Nobody is going to call me a racist.
One day, can we start a conversation another way?
Not until I’ve made it absolutely clear. This isn’t a racist thing. It’s a cultural thing. Someone’s got to fight for British culture. And I’m not talking about those revolting skinheads, setting fire to buildings. Whatever they call themselves.
That’s not what I’m about. No. I’m just sticking up for a good old traditional Christmas.
So what’s the beef this time? Not the Roma gypsies then. They’re fairly sound on Christmas, aren’t they?
Don’t start me on the Roma!
And you can call it a “beef” if you want to trivialise our most sacred and ancient cultural traditions. Like everyone else in this country seems to want to. But listen to this —
I’m all ears, Tiffany!
So Timmy came home from school last week with a note from his teacher asking my permission about a trip to Neasden — or somewhere ridiculous, so the class could visit a Hindu mosque. If you please!
Ooh! Is it the one near IKEA?
…and I’ve got no objections to Hindus or mosques…
Is it Muslim?
It is Muslim. That’s right. I think. I can’t remember now. I was so angry when I read the letter…
You’ve got me all confused!
Well-never mind. It’s not really the point. Hindu, Muslim, whatever it is. Last time I checked, we were a Christian country. Thank you very much. And as a Christian country, at this time of year especially, when we’re all feeling lovely and Christmassy, a bit of cultural sensitivity toward our religion might be in order. Or is that too much to ask?
You wouldn’t have thought so, Tiff.
And frankly I would prefer it if the kids were taken to a — dread word — “church” (don’t all scream at once!) before they were taken to a so-called “temple”. But no! There are lots of super churches around here, so far as I can see. And I’d like to know why the kids haven’t been taken on a coach trip to have a look at one of them.
What’s wrong with Santa’s grotto?
I actually took it upon myself to have a word with Timmy’s teacher.
Golly! I’m not sure I would have dared.
I said to Timmy’s teacher: “Look, I’m perfecty happy for Timmy to go to the mosque. I think it’s fantastic to introduce the kids to diversity and all that sort of thing. As long as there’s balance. Mosque-goers may believe one thing. But on the other hand…”
Non-mosque-goers almost certainly believe another. And I want my kids to know about their own traditions. What we as British people actually believe in. Baby Jesus in a cosy crib and all that. And the little angel outfits.
And rushing around, shopping for gifts!
God, I love Christmas!
And eating too much food and watching a lot of crap telly!
And wrapping things up!
And the kids running out of batteries!
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire!
Oh, stop! I shall start crying in a minute.
Bread sauce…and marshmallows…and the crucifixion.
And Christmas songs! CHRIST, I LOVE ENGLAND!
So listen. I don’t want to start a world war. I’ve said to Timmy’s teacher, yes, Timmy can go to the mosque, or whatever it is. Frankly who cares?
It’s a day out, isn’t it?
But as you can imagine, the other Mums and Dads are up in arms. They’ve all kicked up such a fuss — by which I mean (am I allowed to say this?) the…you know…the sort of Christiany ones — that finally, the school’s agreed to be ever so sensitive. And the kids are coming back via one of the churches.
Which actually saves me the trip. When you think about it.
Job well done! Merry Xmas to you, Tiffany!