Chocolate, weapons and war

Easter, you can’t say it often enough for some people says Steve Beauchampé.

It’s that time of year again, or more accurately one of those two times of year. The time when the right wing media works itself into a frenzy over perceived sleights against christianity, when some organisation fails to include the words Christmas or Easter sufficient times in a promotional campaign or event.

Not for the first time it’s the Daily Telegraph frothing at the mouth, claiming that the National Trust was ‘airbrushing’ Easter, its faux anger generated by a joint National Trust/Cadbury event called the Great Egg Hunt (and thus omitting the word Easter). Ignorance and hypocrisy followed from a newspaper that spews such attributes over its pages and into its readers’ minds almost daily. Ignorance because the National Trust website uses the word Easter 13,000 times, and because one of Cadburys best selling products is called a creme egg – not a creme Easter egg – and no one, including the Telegraph, complains about that. Hypocrisy because the Daily Telegraph, in a move made purely for profit, forces many of its staff to work producing a paper on Easter Sunday (and Christmas Day), just as it expects newsagents to open on Easter Sunday to sell that day’s version of the Telegraph and thus help make both those profits and the remuneration paid to its senior staff larger.

Further ignorance soon followed from the Archbishop of York John Sentamu (a normally estimable chap) who cited Cadbury’s quaker roots as another reason for the company to include the word Easter., describing its absence as like “spitting on the grave of… founder John Cadbury.” However quakers don’t celebrate Easter and John Cadbury and his successors such as George and Edward, would likely have found associations with Easter conflicting with their beliefs. In any case Cadbury (now owned by Kraft Foods and no longer a family, nor even quaker, run business) sell millions of products each year bearing the word Easter, so both they and the National Trust already do more than enough to promote a claimed religious event whose outcome most rational thinking people might suspect is somewhat doubtful.

Enter Prime Minister Theresa May. Finding time in her busy schedule of hawking arms and British military expertise to the tyrannical rulers of Oman, Jordan and the daddy of all despots, Saudi Arabia, to comment, May called the absence of the word Easter in the NT/Cadbury promotion “absolutely ridiculous”. Really? How about “irrelevant”, “none of my business” or “the United Kingdom is in danger of fracturing apart and Sturgeon’s running rings around me, I’ve got a generally weak hand to play in the Brexit negotiations whatever Duncan-Smith tells you and I daren’t lose Gibraltar because it’s a British military base and one of our numerous off-shore tax havens, particularly attractive to casinos …and you’re bothering me with this!!?”

So just one week after the UK served notification of its intention to leave the EU, a senior Tory has suggested that we might go to war with Spain, our Trade Secretary is in the Philippines meeting the self-confessed killer President Duterte and speaking of the two nations’ shared values, the Chancellor is offering India access to our potentially low tax, low regulation banking sector and Theresa May is off selling yet more weapons to middle east dictators (she must be on commission with BAE Systems!). And the Daily Telegraph is bothered about the word Easter being missed off the title of a children’s hunt for chocolate eggs. Nice to see the pro-government wing of the Third Estate getting their priorities right.