ending on the 23rd. Efforts to shorten the celebration were unsuccessful. Augustus tried to reduce it to three days, and Caligula to five. These attempts caused uproar and massive revolts among the Roman citizens.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia

The Christian churches have had little historic influence in Japan but Christmas has become a thriving commercial festival there.

29. Get Over It

Granted that there is no basis to the myth of “Winterval” replacing Christmas, which I think commentators have adequately debunked, to what extent is it fair to claim that the government is adopting “talking points” to the contrary, based upon a single sentence in a newspaper interview? Frankly the evidence that the government is taking this kind of thing seriously (ie. formulating policy based upon it) is as scanty as the evidence that “Winterval” is what Warsi claimed it was. To begin with, the title of the post uses the term “talking points” in the plural — so what are some others?

30. Get Over It

One down from that is the #12?s of the world, who will ardently push and defend the myths

Actually, if you are capable of reading my posts, which seems in doubt — I haven’t “defended the myth” but sought, received and accepted the clarifications made.

31. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

I’m afraid it’s fairly clear who’s comprehension skills are in question here dear boy.

Despite being corrected at #13, #14 and #16 you’re still trying to bluster, obfuscate and as #18 demonstrates, push the notion that there’s a shadowy cabal of politically correct commissars who want to trample on ‘traditional values’.

@27

I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree a little here. I think the vast majority of people who spread these myths don’t do so maliciously, but I have no evidence for that beyond my vague faith that most people are alright really, and anecdotal evidence about stories I’ve heard that never appeared in any paper from people I know not to be deliberately making stuff up.

Sure, some people deliberately peddle these myths. The tabloids often do. Politicians might. Most people though are so primed to believe they’re true that they’ll interpret almost any change as being done so as not to upset the PC Brigade.

30,

I’m pleased that you’ve taken on the evidence, I hope you don’t take it to heart if people act cynically towards you, the comment threads of Lib Con are full of quite horrible people.

There’s a worrying trend of people, educated people, I assume like yourself, being rather credulous towards strange and incredulous stories like “PC gone mad, banned Christmas etc.”

There have been two examples in around a week of the new Government (Warsi, and a White paper on Policing) quoting things which we know are utterly incorrect and part of a mythology which is damaging to the politics and society of this country.

It is not proof that the Govt are adopting “talking points”, but it is evidence towards that worrying idea. Policy based on facts is hard to get right, policy based on lies is almost impossible to.

34. Charlieman

@24 Left Outside: “I know its bad form to leave successive comments…”

That is another myth. It is bad form to conduct an eight paragraph rant, close the point, and to follow up with a further eight paragraph rant. It is reasonable to follow up your own comment with “I forgot to say…” or similarly modest statement.

Bystander at The Magistrate’s Blog discussed myths today with a useful further link: http://thelawwestofealingbroadway.blogspot.com/2010/08/promising.html

35. Get Over It

you’re still trying to bluster, obfuscate and as #18 demonstrates, push the notion that there’s a shadowy cabal of politically correct commissars who want to trample on ‘traditional values’.

Care to quote me where I do this? I’m especially curious where you think I have used the term “traditional values”, as you imply I have by putting the expression in quotation marks in your comment.

It is not proof that the Govt are adopting “talking points”, but it is evidence towards that worrying idea.

It’s one incorrect claim in one newspaper article. And once again: the title of the post uses the term “talking points” in the plural — can anyone give another example of a “PC gone mad” talking point to justify the pluralization?

“Basically it is nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with lawyers. “‘elf and safety regulations” are no such thing, it is lawyers telling companies that if they want to cover their backs, they should make sure that have safe working conditions.”

This is so true. All the so called elf and safety bullshit that is written by lazy, tossers like Richard Little dick who has never done a hard days work in his life turn out to be issues of law.

The council stopping hanging baskets was nothing to do with elf and safety but by ambulance chasing lawyers who pointed out that the council might get sued if a tub fell on some ones head.

The story about the council who had all the gravestones flattened so that non could fall on kids was again thanks to lawyers pointing out the legal risk of not taking action.

Conservatives always lie.

37. Charlieman

@5 Richard Blogger: “Basically it is nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with lawyers. “‘elf and safety regulations” are no such thing, it is lawyers telling companies that if they want to cover their backs, they should make sure that have safe working conditions.”

Right on the first statement but wrong on the second. The lawyers who assist local government, voluntary organisations or private companies do not monitor behaviour unless requested. And of course, observation will be conducted by technical experts, not lawyers.

Your “‘elf and safety warnings” are generated by busy bodies; people who want to ban something because it is inconvenient; possibly well meaning people who wish to cover their backs.

“Health and safety” is something entirely different.

38. Charlieman

Winterfest, Winterval, WinterWhatever? According to this BBC calendar of religious festivals (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/calendar/), UK winter months are packed with ceremonies from all faiths.

If I owned a shop, I would celebrate the lot appropriately; my doors would be open to everyone at all times; Winterval is good for business.

Winterval is also a time for thought and charity from us all.

“It’s one incorrect claim in one newspaper article. And once again: the title of the post uses the term “talking points” in the plural — can anyone give another example of a “PC gone mad” talking point to justify the pluralization?”

Another example is used in the post you are criticising. Read it again.

@ 19

“It didn’t have to. Know why? Almost all these things occurred during Winterval. So, in a way, yes it did.”

No it didn’t. Not in the first year. It was extended in the second year to counter opposition. So the answer is no. And then eventually yes.

Do you even know anything about this at all? Or is it just an odd mission of yours to be outraged at things you think are myths, but are in fact reality?

It didn’t replace Christmas, no, but it was a PC attempt at watering down what it is all about.

Here are few more gems for you to get high-blood pressure over:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_controversy

You might live in a disjointed world where one thing is entirely divorced from the other, but most of us are perfectly able to correlate and understand the underlying theme of these idiocies.

What a crappy post.

Will, it started as a 41 day event, which was later expanded.

Christmas doesn’t last 41 days in my house.

And you have nothing whatsoever to back up “It was extended in the second year to counter opposition.”

“It didn’t replace Christmas, no, but it was a PC attempt at watering down what it is all about.”

That is funny, Winterval is all about what Christmas is about. It was a marketing campaign, just like Christmas now is.

Just to underline.

If it is so clear that Winterval was an attempt at watering down Christmas, why did everyone lie about it and say “Christmas was being banned/airbrushed out/replaced”?

