Wednesday, December 19, 2007 

Bah, humbug.

Ah, the Sun. Like those England fans singing "Rule Britannia" when the team wasn't even winning against Croatia it will never surrender, especially not to the EU or to the "politically correct brigade". Joining one on and off campaign to another demanding fair treatment for our put upon troops, it earlier in the month announced that it was selling Christmas cards featuring all its columnists in the nativity scene, with the profits going to the "Help for Heroes" charity:

We’ve created the ultimate fun Christmas card that celebrates the pure joy of the Nativity story.

Our brilliant columnists have given their time FREE to recreate the scene 2,000 years ago in that lowly stable in Bethlehem.

They’ll love to see Lorraine Kelly as Mary, Fergus Shanahan as Joseph and Kelvin MacKenzie as their faithful donkey. Jeremy Clarkson, Ian Wright and Trevor Kavanagh are the three wise men.

The innkeeper is Jon Gaunt and his wife is played by Deidre Sanders. And the glad tidings are given to our four shepherds — David Blunkett, Terry Venables, Ally Ross and Chris Kamara — by the Angel of the Lord in the heavenly form of Jane Moore.

And David’s faithful guide dog Sadie is there to play the sheepdog.

It’s the perfect antidote to all those killjoys who try to downgrade Christmas by calling it Winterval, banning nativity plays or simply ban any mention of Christ at this holy time of the year.

These are no “season’s greetings”. The card proudly says Merry Christmas and inside: And a Happy New Year.

All in undoubtedly good taste and very wholesome. Except, as today's Private Eye reports, there was meant to be a DVD to go with the cards, until Rebekah Wade ordered that every copy of it be destroyed in an unprecedented act of killjoyishness from the Scum editor. She even warned that the DVD was so offensive that it would "sink the paper". To quote the Eye:

"A typical scene featured Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan as Joseph, pretending to "shag" the Virgin Mary (Lorraine Kelly) while the donkey-suited Kelvin MacKenzie frolicked about on all fours, braying "If that's a story my prick's a bloater!"

Just what would those so disgusted by BBC Three's recasting of Mary and Joseph as asylum seekers think?

To blatantly steal another story from the Eye, it follows the emergence of the claims that the Healey Primary School in Rochdale had "banned Christmas cards" when they had in fact asked parents to send just one card to a whole class. A spokeswoman for the school added:

“The cost of so many cards is prohibitive for some families and we feel that children are often pressurised to act in the same way as their peers.”

Incredibly similar then to the story from last year about JobCentres in Tower Hamlets which had "banned" Christmas decorations when they had actually not put them up because they were concerned it might upset some of the families that weren't able to afford decorations themselves. A questionable decision perhaps, but not to avoid offending people of other faith as it was rapidly turned into. The Rochdale school hasn't banned the sending of cards, just gave a suggestion. The school is also putting on three Christmas productions and a carol service, so it's certainly nothing to do with political correctness either.

The Eye mentions how it was featured in the Express (which I can't find online) and in the Star which ignored all the facts with its front-page headline "Ban on Christmas cards in case they upset Muslims!", but the story was still working its way around Fleet Street up till yesterday, when the Daily Mail featured it alongside a quote from Nick Seaton, the chairman of "Campaign for a Real Education", whose pseudo-manifesto recommends that "Circle Time" (a more grown-up version of show and tell involving discussion, and completely harmless) shouldn't be allowed in schools and that drug and sex education, if provided at all, should aim at prevention, not harm reduction:

'I thing (sic) most sensible parents would be absolutely horrified by this decision.

"It strikes me as another attempt to remove Christmas from the classroom and the calendar altogether."

Even the Observer carried the story, proving that even the limp-wristed liberals can't turn away from a story based on very little facts whatsoever.

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