Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Finding ways to escape Tory nonsense!

Well, the Tory babies seem to have thrown all their toys out of the pram. A nice little squabble is taking place.

Jonathan Freedland, writing in the Guardian points out that a change of Tory Leadership will not really change anything. The problem won’t go away even if Theresa May does.

“Tory MPs don’t like hearing that they cannot have their cake and eat it, that there is no Brexit that comes without a severe cost, and so they are taking out their frustration on May. But any prime minister – Johnson, Davis, Raab, Mordaunt, Leadsom, Hunt, Javid – will eventually have to break the same news to them. The problem is not May. The problem is Brexit.”

I can’t say I am surprised that it has come to this. Turning everything upside down and walking away seem to be the main default settings at the moment.

And maybe if they vote Theresa May out she can tell us that it was really what she wanted all along. After all, she went from campaigning for us to stay in the EU to declaring that leaving was the right thing. If “the will of the people” is what she stands by, then she can accept “the will of the party”.

Or she could walk away completely and try her hand at after-dinner speech making as a new career.

It’s all a monumental mess!

So let’s forget about it until the no confidence vote has taken place and concentrate on other things.

Such as some more Christmas traditions.

What about Christmas trees? As with a lot Christian traditions, this is another that has links to pre-Christian times. People apparently used evergreen boughs to decorate their homes during the winter. The greenery was supposed to remind then that plants would return in abundance when spring came around again. Personally I suspect the smell of pine and other evergreen branches would mask the closed-up smell of houses where you had to keep the doors and windows tight shut to keep the warmth in. No aerosol air-fresheners in those days!

Gradually the practice was absorbed into Christianity, rather as the date of Christmas moved over to coincide more or less with the winter solstice. In Germany in particular Christians decorated evergreen trees with apples to represent the Garden of Eden, calling them "Paradise Trees" around the time of Adam and Eve's name day—December 24. (Now, that is a fact we hear very little about these days. Who celebrates Adam and Eve Day?)

Immigrants took the tradition with them, including German members of the British Royal family. However, it was Queen Victoria who really spread the word about Christmas trees, not just in the UK but all over the place. By 1900, 1 in 5 American families had a Christmas tree. And nowadays 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year. I have no idea how many are sold in the UK.

Then there are Christmas jumpers, a tradition I have never understood. Why buy a ridiculous sweater that you wear for such a short time? Apparently we have the Canadians to blame for this fashion mistake. According to the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book, the ugly sweater party trend can be traced to a 2001 gathering in Vancouver.

My source of information tells me that, although nowadays it is almost de rigueur for everyone to have a Christmas sweater, in the past this was a habit embraced solely by grandmas, teachers, and fashion-challenged parents.

This grandma has never worn a Christmas jumper. Nor did I do such a thing when I worked as a teacher.

Christmas ear-rings are a different matter altogether though!

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