Read the things linked to as Get Over It has, I think it will change your perspective as it has his.

Also your link to Wikipedia mostly seems to talk about private companies avoiding Christmas… How is that PC gone mad and not businesses trying to make as much money as possible?

To all those questioning whether or not the government is pushing PC-gone-mad/health and safety myths and/or using them to justify their policies;

– this guardian story on housing benefit (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/23/budget-housing-benefit-figures-scrutiny?CMP=twt_gu) includes a government spokesman suggesting that anyone looking for evidence of housing benefit abuse should look at the Daily Mail website. This may be a case of using tabloid myths rather than PC-gone-mad myths but I find it just as worrying.

– and there’s this speech by David Cameron (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/dec/01/david-cameron-health-and-safety?CMP=twt_gu) mentioning a whole load of health and safety myths as justification for overturning health and safety legislation.

Make of that what you will.

Jude

43. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

@32

Fairenough old chap, you’ve got a lot more faith in humans than I have.

@40No it didn’t. Not in the first year.

It included Diwali though. Hey, maybe the Council were just replacing Diwali. It’s all a cover and Birmingham Council were really anti Hindu zealots.It was extended in the second year to counter opposition.

Any evidence for that? Show your working now.Do you even know anything about this at all? Or is it just an odd mission of yours to be outraged at things you think are myths, but are in fact reality?

Heh. Who’s outraged? I examine these stories every year at my blog. Have a look if you like. Most of these stories – exaggerated nonsense.It didn’t replace Christmas, no

Then we’re agreed. Winterfest instead of Christmas = myth. Hurrah!…but it was a PC attempt at watering down what it is all about.

Evidence please. ‘It was at the same time as Christmas but wasn’t called Christmas’ isn’t enough.Here are few more gems for you to get high-blood pressure over:

Only three of those stories are about the UK. They’re pretty weak, and none of them demonstrate that anyone is replacing Christmas with anything else.You might live in a disjointed world where one thing is entirely divorced from the other, but most of us are perfectly able to correlate and understand the underlying theme of these idiocies.

*Gasp* dun dun durnnn. No, you’re right. I’m sure there’s a PC cabal trying to eradicate Christmas, rather than a few people making stupid decisions for marketing reasons now and again. Oh, hang on. I don’t think that at all.

Besides, Winterval never replaced Christmas. Baroness Warsi’s claim wasn’t true, which was kind of my point. We’re in agreement there.

Hey – what stripped out all my html?

@ 44

I knew that would get your blood pressure up, and my, has it.

Face it; you were wrong about “almost all these things occurred during Winterval.” It wasn’t true for its origin. You were perpetuating a myth. So we are agreed. Winterval was not a myth, but you are pushing myths around it.

Even just those three stories in the UK is good enough for most people to see a pattern (let alone elsewhere) and they are only “weak” because you say so. Kind of another myth you are pushing really. You might live in a disjointed world where one thing is entirely divorced from the other, but most of us are perfectly able to correlate and understand the underlying theme of these idiocies. Show your working here.

Do you really know anything about this at all or is it what you do with your life?

By the way, Glasgow council had a Wintefest last year so Baroness Warsi isn’t wrong.

You are. Again. Which was kind of your whole point. And you got it wrong. We’re in agreement there.

What a crappy post.

@ 41

You have nothing whatsoever to back up “why did everyone lie about it”

48. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

That’s it Will, you tell the bastards, keep the dream alive.

@46

Heh.

You already seem to have dodged a couple of questions. Before I address this post, I’d appreciate it if you could answer these first:

1. Have you got any evidence that Winterval was extended to counter opposition?

2. Please show some evidence that Winterval was ‘all about’ an attempt to water down Christmas.

Here’s a free answer for you. Winterfest never replaced Christmas in Glasgow either. Its website still exists here:

http://www.winterfestglasgow.com/

Ooh look, there are three or four mentions of Christmas right there on the front page. And another of Santa.

Since we’re agreed that Winterval never replaced Christmas, and we can now see that Winterfest didn’t happen instead of Christmas in Glasgow (so this one is a myth too – hey!) this is all a bit of a pointless diversion. I might be game, though.

Still, I’d rather not have my time wasted here so it would be great if you could answer questions before asking them.

Cheers.

50. Get Over It

Specifically with regard to Christmas, I think there is some conflation with the situation in the USA, where it is undoubtedly the case that upon a certain reading of the Constitution, and with the support of secular activists, the government has downplayed or removed references to Christmas in its activities. Major retailers have followed suit.

@ 49

Well:

1)Your friend Left Outside claims there was much opposition “why did everyone lie about it and say “Christmas was being banned/airbrushed out/replaced” and Baroness Warsi clearly opposed it too, as did I and many others in the region as evidenced by local debate and local news letters. Not everything is online. Not just yet.

2) Please show some evidence it wasn’t, as that is your contention. Christmas is called Christmas and advertised as such traditionally. As you have seen, this was an attempt to use an umbrella to rebrand it as something else as it was in Glasgow too. Its all fine and well having elements of Christmas in the neo-branding, but why not just call it Christmas and be done? All done by leftist councils too.

So there isn’t really much to discuss: You claimed Winterval was a myth and it wasn’t. It turns out you were the one perpetuating myths about it all inclusive.

You derided Warsi for using the term Winterfest and it turns out you was wrong on that too and she was right.

You alluded that this is isolated in any case and I have proven it isn’t. You were wrong on that too.

So in all in all, you were wrong on all of it.

When the councils start rebranding Ramadan and the like come back.

Till then, what a crappy post.

Will.

No one said “Winterval” was a myth. No one said this. Stop saying people did. It is dishonest. We all say that “Winterval replacing Christmas” is a myth. That is untrue, even you admit it, retreating and calling it was a “neo-rebranding”.

There was lots of opposition from liars! Winterval was extended. You are committing the post hoc ergo proctor hoc logical fallacy. The burden of proof is on you to prove that it was extended for the reasons you cite. You cannot, because you have not, and have in despiration cited something completely irrelevant.

It was not a rebranding of Christmas, it was done to make more money. Why have a Christmas Season that extended well beyond the traditon Christmas season (a couple of weeks either side of Dec25)? They couldn’t call it that because it would offend the Christians you see, they’re worried Christmas is getting too commercial.

