Oxford Uninspired

WHY do local councils, or in this case, a council-funded charity , still walk into this kind of bear trap?

What’s interesting about this piece though, is that there’s a certain ambiguity about The Telegraph’s coverage – similar to this piece yesterday. According to one of my correspondents, Bournemouth deny the accuracy of the story, so I would be a bit cautious regarding the veracity of this one.

What’s also a bit suspect is that The Telegraph quotes two separate spokesmen from Oxford Inspired; is this because the first one wasn’t prepared to confirm that the nauseatingly-titled “Winter Lights Festival” is all about inclusion?

However, if it is true, and today’s helping of “political correctness gone mad” turns out to be well-sourced, it is pretty pathetic. Even if some white, middle class sociologist type has come up with the idea, wasn’t there anyone in Oxford who had the political nous* to say “Don’t be silly”? After all, we all know there are plenty out there – especially in the blogosphere – only too willing to jump up and down, pulling their hair out and screaming their heads off at the first sign of this kind of nonsense (you know who you are).

 

* So not Evan Harris, then.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Oxford Uninspired

  1. Indy

    Glasgow’s is called WinterFest.

    Maybe that’s because it is difficult to actually relate the birth of Christ to the Irn Bru Carnival.

    Or maybe it is because Christmas is still just the warm up for Hogmonay in Scotland

  2. outh Park faced up to this years ago.
    Have you never heard of Mr Hankey?

  3. jonathanmitchellqc

    Well, if you are going to believe the Telegraph and Gerald Warner when they puff about something like this, you’re obviously not going to make the simplest test of their accuracy and sense of fairness. Just Googling “Oxford Inspires” brings up the charity’s website and there on the front page is this: “WinterLight is a festival of winter events which happen from mid November to early January across Oxfordshire. It includes events organised especially to celebrate Christmas alongside others which happen at this time of year from pantomime shows to opera on ice to music concerts by candlelight. Fire and light feature in many events which have been organised by town councils, community groups, arts organisations and museums.

    WinterLight does not distance itself from Christmas in the slightest. The programme features 14 events which use the word “Christmas” in their title and our press release on the festival in mid October used the word “Christmas” in the first sentence. The word “Christmas” appears a total of 28 times in the “WinterLight” publicity brochure which features a Christmas tree on the cover and is in the format of an Advent Calendar with windows opening to reveal events. Christmas Light switch ons, carol concerts and Christmas markets are featured.

    The WinterLight Oxford event is billed as a way to “kick off the Christmas season in style”. It was always intended to be in addition to the City Council’s own Christmas events. It will enhance the city Christmas Lights switch on: it does not replace it. The title “WinterLight” was inspired by the fact of light and fire being a common theme, that the programme includes theatre and music events which are not wholly about Christmas and because it builds on the first WinterLight programme in 2007 which was enjoyed by over 7,000 people. ”

    So this is just entry no. 769,452 in the list of “urban legends about political correctness which have been swallowed whole by the Tory press”.

  4. Evan Harris is the only reason you need not to vote LibDem.

    Not that there aren’t many other reasons.

    Tom – if you can see that this ‘PC gone mad’ is pretty pathetic, maybe there is a glimmer of hope for you.

    Maybe one quiet evening you can sit back in a comfy chair in front of the fire and re-read the comments about 1984 and start to understand the time bomb on which we all sit; you included.

  5. Jo

    Click here for clarification (“here” being the blog of a member of Oxford City Council)

  6. richard

    Personally I like Christmas. Good food, OK telly and ten days off work.

    I heard a rumour the other day that the holiday relates to some guy called Jesus.

  7. Madasafish

    There is a simple solution. If muppets cancel Christams – or call it something else… force them to work it and give up all their Christmas holidays…

  8. Johnny Norfolk

    I agree with you Tom. Oxford council is Labour led I think and this is just what you would expect.
    You have been in power for ever, Why have you not done somewthing to stop our traditions being scrapped like this.

    Its all right Brown going on about a national day ( that we dont need or want) and you sit back and let this happen. Take action with things like this. DO SOMETHING.

  9. Johnny Norfolk

    Headline.

    BROWN MOVES TO STOP COUNCILS UNDERMINING BRITISHNESS,

    To day Gordon Brown acted to stop councils undermining traditionl British festivities. He told Oxford council that is they did not withdraw plans to change the name of traditional festivities he would remove funding from the council that enables them to waste time with things like this.

    He went on to say that the same action would be applied to any council that tried to do similar things. This is not what the British people want and I am acting for the greater good.

    Would look good for Labour but it will never happen.

  10. ani

    Thank Heavens for jonathanmitchellqc and Jo.

    Oh Gawd, aren’t there just times when you could weep.
    I suspect that most of these PC stories could just as easily be demolished, but speed is of the essence I suppose, and they can’t all be picked up despite the best intentions, and there must be those days when even the most decent thinking folk with the best will in the world, have to sigh and think “oh just piss off”!

  11. davidc

    re jo’s post at 11.26 – not only is the blog by a member of oxford city council, she is a LABOUR member and her rebuttal is pretty comprehensive !

    while in oxford have there been any developments re the proposal that ‘the muslim call to prayer’ be broadcast over the city to the concern and fright of others not of that persuasion ?

    a proposal alleged to be backed by the bishop of oxford or so we were told.

  12. ani

    ‘the muslim call to prayer’ be broadcast over the city to the concern and fright of others not of that persuasion ?

    Concern and Fright?

    Do Church bells ringing on Sunday’s, and for weddings, and for practice, cause concern and fright to others not of that persuasion?

  13. Hi Tom,

    Very amused that three commenters pointed you to my website before I got round to posting here myself! We were properly stitched up by the Oxford Mail, which is the source for virtually all the other stories, with no additional material or corroboration sought. Great journalism, eh? (But it absolutely obscures all the good wok we are doing sorting out the council’s finances and investing in playareas, which is a real pity…)

    Antonia

  14. davidc

    ani @5,40 – no !

  15. A Nitpicker

    I have just have a look at the “Oxford Inspires” website pages that mention “winterlights” and they ALL have been edited since this story broke…

    However using the Google cache (page http://www.oxfordinspires.org/Listings/events2008.html at 16 Oct 2008 21:52:02 GMT) it seems the old version was not anti-Christian, but simply only lightly mentioned Christmas. The changes added 2 Christmases and 1 advent calendar (to the 1 of each already present).

    P.S. I am posting this as a nitpicker and fair trial supporter. (I am both an atheist and anti-PC so would support the virtual tar and feathering IF it were warranted)

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