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) thedisinformed.co.uk.