I’ve dealt with people who brand things, and had to stay “on brand”, and it is a bit ridiculous and, yes, it is always done to appeal to as many people as possible. This is a feature not a bug. Like

I have a feeling, from the way you keep pretending we argued Winterval was a myth, that you are just here to troll. Its quite sweet really. All the evidence is here and everyone else has been convinced. It seems you have a axe to grind.

“When the councils start rebranding Ramadan and the like come back. ”

Oh I see! You’re a victim, and those big bad Muslims are picking on you. Awww. I’m beginning to regret subscribing to these comments.

53. Chaise Guevara

@41

“How is that PC gone mad and not businesses trying to make as much money as possible?”

Because PC is, y’know, like an active force unto itself, completely independent from those accused of wielding it. That’s why you hear about this dreaded PC Brigade, even though you’ve never met anyone who’s a member.

That said, Facebook has (or had) a group called The PC Brigade. If I remember correctly, the group description ran something like: “Every year we ban Christmas. Remember last December when you couldn’t move for Christmas trees and Christmas lights and Christmas decorations? Yeah, well you’re a fucking liar cause we banned it.”

On no, the trolls are not pushing the so called war on christmas bullshit.

Where Fox leads the loonies follow.

Good sally’s here. It’s troll hunting time.

56. Chaise Guevara

In fairness, her last post seems pretty accurate, if you ignore the bit where she confuses ‘trolls’ with ‘people who don’t agree with Sally’.

@ 42

Oh I see you’re back and without answering this one: You have nothing whatsoever to back up “why did everyone lie about it”

You seem to enjoy asking other people to qualify there statements. Fine. I have done.

Now you do the same or rank yourself as dishonest too.

But I think you have already proved this trait with your childish (but sadly prevalent) resort to having to use such colourful online insults such as ‘troll’ to degrade me as I disagree with you and go some way of proving my point. And then there is your enthusiastic incitement to some character purporting to be called ‘Sally’ whose comment is in face pure ‘trolling.’

I refer you back to the actual post and quote the author: “… the Winterval myth .. “ so lets not hear any more myths that this was not deemed a myth by the author, who actually perpetrated another myth in defence of his branding Winterval a myth.

But in any case, you do agree that there was a lot of opposition, which fully answers 5cc’s first question, but it does now leave you in the position of having to qualify your new position that all that opposed to it were ‘liars.’

Christmas was rebranded as Winterval and Winterfest, no arguing about that. It’s a done deal. Proven.

When these same councils do the same with Ramadan and try to make some money out that and Allah come back.

Till then, what a crappy post.

And Sally, you sound demented. Imagine going to all the bother of posting that load of empty old cobblers. No argument, no point, just pure ‘trolling.’ The ‘war on Christmas has raged in the US for some time. Be a dear and educate yourself on it before coming out in public again.

Cheers.

58. Chaise Guevara

“Christmas was rebranded as Winterval and Winterfest, no arguing about that. It’s a done deal. Proven.”

How so? According to our trusty friend Wikipedia: “The council responded that “Christmas is the very heart of Winterval”, saying that Christmas-themed events were prominent among those included in Winterval, and that Christmas-related words and symbols were prominent in its publicity material.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winterval

I’m sure there are people out there who think we should officially secularize Christmas. I’ve met people who genuinely won’t say ‘blackboard’ and tell you you should replace “brainstorm” to “thought-shower”. There’s always someone. But that doesn’t seem to be what Winterval was about. It seems to have been a long period in the winter that included (and celebrated) Christmas.

59. Chaise Guevara

“And then there is your enthusiastic incitement to some character purporting to be called ‘Sally’ whose comment is in face pure ‘trolling.’”

I hope Left Outside was calling her a troll. Anyone who disagrees with her is a troll. If you’re not a Tory, she’ll call you one. If you are a Tory, she’ll call you a brownshirt. And a troll.

Is this a Silly Season story, or is Winterval getting earlier and earlier each year?

@51

Sigh. Here goes:

“1)Your friend Left Outside claims…

That would be something for you to take up with Left Outside.

“2) Please show some evidence it wasn’t, as that is your contention.”

That’s not how it works. You made two positive claims – that Winterval was extended to counter opposition and that Winterval was ‘all about’ watering down Christmas. The burden of proof is on you to prove these claims. If you can’t provide any evidence for them, you absolutely cannot try to shift the burden of proof onto me – that would be committing the logical fallacy of the argument from ignorance.

In any case, I have provided some evidence that suggests you are wrong. Back in post number 22, I linked to an explanation of Winterval made by the man who invented it. He does not say that he came up with Winterval to water down Christmas, nor does he say that he extended the season in order to counter opposition. (Neither does the person Oliver Burkeman spoke to in his article, linked in the OP). If you want to argue to these things, you must provide evidence. There’s no way around that. If you do not provide any evidence, then I can treat your claims in the same way I would the claims of any bloke on the internet.

“Christmas is called Christmas and advertised as such traditionally.”

Did you miss it? The link to the Winterfest site advertised Christmas as Christmas. We can all see it. We can also see the links to Oliver Burkeman’s piece and Mike Chubb’s piece showing that Christmas still went ahead with the things traditionally associated with it during Winterval. If you want us to believe that Christmas wasn’t called Christmas or wasn’t advertised as Christmas, you have to show us evidence that contradicts those things. Otherwise – argument from ignorance again.

In the case of Winterfest, that’s a hell of a job since we can actually see Christmas being called Christmas and being advertised as such.

As you have seen, this was an attempt to use an umbrella to rebrand it as something else as it was in Glasgow too.

We have seen no such thing. We have seen you making this assertion with no evidence to back it up. If you want to continue making this claim, it’s evidence time. I cannot emphasise this enough.

You claimed Winterval was a myth and it wasn’t.

I absolutely, 100% did not make this claim. In the OP, again in comment no. 14 and a third time in comment no. 19 – which was addressed to you and you replied to – I explained that it is the idea that Winterval replaced Christmas that is the myth. Since this is me pointing that out for the fourth time in this thread, I’ll know that if you make that claim again, you’re just lying.

You derided Warsi for using the term Winterfest and it turns out you was wrong on that too and she was right.

This is also completely false. I derided Warsi for claiming that the state said, “We’ll have Winterfest instead of Christmas”. The Winterfest website, with the three or four mentions of Christmas and another of Santa on its homepage prove her to be wrong.

You alluded that this is isolated in any case and I have proven it isn’t.

You know what’s coming now, right? Evidence that I did this, please.

