Dear Steve Doughty

I am writing to you because you recently wrote a few articles on bins not being collected. In at least two of them ( I haven’t checked the rest for fear of slipping into a coma) you mention that someone has dubbed this state of affairs ‘Binterval’. In one article you explain that this term is used because it sounds a bit like ‘the name Winterval, which was first coined by council chiefs as a politically correct replacement for Christmas’.

Can I please set you straight on this once-and-for-all. No council chief anywhere has ever used Winterval as a politically correct replacement for Christmas. Winterval was created in 1997 to cover a series of events that included finds like Children in Need and a Frankfurt Christmas market. Christmas – called Christmas, with all the traditional Christmas trimmings – was at the heart of the festival, in was in no way replaced or diminished by the Winterval marketing strategy at all. Look at this poster and spot the words ‘Merry Christmas’, then find the Winterval logo:

You have now mentioned the Winterval myth in nine separate articles since the myth was created in 1998. Please, if you have any integrity as a journalist read the essay I wrote about the myth, you can find it here and it is free to download. You can also rifle through the appendix which contains the original article on which the myth was based, you can see for yourself that the whole idea that Winterval was replacing Christmas was complete and utter rubbish.

I hope you take the time to read the essay and to respond to this email. You owe it to journalism to stop perpetuating a complete lie, especially one that was thoroughly debunked by a fellow journalist way back in 2006.

Yours Faithfully,


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