You know Christmas is close when the first council is accused of banning Christmas.
Amazingly enough, this is not the usual guff about Birmingham's Winterval - now a decade-old, but still the gift that keeps on giving for the right-wing commentators who lovingly rehash it every year - but the dreaming spires of Oxford, where shoddy journalism on behalf of the local paper has generated coverage in the nationals.
Antonia 'Scrooge' Bance has the facts.
I must admit, I feel like banging my head on my desk. When you combine what is, frankly, a lack of nous on the part of Oxford Inspires (how did they not see this coming?) and the determination of the mass media to get at least one “loony left council bans Christmas” story this year, plus the irresponsible spin of the Sun in making it out to be about not offending Muslims, you were always going to get a perfect Christmas storm. Given that there is clearly a dastardly PC plot to deprive the mass of Brits who tick CofE on the census forms of their right to celebrate Christmas, will anyone believe me when I say that the first this councillor heard of it was when the Oxford Mail got hold of it? Of course not. And my protestations, my declarations of passion for turkey and cranberry sauce, the way my heart rises as the organ crashes and the descant soars in the final verse of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, the love I feel for my family, so rarely all in one place these days, opening presents and telling jokes on Christmas morning - that all counts for nothing, as I am a PC Christmas-cancelling Christian-hating leftist loony Labour Scrooge. Obviously.
I am indebted to a reader for the note that the Daily Mail - the idiots' guidebook issued in bitesize daily installments - beat the Oxford Mail with a story way back in the middle of September, complete with rentaquote Tory MP Robert Goodwill opening his brain for the benefit of the masses.