So in all in all, you were wrong on all of it.

My, your discussion technique seems mighty familiar. Are you going to declare yourself to have won the internet soon?

@ 58

Well, actually, Christmas is at the heart of Christmas, that being the reason it is called Christmas and all.

Well at least traditionally anyway. And by Christians. Whose holy festival it is.

It can be called Winterval or Winterfest by leftist councils though, and they might even try and cash in a holy festival too.

Just not a Muslim one. Or any other one. Just Christmas really. Sorry, Winterval / Winterfest.

But it is mighty big of them to use “Christmas-related words and symbols though.” Right into the spirit of Winterval. When we will be seeing Ramaval or Eidfest? Or see them cashing in on Muslim holy days? Or Allah?

But we do agree on “Sally”. And disagree on Left Outsides meaning.

@ 61

Just as well really. I think you have done enough damage to yourself here.

Probably be best if someone cut the cable on your keyboard or pulled out your network cable.

@62

Ah. My comment has been fished from the spam bin.

My last question looks positively clairvoyant, huh? Have you ever commented on Liberal Conspiracy using the name crusade?

@ 61

Round and round over things already covered and myths already smashed.

When we will be seeing Ramaval or Eidfest? Or see them cashing in on Muslim holy days? Or Allah? And so on and so forth…

And Left Outside has pulled the ‘you-disagree-with-me-you-must-be-a-troll’ card so I suppose in the same sad prevalent internet way you just had to come up with a conspiracy theory that I am someone else. As if it would matter anyway.

Anything but answer the series of question you have been asked but avoid with the desperation of a man using desperate tactic to distract away from the core issue: You were wrong on pretty much everything you have said and demonstrably so.

What a shabby dishonest underhanded duo of myth purveyors you and your friend are.

Feel free to call me Hitler, Arthur, Genghis or Crusader if it makes you feel better.

My guess is that poster is another one who cut through the crap, didn’t join in with the mindless affirmation and left you dead in a debate.

Adios, and what a crappy post.

@64

Ha ha. What a tit.

“Tell us all 5cc, did the council also run a ‘Lightval’ campaign for Diwali? Or the equivalent for Ramadan, Hanukkah, Vesak etc”

Yes. They did.

“The extended Winterval the following year included: Hallowe’en; Bonfire Night; Diwali; Ramadan and Eid; Hanukkah; Advent, Christmas, and Boxing Day; New Year’s Eve; and Chinese New Year.” SOURCE

So what was you point about Ramadan anyway?

BTW, You’re not a troll because we disagree, I’m an extremist, few agree with me, but most aren’t trolls.

You’re a troll because you keep ignoring other commenters. For example the way you repeteadly insist we define the Winterval Myth in terms in which we never have.

If you could bullet point where you think you actually have the upper hand I’d be very curious.

67. Chaise Guevara

“Well, actually, Christmas is at the heart of Christmas, that being the reason it is called Christmas and all.

Well at least traditionally anyway. And by Christians. Whose holy festival it is.”

Christmas is at the heart of Christmas and Winterval and winter itself, if you like. Just like a city can be at the heart of a county and a nation. It’s not mutually exclusive. The point is that by saying Winterval was at the heart of Christmas, the council were explicitally saying that the two things were not the same thing.

“It can be called Winterval or Winterfest by leftist councils though, and they might even try and cash in a holy festival too.

Just not a Muslim one. Or any other one. Just Christmas really. Sorry, Winterval / Winterfest.”

Except, on the evidence of this thread, no council (leftist or otherwise) has ever called Christmas Winterval. Which means you’re pointing out an inconsistency that doesn’t exist: Eid and Hannakah have never been called Winterval, but nor has Christmas. All’s fair.

“But it is mighty big of them to use “Christmas-related words and symbols though.” Right into the spirit of Winterval. When we will be seeing Ramaval or Eidfest? Or see them cashing in on Muslim holy days? Or Allah?”

By the logic of saying Christmas was branded Winterval, they almost certainly have already. All you need to do is find some modern festival or event that coincides with any Muslim holiday. By exactly the same logic, that’s the same as them ‘cashing in’ on Christmas by holding Winterval.

“But we do agree on “Sally”. And disagree on Left Outsides meaning.”

Not sure I disagree with Left Outside, but Sally’s a troll and it’s only fair to say so when she attacks people.

68. Chaise Guevara

@66

“The extended Winterval the following year included: Hallowe’en; Bonfire Night; Diwali; Ramadan and Eid; Hanukkah; Advent, Christmas, and Boxing Day; New Year’s Eve; and Chinese New Year.” ”

Ah, you’d made my point already and researched it too.

There you go, Will: if Winterval is offensive to Christianity, it’s equally offensive to Muslims, Jews, the Chinese, ghosts and ghoulies, monarchists and possibly druids.

@68

“Ah, you’d made my point already and researched it too.”

I made this point too, way back in comment no. 19. Apparently, these don’t count (Will claims) because Winterval only included all of them the second time around (comment no. 46), and it was only extended to counter opposition (comment no.40).

I never got as far as adressing how only being included the second time around means that these things weren’t included in Winterval, because in post 40 Will accepted that they were (“So the answer is no. And then eventually yes”).

I wanted Will to provide some evidence that Winterval was extended to counter opposition first, but he didn’t even manage that.

The closest he gat was evidence that some people opposed Winterval in comment no. 51, but that was as far as it went.

Shortly after that he declared me and Left Outside dishonest and himself the king of the internet.

I don’t know who exactly that was supposed to convince.

I think there are merits to both points, but equally I strongly suspect that this Winterval and Winterfest lark was just a first step toward secularising the Christmas period; if no one had complained in volume it would have creeped further into sterilising the Christmas period.

I agree that it was overblown and used by those of the right but I can also see that it was some sort of attempt at washing over the unique significance of Christmas as a standalone event.

Much has been made of the Christmas related themes of Winterval but I would be interested how much was made of the other faiths festival periods too, especially Islam, having followed your link to the north of the border Winterfest I couldn’t see any mention of anything other Xmas so that may give rise to the feeling that it has been renamed.

That be my take.

71. Charlieman

@70 x pat: “…I strongly suspect that this Winterval and Winterfest lark was just a first step toward secularising the Christmas period…”

This argument might have validity if Winterval operated on the start and end day of Christian holidays. But the duration of Winterval is determined by marketing people who pick dates on a multi faith religious calendar. Winterval is about selling stuff; the inventors of it had no sociological or political intent.

