Thursday, December 21, 2006

CRE Christmas Card

Well, I found it an amusing break from work yesterday (see earlier posts).

The Observer, has done an analysis, which I've stolen to put below.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Come all ye PC rebels

A card from Britain's race watchdog contains a hidden Christmas message for traditionalists

Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
Sunday December 10, 2006
The Observer

At first glance the Christmas card, depicting the nativity scene, appears to have been subjected to anguished doodlings by a someone who clearly fears its traditional message has no place in 21st-century multicultural Britain.
'Three wise men can't be all men' suggests one scribble. 'The snow looks hideously white' notes another. 'Sheep should look more diverse' reads another doodle. Even the Santa trailing across the sky in his sledge is not immune to a bit of politically correct revisionism. His 'Ho! Ho! Ho!' 'could be taken as offensive to women', worries one scrawl, referring to how the two-letter word is 'gangsta' speak for 'whore'.

Article continues



But it transpires that the sender of the card, a pastiche of PC culture, is Britain's race relations watchdog, the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). Poking fun at the PC lobby is an unusual move for an equality watchdog, especially now that its chairman, Trevor Phillips, is to become head of the super-quango that will campaign for better rights for women, the disabled, homosexuals and ethnic and religious minorities.
But it is not the first time the watchdog has taken a robust line in ignoring liberal sensibilities. Last year Phillips declared that multiculturalism was in danger of sending Britain sleepwalking to segregation.

The CRE declined to explain its reasons for deciding to send the card to contacts and supporters. 'It speaks for itself, happy Christmas,' a spokeswoman said. But it is believed that senior members of the commission feel the card is timely with the current debates raging about multiculturalism and the true meaning of Christmas.

Yesterday a Daily Mail survey found the traditional nativity now appears in only three out of every 100 cards sold in high-street stores. The news prompted accusations of 'politically correct madness' from Tory MP Philip Davies and calls from the Christian Voice group for non-religious cards to be boycotted. But Davies should not be too vociferous. This year's anodyne Christmas card from Conservative Central Office depicts snow-laden branches against a blue sky.

Meanwhile at the Daily Telegraph, an article by business commentator Jeff Randall, discussing how he throws non-traditional Christmas cards in the bin, has brought approving letters.

Even senior religious leaders are expressing concern. Last week the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, attacked people for using 'flawed' arguments about multiculturalism with the result that the crib is in danger of being 'thrown out of Christmas'.

'The aggressive secularists pervert and abuse any notion of diversity for the sake of promoting a narrow agenda,' he said. 'Meanwhile those faith communities, who have stated categorically they are not offended by Christmas, know that if Christmas falls, they will be next.'

On Friday Tony Blair entered the debate, calling for all groups in society to integrate to promote social cohesion.

Some will view the CRE's card as a humorous attempt by Phillips to goad the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, with whom he has had many well-publicised spats over multiculturalism. Earlier this year Livingstone accused Phillips of 'pandering to the right' so much that 'soon he'll be joining the BNP'.

Given the enmity between both sides, whether the mayor will actually receive a Christmas card from the CRE this year remains opaque.

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