British traditions such as Christmas are “at risk”, according to Dame Louise Casey, the Government’s “integration tsar”. That’s the person who’s supposed to make us all get along better together (though whether the autocratic title of “tsar” is the right word here must be questionable).
Dame Louise, who has done splendid care work in housing with Shelter and with support for troubled families, has claimed that too much political correctness might easily erase Christmas and other similar traditions from our national life.
Actually, we have been exercised by this matter before. Twenty years ago, Birmingham City Council sought to get the word Christmas altered to “Winterval”, reportedly so as not to “offend” Muslims, people from other faiths or non-believers.
It never caught on. “Christmas” is too big a brand to fail. Even at this very moment, the elves and pixies of commercialism are busily laying their plans for the Christmas purchasing season.
In fact, it could be said that consumerism has done more damage to Christian traditions than any amount of political correctness. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, though no doubt harmless by intent, has a lot to answer for.
Dame Louise is right to say that people in this country should stand firm about British traditions. We should also be unambiguous in affirming that Britain is a Christian country by culture and tradition, and that is part of the national identity.
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