@70

Winterval and Winterfest lark was just a first step toward secularising the Christmas period

I think capitalism can secularise xmas well enough all by itself thankyouverymuch. Seriously, how many people actually give two monkeys about the virgin birth, angels in fields, king herod going postal etc etc? I mean it’s a good myth with some good choons, but that’s about it.
And why oh why does Jesus have two seperate genealogies in the Bible?

73. Alan Twelve

#70

“having followed your link to the north of the border Winterfest I couldn’t see any mention of anything other Xmas”

Granted, Winterfest didn’t have events to celebrate Eid or Diwali, or whatever, but it celebrated St Andrew’s Day (St Andrew being Scotland’s patron saint), which is on 30 November, Christmas and Hogmanay. The New Year is a much bigger deal in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, on account of celebration of xmas having been banned in Scotland for a very long time. By christians, funnily enough.

My point being that Winterfest was not exclusively about Christmas, nor was it an attempt to rename, secularise or otherwise change Christmas. It was about people enjoying themselves, something I appreciate the apoplectic dullards who get all upset about Winterval, etc, might not find it easy to understand.

St Andrew’s Day and Hogmanay are not religious festivals though. So we are we to understand that this so-called Winterfest was actually Christmas renamed? If not, why not?

@74

“So we are we to understand that this so-called Winterfest was actually Christmas renamed? If not, why not?”

Because Christmas was still called Christmas. Here’s the WInterfest website. There are several mentions of Christmas and one of Santa right on the homepage.

No. Sorry. Just cant see it from your point of view. I have tried.

If Christmas was still called Christmas, why did the council call the whole event Winterfest then? It doesn’t make any sense other way then to see Warsi (a Muslim) was right. Despite your claim “That absolutely did not happen. Ever.”

Winterfest had only Christmas as its religious festival, so I would say it is perfectly clear that the council did indeed rename the whole event Winterfest. It’s all very well mentioning Christmas during “Winterfest” but when Christmas is the only religious event, why just give it its proper name?

Out curiosity, can you really not see this at all? Or even why people would see it that way? And why was Winterval cancelled after only two years if there wasn’t any opposition to it as you appear to be claiming?

77. Alan Twelve

Ted

“No. Sorry. Just cant see it from your point of view. I have tried.”

I really don’t think you have and that you are, in fact, being deliberately obtuse. Still…

“If Christmas was still called Christmas, why did the council call the whole event Winterfest then?”

Because it was a series of events starting at the end of November, which is when the patron saint of Scotland is celebrated, through xmas, which even to secular types, is the biggest holiday of the year, to the new year, which is a major holiday/festival in Scotland. Given that there are these three things falling so close together, it makes perfect sense to organise celebratory events and have them under the same umbrella. Do you have issues understanding why the Edinburgh International Festival is called that?

Also, Christmas is mentioned by name several times on the front page of the Winterfest website and there’s a picture of a humungous xmas tree. Just how much more christmassy do you want it to be, exactly? A virgin birth?

What exactly is the relevance of Christmas being the only religious festival? (And do you know what a saint is?)

And did you miss the bit in my previous post about how hogmanay and the new year are celebrated in Scotland because of the banning of Christmas. By Christians? Christmas and New Year are intrinsically linked in Scotland.

@76

Okay *ahem* “Ted”,

“If Christmas was still called Christmas, why did the council call the whole event Winterfest then?”

Whether Christmas was still called Christmas really isn’t up for debate. You can actually see it still called Christmas on the Winterfest site. If Christmas had been renamed Winterfest, you would have links to Winterfest Eve and so on.

It doesn’t make any sense other way then to see Warsi (a Muslim) was right. Despite your claim “That absolutely did not happen. Ever.”

Since Winterfest did not happen instead of Christmas, but as well as Christmas, then Baroness Warsi was clearly wrong in her claim. That’s before we get into whether the state said this must happen.

It’s all very well mentioning Christmas during “Winterfest” but when Christmas is the only religious event, why just give it its proper name?

How many days of Christmas are there? Does it extend from 21 November until after New Year’s Eve, or are there traditionally only twelve?

And why was Winterval cancelled after only two years if there wasn’t any opposition to it as you appear to be claiming?

I never actually claimed this. I claimed that “Will” (you know, that other poster that definitely isn’t you) needed to show that Winterval had been extended to counter opposition before I accepted that Winterval had been extended for this reason.

I suspect that with his talking about me or Left Outside claiming there was no opposition “Will” was attempting to move the goalposts so he had an easier point to make. We will never know, since “Will” is unlikely ever to return.

Alan, Hallowean is celebrated by Christians too even though it is pagan, it doesn’t mean it’s a religious festival. Why does Christmas need an Umbrella called Winterfest, exactly?

5cc haven’t you already pulled the ghost card after the other guy pulled the troll card? Never mind, try it again if you like. Your argument has no merit so I suppose you may as well. In fact you didn’t even know there was a Winterfest until Will pointed it out, because, it would seem, you don’t really know what you are talking about.

Why can’t you tell us why Winterval was cancelled? You claim to be an expert.

Christmas clearly was rebranded as nothing more then one small element of some petty council package rather then the most holy of holy’s for Christians. This has not, and I suspect never will happen to Ramadan. There would be blood in the streets if they tried.

@79

Ha ha.

We have the shifting away from the issue at hand (was Winterval extended because of opposition) to a new one (was Winterval stopped because of opposition), which “Will” already pulled by switiching the same question to whether there was any opposition at all.

We have an overstated attack of the ‘you don’t know what you’re on about’ kind.

We have yet another claim that Ramadan would never be included in something like Winterval despite it having been pointed out in this thread several times that Ramadan was part of the second Winterval.

Isn’t it about time for you to declare yourself winner and king of the internet?

Buubye Wi- sorry, “Ted”.

“Christmas clearly was rebranded as nothing more then one small element of some petty council package rather then the most holy of holy’s for Christians.”

Two points:

1) Christmas wasn’t “rebranded” as a “small” element, it was pushed as the main part of a larger event, branded as Winterval.

2) “the most holy of holy’s for Christians.” Easter is generally considered the most holy date for Christians – your knowledge of theology leaves a little to be desired.

Of course you may as well just declare you have won the internet and leave (again).

So you both really are still playing the ghost card. Why not? You have about as much evidence for that as you do for the rest of your horseshit.

