I object, first, because no one is asking for this change. I object because no one is offended by these terms. We talked to loads of Muslim and Jewish scholars, and none batted an eye at my usage; and it is particularly mad to think that Muslims might be offended by a reference to Jesus, when he is an important figure in Islam, and when many Muslims are baffled by this country's peculiar desire to exterminate cultural references to its Christian history.
I should stress at this point that I do not object because I want to vindicate the literal truth of the Christian religion — since I am afraid my faith is like a very wonky aerial, and I sometimes find the signal pretty scratchy. I object because it is all so darned nonsensical. There is no Eran religion, and no followers of Common.
There was Christ, and if the BBC doesn't want to date events from the birth of Christ then it should abandon the Western dating system. Perhaps it should use the Buddhist calendar, which says that it is the 2,th year since the nirvana of Lord Buddha.
Perhaps it should have a version of the old Roman calendar, and declare that this is the fourth year of the fourth consulship of Silvio Berlusconi. It could say that this year was 13,, or whatever since the Big Bang, or maybe the BBC should switch to the Mayan calendar and announce that is the year 1 BC — before the catastrophe that is meant to engulf the planet. But if the BBC is going to continue to put MMXI at the end of its programmes — as I think it does — then it should have the intellectual honesty to admit that this figure was not plucked from nowhere.
We don't call it because it is years since the Chinese emperor Ai was succeeded by the Chinese emperor Ping though it is ; nor because it is years since Ovid wrote the Ars Amatoria. It is years since the presumed birth of Christ.
I object to this change because it reflects a pathetic, hand-wringing, Lefty embarrassment about thousands of years of cultural dominance by the West.
The simple fact is that the Roman empire was programmatic of most of our modern global civilisation, and the decision by Constantine in AD to make Christianity the official religion was one of the most important moments in the history of that empire. That is why we have used this system for 1, years and more, and that is why it is accepted in China, Japan and just about anywhere you care to mention that this is the year The BBC needs to stop spending time and money on this sort of footling political correctness.
Someone needs to get out down the corridor and find the individual who passed this edict and give him or her a figurative kick in the pants. I know it sounds like a trivial thing to get worked up about, but one trivial thing leads to another.
Let's fight this Beeb drivel now.