Boris says: “It is truly an honour to have the first ever GLA Christmas Carol Service at Southwark Cathedral and I am pleased to be joined by such special guests... I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I hope this carol service will be a wonderful occasion.”
Well, that's not quite the whole story. Originally the City Hall wallahs (who still think they have Ken as mayor) didn't want to call it a carol service or even mention the dreaded word 'Christmas' for fear of offending minorities. This, despite the fact that all the songs were, er, carols. Boris put his foot down. He struck his pen through the original title of a 'Multi faith Concert' on the basis that no one celebrating Diwali or Jewish festivals would entertain the thought of a 'multi faith concert' so why should Christians at Christmas?
There then came the vexed question of the City Hall Christmas Tree. I have been in receipt of a leaked email (on rice paper, natch) which details the unbelievable mindset still operating among certain officials. The Christmas Tree is provided by the charity CRISIS, whose corporate colour is red. This is important to bear in mind when reading the following email from City Hall officials to CRISIS...
"Please find below our requirements as per previous years. We are looking for a Christmas tree from a sustainable source for the front lobby of City Hall, approx 15ft tall with decorations, bells, bows etc. We would like delivery and set up of the tree on 8th Dec 2008 and removed on 2nd Jan 2009. Usual rules, no Christian symbols, colours or fairies! We cannot have any political colours for the decorations e.g. red, blue, green, yellow, so white and silver is best. Any decorations must be from a recycled, eco friendly source. No star or fairy please."CRISIS emailed back questioning the fact that "it has to be a Christmas tree with no connection to Christmas and [we] can't use red - even without the limits it puts on Christmas, as red is Crisis' main brand colour we are severely limited!" They go on to describe it all as "a severe case of political correctness gone mad". No kidding.
I think it is safe to say that the Mayor went ballistic when he heard about this and ordered all this PC stuff to be halted forthwith. Unfortunately by the time this had all proceeded the Christmas Tree had already been delivered, replete with silver decorations. But one suspects that things might be a little different next year.
Indeed, when I phone the Mayor's team to ask what form the Christmas Tree will take next year I am assured that next year the Christmas Tree will come with a fairy on the top, angels on the branches and God knows what else.