@ 80

Actually you are the one doing so. This post was all about attacking Warsi and her use of the term ‘Winterfest’ which in your ignorant rage didn’t even know existed as a reality until Will pointed it out to you.

Why is it you can’t tell us why Winterval was cancelled though? You are an expert, are you not? Was it not popular?

@ 81

Christmas is the biggest event for Christians in this country at least, as any normal non-fanatic (fanatic liberal?) will tell you. So your knowledge of normal life and reality leaves a little to be desired. As it always does with people of your peculiar anti-reality standpoints.

And Christmas was the only religious element for ‘Winterfest’ (the kind of whole point of this post) and so, yes, it was rebranded.

@82

Okay. This is my last go, and its for the benefit of anyone who might have just tuned in rather than Ted/Will/Tony u:

“This post was all about attacking Warsi and her use of the term ‘Winterfest’ which …”

What this post was about has been explained in this thread ,seven times. “Will” even admitted that Winterval didn’t replace Christmas back in comment no. 40, but seems to have forgotten that by comment no. 52.

Last time. My post, quoted in the OP, was about the claim that the state said you must have Winterfest instead of Christmas. That is flat out wrong.

Since I said this to “Ted” in comment no. 78, he either has incredibly poor reading comprehension or is lying when he again tries to claim the problem was something else.

“Why is it you can’t tell us why Winterval was cancelled though? You are an expert, are you not? Was it not popular?”

For the last time. The issue at hand was whether or not Winterval was extended because of opposition. Will or Ted are shifting this point because it is a difficult one to argue for them.

This is an odd version of the bait and switch technique. Odd because the bait is usually supposed to be hidden.

“Ted”, the reason I suspect you are a sockpuppet is that your behaviour, and Will’s, are very similar. This behaviour is also very distinctive. Most people do not act in this way, ignoring explanations, shifting arguments to distract, shouting about their opponents knowing nothing. It’s quite unusual.

I suspect it wouldn’t be fair on Will/Ted for me to continue. It’s easy enough for people to read the rest of the thread and see how it has developed. It’s easy to see that the point was never about whether or not there was a Winterfest, but whether it happened instead of Christmas. It’s easy to see that Winterval and Winterfest did not replace Christmas. It’s easy to see that Ramadan has been included in a Winterval style exercise, since it was actually included in the second Winterval.

Anything else I could contribute would be ad nauseum repetitions. So, I’m bowing out. Carrying on would be cruel.

“Ted” – feel free to pretend that his means you’ve won. That seems to make you happy.

@82 “Ted”

Not sure why I’m bothering but it’s saturday and raining and I’m bored and hungover soooo…

Christmas is the biggest event for Christians in this country at least, as any normal non-fanatic (fanatic liberal?) will tell you.

Now that may be the case. But that was not what you said. You called Christmas – @79 – “the most holy of holy’s for Christians.” It isn’t. Ask any Christian next time you’re in church (lol) – the whole dying-on-the-cross-then-coming-back-to-life shindig is far more important than Chrimbo. To deny that shows you are actually at best misguided or under-educated when it comes to the Christian faith (which makes me wonder why you’re debating this).

Christmas has been a commercialised love-in for capitalism since about 1910(ish). It has more to do with pagan winter festivals than anything that happened in the Bible (if you don’t believe me I suggest you read it).

@ 83

Oh, I am called Tony as well now am I? What a crock. But go on then, any evidence for this? I thought not. All of this is horseshit and you are the horseshit ringmaster.

I couldn’t care less what Will said or admitted, that’s his concern and the only “behaviour” we share is that we both disagree with you and call you out on your myth making and stock-in-trade internet labels designed to degrade/discredit opposition opinion rather then actually answer questions and debate.

Forget all the other questions you have ignored and answer just one, and it’s a very simple question too: Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

In fact answer one more: How could you attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when you didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?

Sod, one last one you have already been asked: You claim Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can you prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

And after you studiously avoid answering these simple questions, remember that this whole post was really about Warsi and Winterfest and you didn’t even know that had happened before it was pointed out to you.

Didn’t stop you raging away like a drunk at his shadow though.

@ 84

That is your opinion and nothing else. Without Christ’s birth, there would have been no death.

Globally Christmas is the biggest and most important Christian festival as you yourself concede with it commercialised feel, but having private companies package it is one thing. Having politely inspired petty little soviets / councils do it is another.

But I do get the petty spite you are trying to convey to me and everyone else because I don’t accept this horseshit. Well done. Very liberal of you.

Winterfest contained only Christmas as a religious festival and this was the councils approach for its celebration. Therefore Christmas was renamed Winterfest and no amount of insults, accusations and spite is going to change that fact, and the fact that Warsi was right.

Get over it.

@85

Well the thing is Ted, it ain’t “PC gawwn maaad” that’s caused the commercialisation of xmas. it’s whole “capitalism” shindig that I mentioned earlier. You might have heard of it? If, not, this might help.

And I really do think you should ask some of your fellow church-goers which is the bigger deal, xmas or easter. Mostly because I know you’re wrong. But hey, you’ll learn something too.

Though, both are based on paganistic festivals celebrating winter and spring… shit, almost like a winterfest or something… ZOMGZ!

Anyhoo, you know bugger all about the christian faith or capitalism or history so I’m fucking off outta this debate, it’s pointless debating with someone with so little knowledge. Pip-pip.

Oh and @Ted once more, I forgot to mention:
“Without Christ’s birth, there would have been no death.” Yesss however without the death bit Jesus wouldn’t have been able to Save Mankind From Sin which is Christianity’s unique selling point. I don’t expect you to know that of course because it’s quite an obscure theological point.

@ 86

You trot out another stock-in-trade “liberal” label, assign it to me and proceed on that basis.

Your profanity, spite and insults makes you a troll here. No more, no less. And so up until the point you calm down and start behaving like a normal decent human being, I won’t even read the hate you are posting.

Perhaps instead of swearing and insulting away hysterically because someone dares disagree with you, you could answer these simple questions. Surely one “liberal” can?

Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?

It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?

@88

Oh Ted, welcome to the internet. People swear, it’s just awful isn’t it. Now I hope we’re agreed that Easter is more important than Christmas to Christians (and if you still don’t believe me then have a peeky-boo at this here link – it’s a Catholic encyclopedia and the key bit to notice is: “Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year.”

OK? OK.

Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

Presumably because of tabloid spin and lies making it out to be a PC takeover of Christmas. Y’know, just guessin’ like.

How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?

Was she? How do you know that? Any average reader would’ve read it and thought “Ah, she’s getting muddled about that Winterval thingy in Brum back in the ’90s”. That aside, 5CC was attacking the notion that Christmas had been “replaced” by Winterfest/val, and that it was a symptom of PC/multiculturalism rather than a marketting ploy.

It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

Yes. Birmingham City Council can, and their contact details should be here. OK?

If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?

Because, if you looked at the damn (sorry) website, you would see that it involves lots of different events and festival-related things. What should they have called it? Christmas-fest? Sort-of-including-Christmas-and-other-stuff-fest? End-of-year-fest?

I am willing to bet the national debt that this Christmas there will be people celebrating Christmas and doing so freely with the support of their friends, family and colleagues. And not getting arrested for it, either. Hardly sounds like it’s been replaced, eh old chap?

Now cheer the [censored] up and have a cup of tea or something. The Football-fest has just started again.

And now, really, I’m outta here.

6. Richard W 3:44 pm, August 3, 2010

‘ These type of myths and made up facts resonate because a lot of people see the world the way they want it to be. Some on the left are not immune to seeing issues this way. Making up facts and throwing it to the right-wing base works because it is what they want to believe. No amount of debunking will make any difference because they so want the myth to be true. ‘

As I said on the first day of the thread. ‘ No amount of debunking will make any difference because they so want the myth to be true. ‘

@ 89

You swear and hate and spite away and yes, you are awful; least ways that how you present here. Certainly you’re not a liberal in any sense of the word.

And of course you use the stock-in-trade “we are agreed” crap whereas the truth is that I could just as easily find a link that says Christmas is the most important Christian festival because all it is, is someone’s opinion. The simple fact of the matter is that Christmas is the biggest and most widely celebrated Christian festival with £36bn of revenue generated over it in the UK alone.

I can’t for the life of me think why you even bothered typing out those responses when not one of them is an actual answer:

I didn’t ask what you presumed to be the reason Winterval was terminated, I asked what was the actual reason why. But your answer is that public opposition to it put a stop to it.

And as for how I know what Warsi was thinking? Because she said what she was thinking!!! She clearly said “Winterfest” and Wintefest took place last year so I think if anyone is muddled it is you. At the very least.

And the last “answer” is even more bizarre. If you don’t know the answer, then you don’t know. Its that simple. And clearly you don’t. Why bother to find another way to express the fact that you are clueless?

So pretty much your entire comment was a big bag of hot air.

@ 90

Problem is Richard that it is not a myth at all.

Winterfest occurred. It really did. Christmas was the only religious festival included in Winterfest. That is a fact. Wintefest was the brand the council decided to use to celebrate Christmas. That is a fact too.

Therefore Winterfest became Christmas.

Not a myth at all.

Now, can anyone give the actual answer to these questions:

Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?

It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?

92. Alan Twelve

Ted, #91

“Winterfest occurred. It really did. Christmas was the only religious festival included in Winterfest. That is a fact.”

Yes, but why is it relevant? Also, Saint Andrew is a Christian saint, so it could be argued that St Andrew’s Day is a religious festival. But I won’t do that.

“Wintefest was the brand the council decided to use to celebrate Christmas. That is a fact too.”

Not really. Winterfest was a series of events over the course of a month-and-a-bit that included the city’s traditional Christmas celebrations – the lights, xmas tree, carol singing, that sort of thing. It also, and I shouldn’t need to repeat this, included the St Andrew’s Day and Hogmanay celebrations. These are not Christmas.

“Therefore Winterfest became Christmas.”

Christmas takes place in December. Has December become Christmas? Christmas this year is on a Saturday. Will Saturday become Christmas? If not, why not?

“And as for how I know what Warsi was thinking? Because she said what she was thinking!!! She clearly said “Winterfest” and Wintefest took place last year so I think if anyone is muddled it is you.”

The actual Warsi quote is:

“When the state says ‘We’ll have winterfest instead of Christmas, so everyone feels included.’ That’s wrong.”

Given that the word ‘winterfest’ is not capitalised, that might suggest she’s talking hypothetically and not about the actual events in Glasgow. I’d be very surprised, in fact, if she was even aware of Glasgow’s Winterfest. If you’ve read the article, you’ll have seen that it continues:

“But surely it’s the state’s decision either way? Whether schools call it winterfest or Christmas, it’s still the state’s decision. She disagrees: “A school should have the freedom to decide. If you have a school in the middle of a diverse society with lots of ethnic communities, then the head teacher in their professional judgment should know the best way to make everyone feel included. It’s not for the state to say. ‘You will teach A, B and C.'””

Schools? Clearly, she is not talking about Winterfest in Glasgow.

I propose we close this thread because it is rapidly getting nowhere.

If there is anyone reading who feels the Tony/Will/Ted/whatever has a point then please speak up, otherwise I’m going to consider him a troubled man shouting at the internet and bow out.

To bring this thread to a close I invoke Godwin:

Ted, you’re a Nazi.

@ 92

Why is it relevant? Are you for real?! That is the whole point of the post! Have a look at the title of the post and then have a look at Warsi said.

St Andrews day is not a religious festival so if you argued that you would be lying.

I know most the people on this site inhabit a twilight world of reality, but when something is called Winterfest, and the only religious celebration this new brand contains is Christmas, and when the council arrange the Christmas celebrations under the banner of Winterfest instead of just Christmas, then normal sane rational people will say that Christmas had been replaced with an umbrella called Winterfest.

It’s so obvious, even a Muslim could see it. And she said it. And you don’t like that. Thats the real issue here.

And in keeping with your anti-reality theme, you are another who is going to claim that you know better then Warsi what she actually meant to say!! Would that be because you think the Winterval angle is more defensible, one wonders?

@ 93

And you are a desperate troll who cannot handle dissent. And you call yourself a liberal?! Make me laugh. You are an angry, intolerant dishonest crank.

Why is it no-one can answer some simple questions? What have you got to hide?

Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?

It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?

