It is clear to everyone that Christmas should be banned ... between 7 January and 30 November each year. One cannot buy a mug of Starbucks coffee this month but one be confronted by unseasonal gaudy red and green decorations.
The IPPR is coming out with a report which says
"If we are going to continue to mark Christmas - and it would be very hard to expunge it from our national life even if we wanted to - then public organisations should mark other major religious festivals too. "Even-handedness dictates that we provide public recognition to minority cultures and traditions."
Who is "we"? Why is continuing to mark Christmas expressed in a conditional subordinate clause as though it were a hypothetical situation? It is indeed the case that without massive coercion of a large proportion of the population, and of foreign-owned commercial organisations including but not limited to purveyors of bad coffee and insipid paninis, it "would be very hard to expunge it from our national life". Is that what the author was contemplating, or was he just unconsciously following the syllogistic "if X, then Y" form so beloved of Marxists and scholastics?
So why go to this effort? Only because "even-handedness" "dictates" it unless public organisations mark other festivals? Are the consequences of just not doing anything worse than turning the UK into an anti-religious police state? Is "even-handedness" really that important a value? More important than tolerance?
Of course the real reason to oppose this nonsense is that suggested by Francis Cornford. I remember exactly the same proposal being rejected in 1659.
No matter who wins tomorrow's Australian federal parliamentary election - after all, there is no Government and Opposition, only Complicity and Resistance - the real winners will be ... psephologists. Or so they say.