Big Bang

Twenty-four hours before the country starts to sound like a war zone, in celebration of Guy Fawkes night, my attention is drawn to two newspaper headlines from this week. The first that an English local council has chosen to rename its “Christmas” lights this year, because of the danger of offending the Moslem community. These are now to be called “Celebrity” lights, which is nice.

The second story is in today’s Daily Express that reports the desire of Museum bosses to do away with BC (before Christ) and replace it with “Before Present.” This confuses me a little because BCE (before the Common Era) was introduced for just this purpose years ago.

What is ironic is that in my own experience travelling regularly in the middle-east and having lived in Saudi Arabia, Christmas is tolerated and frequently embraced as an excuse to exchange gifts. OK, maybe not in the orthodox Saudi Kingdom, no Christmas lights there but for over a thousand years Islam in general hasn’t been offended by Christmas. Of course everything changed in the last thirty years with the export of a more intolerant view of Islam, lavishly funded by Saudi oil wealth and we are seeing the unhappy consequences in our own country today.

But if Christmas lights can be offensive to one group one might equally argue that the burning of the Pope, each year in effigy by the people of Lewes was offensive to Catholics and should be stopped. Halloween may also be offensive to the dead or undead who may have rights too!

What I think we need in this country today is an article of faith. This is a highly politically incorrect view but I feel we need a statement that as a nation, the majority of the people can subscribe to. This could recognise our Christian, European legacy and with it, a real sense of national identity and pride. Something tangible to believe in as opposed to the failing multi-cultural litany served by our political leaders.

Britain has always been a multi-faceted cultural melting pot of remarkable tolerance and for hundreds of years people of many faiths have thrived in our society, without attempting to impose their views on the majority or interfere with our Christmas lights. If we continue along our present path of exaggerated political awareness and sensitivity, we will simply become a sad mixture of everything and nothing, with no true sense of who we are and where we are going as a nation.

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