@91

I don’t give a hoot what you think of me, but your ad hom attacks are hilariously ironic given what you’re moaning about.
Your rather dire attempt at a rebuff consists of “I’m not reading what you said because I don’t like the way you say it”, basically, which is a little sad. But of course, because I actually set out answers to your inane questions (questions, by the way, that have already been answered in this very thread) you chose to ignore them.
You really want to know about Winterval and why it was cancelled, why not ring Birmingham City Council and ask them. I’m sure they will be delighted to help you. And the same goes for your question about Ramadan. Of course, everyone reading this knows you will not ring BCC because you are, in fact, nothing more than a troll. A particularly subtle one perhaps but thank goodness all the comments here can be read by everyone and the unbiased reader can make up their own mind. You call people “intolerant” “clueless” “dishonest” when they disagree with you or point out a factual inaccuracy in your version of events. You offer nothing to the debate other than the same questions that have been answered over and over again, and ad hom attacks on people who attempt debate with you. Hell, you even called me out for swearing(!) when it wasn’t even aimed at you. You, sir, are a troll and a cloaca; but I hope you stop being lonely soon.

@ 95

Well clearly you couldn’t what people think, because you are a spiteful swearing troll.

This comment is just as much hot air as the last. You didn’t answer one single question then and you haven’t answered one here now

You have just returned to troll and insult.

This is all very interesting now. Why can’t even one of you honestly and evidentially answer these simple questions?

What are trying to hide?

Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?

It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?

@ 95

And seeing as you have clearly stated twice that you are leaving, or as your disgusting toilet mouth puts it:

“so I’m fucking off outta this debate”

And then after returning to troll some more:

“And now, really, I’m outta here.”

We can also see that your even your word has absolutely no value attached to it whatsoever.

And people are only as good as their word.

98. Alan Twelve

Hi Ted

I believe that you’re a troll, but I’ll try to answer your questions in good faith, on the off chance that you’re not. However, when you have a go at someone for having a ‘disgusting toilet mouth’ but quote the actual swearing you claim to be upset about, it kind of makes you look very trolly. Anyway…

“Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?”

Ummm, I don’t know. I, like everyone else here (I assume), have no connection to Bimingham City Council. However, if I had to guess, I’d say that it’s because of all the fuss created by various parties mistakenly/dishonestly claiming that it was their PC-gone-mad attempt to rename christmas, rather than just a marketing exercise. It seems there might actually be such a thing as bad publicity after all.

“How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?”

It seems quite clear to me (you may disagree) that Warsi wasn’t talking about Glasgow’s Winterfest. Did you not read the article, or at least the part I quoted when she’s talking about schoolchildren being forced to use the term? I’d be extremely surprised if she, or any English Tory, has any knowledge of what Glasgow City Council do for christmas.

“It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?”

I had a quick google and it’s easy to find articles that mention Eid and Ramadan celebrations as part of Winterval. Nothing official though – not surprisingly, this having happened 12 years ago, the information is no longer on Brum’s website. I’m sure this won’t be sufficient for you, but hey, I tried. You might be interested to know that Leicester has a Ramadan Shopping Festival and Istanbul has a Ramadan Jazz Festival. Reports of casualties are currently unconfirmed.

“If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?”

Winterfest was not just a Christmas event. It also took in St Andrew’s Day and Hogmanay celebrations. I’ve told you this already. If they called it “Christmas”, this would be rather misleading, don’t you think? They had events called Glasgow’s Christmas Lights and Baby’s 1st Christmas, they had a Christmas Eve concert where there were Christmas carols sung and there was a Salvation Army Band (or are the Salvation Army fighting to secularise Christmas now?). There was no renaming of Christmas. Look at their website – the word Christmas is all over it and there’s a photograph with a Christmas tree and Christmas lights. It could hardly be more Christmassy.

These are my honest attempts to answer you as best I can. Perhaps you can do the same with these questions?

Christmas takes place in December. Has December become Christmas? Christmas this year is on a Saturday. Will Saturday become Christmas? If not, why not?

You keep going on about xmas being the only religious festival that was celebrated as part of Winterfest (although I’m still not convinced that a Christian saint’s Feast Day isn’t a religious festival, but we’ll let that slide). Just why is that so important?

Do you think that Glasgow are trying to rebrand St Andrew’s Day as Winterfest? What about Hogmanay?

If Warsi is talking about Glasgow’s Winterfest 2009, why is she talking about schools and schoolchildren, given that the event had no connection to Glasgow’s schools?

@ 98

I am afraid you rather wasted your time. I stopped reading at the very first line that gratuitously attacked me. Did you really expect me to continue reading after that?

I think you are another troll who cannot handle dissent and has to launch into the tired old internet mantras we have seen throughout this thread.

So in case there are any genuine non-trolls here I reiterate my position:

When something is called Winterfest, and the only religious celebration this new brand contains is Christmas, and when the council arrange the Christmas celebrations under the banner of Winterfest instead of just Christmas, then normal sane rational people will say that Christmas had been replaced with an umbrella called Winterfest.

And I ask my simple questions again, in the hope that at least one of the people on here either making such bold claims or supporting such bolds claims is at the very least in possession of the rudimentary facts, because as it stands not one person here is:
Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?

It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?

100. Alan Twelve

Oh, Ted. That really is pathetic.

There were pagan festivals to celebrate the winter solstice centuries before the Christian era.

Since there is no historical evidence linking 25 December to the birth of Christ, it seems highly likely that the early Christian church simply latched on to these traditional festivals to promote Christianity. It’s more a case of the churches imposing a Christian mythology on traditional pagan festivities than the other way round.

The trouble is that few want to consider the history of the seasonal festivities before rushing off to bang the drum over supposed Political Correctness issues.

@ 100

What? Gratuitous attacks? I agree. Why do you think anyone would read any further then the first six words?

@ 101

There is no evidence of any God existing but whole religions have sprung up irregardless along with holy days and festivals that are very important to the people that believe, so what’s your point?

I think what has been firmly established here is that not one of you actually knows the fundamental facts but still make bold claims.

Shocking. Really, can not one of you answer these:

Why was Winterval cancelled? Why did it die so soon after starting?

How could 5cc attack Warsi (and the premise of this post) when he didn’t even know that there was a Winterfest last year? And it was to that she was referring?
It has been claimed Ramadan was also bundled into Winterval, can anyone prove that there was any attempt to bundle Ramadan celebrations under this umbrella of Winterval?

If Wintefest contained only Christmas as a religious festival, and the celebration proceeded under this banner, how can any normal person be expected to believe that the Christmas wasn’t renamed?

Okay, that’s just about enough sockpuppetry from Ted/Will/tony-u as I’m prepared to allow on this occasion, so comments are now closed.


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