The Daily Telegraph was one of the worst culprits for repeating the Winterval myth and it has repeated it yet again. This time it was the turn of Peter Oborne – the Daily Telegraph’s chief commentator – who writes a very formulaic piece on how wonderful it is that a government is finally standing up for religion. It is something that has been written many times before over the last 12 years whenever a political figure talks about the perceived marginalisation of Christmas.
It is part of the ripple created by Eric Pickles who has mentioned Winterval twice this year as he attacked councils for being afraid of celebrating Christmas. It was a lazy, ignorant thing for Pickles to say, and an even lazier and more ignorant thing for Oborne to repeat. Here is the mention in full:
Meanwhile, Eric Pickles has used his growing authority as Local Government Secretary to declare war on councils who refuse to celebrate the Christmas message. Back in November, he sent out a powerful instruction that they should stop worrying about causing offence, abandon politically correct formulations like “Winterval” and “multi-faith holiday”, and return to the British Christian tradition with carols, mince pies, and all the rest of it. This common sense, it needs to be said, has not only delighted Christians, but has been greeted with relief by those of other faiths, who are fed up with being unreasonably blamed for “banning Christmas”.
When I was finishing my Winterval essay I wondered if it was a relevant topic considering that it seemed to be dying out. However, since the essay was published it has been repeated and is still being used as evidence for a non-existent war on Christmas.