Winterval 2011

Well, it has started: Winterval season is upon us. In fact, it has been with us all year round thanks to the trusty ramblings of right-wing columnists only to happy to trot out the same lies. As you may know last year I spent a bit of time researching the ‘Winterval’ myth – that councils around the UK had renamed or abandoned Christmas celebrations in favour of Winterval for fear of offending Muslims or other ‘ethnic minorities’. Turns out it is one of the most successful myths I’ve ever come across and it has being going strong since 1998 and shows no sign of being abandoned.

This year I will be covering the usage of Winterval in 2011 and adding it to my existing essay in early December. A few well known writers will feature – including such luminaries as James Delingpole and Melanie Phillips. It was the ever reliable Melanie Phillips who reminded me today to start getting this new chapter ready for December when she wrote:

The pressure on Christians, however, is merely part of a far wider onslaught on Western culture through the hijacking or censorship of language.

Thus Christmas has been renamed in various places ‘Winterval’.

No, Melanie, it has never been renamed Winterval. It didn’t happen, and it didn’t happen in one solitary council in Birmingham in 1997.

Whilst you eagerly await 2011’s roll call of terrible hacks, feel free to re-read (or read for the first time) and share my essay on Winterval. It lives on my other website (which is still waiting for some new content)

11 thoughts on “Winterval 2011”

  1. Why oh why oh why is this woman a journalist? I thought it was about sources and evidence? I cannot believe that they still say that society decays when secularism reigns.

    Mel is one example that the rot is already well established.

  2. Censorship on language? Really? Can anyone be banned from saying “christmas”?
    These people are idiots.

  3. Jeremy Hardy nicely rounded on the Winterval Myth on last weeks News Quiz on R4 and even took apart the Christianity of Christmas to good effect too

  4. In related news, I see there is a story doing the rounds that Southwark Council have renamed Guy Fawkes night as “The Colour Thief”, as another act of “Political Correctness Gone Mad”. See this for example.

    In view of all the Winterval stories, I smell bullshit on this one as well. Any ideas about whether there is any truth in it?

  5. I demand ‘Winterval’ be banned for fear of offending those in tropical regions for whom there is no seasonal deviation in weather other than monsoon season.

  6. I’ve still got my ‘Winter Light Night’ brochure from 2009 that said in order to involve ‘everyone’ in the festive season they wouldn’t mention Christmas in Dundee.
    After much protest it’s been switched back to the Christmas celebrations.
    From our local paper..

    “The strong ‘Christmas’ theme is in contrast to recent years. In 2009, the council was forced to insist the significance of the season “had not been forgotten” after local churches complained the Winter Light Night event was “taking Christ out of Christmas”.

  7. Christmas is the 25th December. Anything outside that is not Christmas and is just an excuse for shops and other companies to ramp up the prices. So really those trying to stretch the traditional celebration out to last 2/3/4/5 or more weeks around Christmas are the ones committing a bigger offence and are hardly the defenders of the faith they make out to be. The naming of the end of year shopping and tacky lights fest seems to be becoming a nice little easy way for bigots to alienate those of other faiths….and get away with it!

    I fully accept that it is not and never has been used, but I think the term winterval SHOULD be used, or at least something similar. What else are we meant to say when towns switch on “Christmas” lights in mid-November…how on Earth is that Christmas? It’s not. It’s stupid to suggest otherwise.

    What exactly would make people like Melanie happy? To have 365 days of Christmas celebrations? To have nothing at all marking Christmas other than on December 25th? I just don’t understand it. If it’s meant to be Christmas then celebrate it at Christmas time and not use the word Christmas to describe the first half of the Winter season!

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