Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

CHRISTMAS being festive by nature, it is hardly surprising that it has caught the attention of bossy law-makers. For several years, Birmingham City Council has followed in the footsteps of Oliver Cromwell, who outlawed Christmas between 1648 and 1660, by refusing to have any reference to the festival on its streets in case the city's Hindus and Muslims should feel upset (most, naturally, said they wouldn't; only banning Diwali or Ramadan would upset them). Instead, the council celebrated a previously unknown event known as 'Winterval'.

There will be a little less Christmas cheer in Bakewell this year; a greengrocer who has traditionally hung pheasants above his shop window has been forbidden to do so by health and safety inspectors. The Nativity remains outlawed in many schools, while Radio One has in previous years banned Christmas songs from its airwaves. The material aspects of Christmas have suffered from the same mean spirit as the religious ones: the Co-op has removed Action Man toys from its shelves on the grounds that they might encourage violence among children - no doubt an Action Man in a social worker's uniform will follow. …

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