Eric Pickles is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He is also, it seems, prone to parroting any old bullshit from the Daily Mail. Viz: "Councils should take pride in Christmas celebrations".
"The War on Christmas is over, and likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be in the dustbin of history.
Mr Pickles explained that the Christian festival has previously been ambushed by those intent on re-branding Christmas as a bland 'Winter festival', insisting that multi-cultural Britain can enjoy Christmas without abandoning its underlying Christian heritage in a misguided attempt to appease these politically correct 'Grinches'.
Honestly, where to fucking start with this. Let's do Winterval (Birnimgham, 2001), which wasn't Christmas – it was a period through December and the new year. An interval in Winter, if you will. Council spokesperson says:
"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."
So Winterval "replaced" Christmas in much the same way as December does. Curse the Romans and their foreign PC calendars!!1!
As for Luminos (also 2001, Luton), it was a town festival held on a weekend in November between Diwali and Christmas. There was a funfair. Oh my fucking god SAVE US FROM THE EVIL PC NOVEMBER FUNFAIR. The Sun worked itself into such a happy froth over the whole thing that it repeated the story in 2004, a whole three years after the actual event. Oops.
And "Winter Lights"? That was Lambeth, 2005. Council: "it was certainly not a council policy that we should call the lights winter lights … [it] was an error basically". Damn this massive conspiracy of occasional, localised publicity errors.
Anyhow, bah, humbug. It seems that Winterval comes earlier every bloody year. Does Pickles not have anything important or at the very least real to turn his attention and department budget to? If not, he might as well declare war on Narnia (Sarah Palin would probably lend a hand).