Councils should take pride in Christmas celebrations

Councils don't need to mask or hide this year's Christmas festivities for fear of causing offense, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has said Saturday, November 27, 2010.

As the lights are turned on for Christmas all over the country, Mr Pickles urged councils to take pride in Britain's Christian heritage; celebrating the nativity and all the traditions that have sprung up around it from tinsel and tree lights to turkey.

"We should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas, and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalize Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ.

Christmas lights "The War on Christmas is over, and likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be in the dustbin of history.

Mr Pickles explained that the Christian festival has previously been ambushed by those intent on re-branding Christmas as a bland 'Winter festival', insisting that multi-cultural Britain can enjoy Christmas without abandoning its underlying Christian heritage in a misguided attempt to appease these politically correct 'Grinches'.

With Christmas shoppers a major source of revenue to local shops and council-owned car parks, Mr Pickles also reminded councils set on playing Scrooge that Christmas is one of the biggest annual boosts to the high street economy.

Councils that embrace the spirit of the season and bring Christmas to town, from luminous lights to competitively priced car spaces are likely to get merrier profits come January, bringing in revenues which help support frontline services and keep council tax down.

"We live in tough financial times, but there's no need for town halls to play Scrooge. It is councils' financial interests to draw in shoppers to their town centers at Christmas given the benefits of packed car parks to councils' coffers. Shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Carol Services and nativity scenes, and councils should not hesitate in supporting them."

However, in light (pardon the pun) of the economy drives and austerity measures and also as regards to issues of reducing our energy usage it is my belief that the lights should not be used at all or only LED versions.

I am by no means trying to be Scrooge of “A Christmas Story” but when councils have to cut services and let staff go then there is no place for the extravagance of Christmas lights and the electricity to run them.

I am not sure on which planet or in fact in which universe Mr. Pickles happens to be living but, like with the great majority, if not indeed all, politicians, whatever the color and whatever country, it does not seem to be on the same planet and in the same universe as the rest of us.

Councils are short of money and thus are cutting services and staff, trying to save as much money as possible, and not putting up and running Christmas lights might be but a small amount but nevertheless one that should be saved.

Whether or not the towns and cities will be light for Christmas will make no difference as to the amount of people that will come shopping, or not, as the case may be, in those towns and cities. They will either come, if they have the money to do so, or they will not, of they haven't.

With the money saved by not buying, putting up and running Christmas lights the councils may be able to fund some needed services for a little longer or – even – maybe – for good.

The lights have nothing to do with the birth of Christ; they are in fact a pagan ritual, from the Winter Solstice, the Festival of Lights of Scandinavia, and others. In the same way that Santa and the reindeer have nothing to do with Christmas; even the date is wrong.

So, let's stop the lights madness, and that should go for councils, shopping centers, the West End and individual homes. The planet, amongst others, cannot afford this extravagance.

© 2010