Sunday, 24 December 2017
Once upon a time the principal figure of the mid-winter festival of ‘Oh-my-God-it’s-so-bloody-dark!’ was the pagan Green Man. A man of the woods, a man close to nature, a man in touch with the needs of his worshippers, which was mostly surviving the winter and not perishing through cold or hunger. Tinsel? That’s for the Druids! We want soggy wet leaf mould and mud; plenty of mud.
But we’ve come a long way since then so you would think we might have outgrown the need for mythical figures, making our dreams come true. But no, Christmas seems to get bigger every year. What to do next to make it all the more exciting? This year’s town centre, big, gigantic gimmick is anti-jihadi bollards dressed up as wrapped concrete presents or painted in bright, primary colours – another gift from the religion of peace - magical!
In the past we’ve adopted ever more outlandish versions of Christmas, adapting freely from other cultures; Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Krampus. And then there’s the nativity and the story of Edam and Eve and the birth of the baby cheeses... And never forget the animals – the little donkey, the sheep and their shepherds, the cattle and their lowing. And of course, reindeer; Christmas isn’t Christmas without the jingle bells of Rudolph and his Slade.
But Christmas is also the time for political capital with opposition MPs tweeting out festive wishes, while reminding us that the current government has personally murdered millions of starving children, burned thousands out of their homes and totally dismantled the NHS out of sheer spite. Eating their inclusive, non-gendered, vegan turkey substitute and toasting the achievements of BAME and LGBT activists whilst damning the Queen and all her family, the festive cheer must be unbridled.
The Momentum team have been working flat out to weaponise Christmas with the objective of getting their man into power. (Anybody remember when they were saying Jeremy Corbyn would be in Number Ten by now?) No bandwagon has been left unboarded, no bad news unexploited. But still they are not in power. It must be an evil Tory plot. The think tanks have been thinking overtime, working out how Jeremy could be given an even greater profile than he already has. It seems Glastonbury wasn’t enough.
How, they are wondering, can the true message be spread? Using the capitalist machines against them they are availing themselves of the power of social media to rebrand their man. Populism is no longer the wrecking ball which Farage used to bring about Brexit; no, populism is where it’s at and whatever people wish at his time of year Jeremy must be shown to be the man who can deliver it.
That'll have to do...
Out with the grey – let’s put him in a nice bright red coat. Perhaps a pair of big shiny boots so he can trudge about and bring cheer outside. And we know he doesn’t drink but can’t we get a picture of him with a wee sherry and a plate of mince pies? And maybe get him to smile more. But who in their right mind is going to believe in a jolly old man in red with a snowy beard who gives away free stuff?