However, they're not letting the lack of proof get in the way of repeating the myths in question - in a rather smug response to a written Parliamentary question that was laid yesterday, DCLG junior minister Robert Neill reiterates Pickles' sentiments, saying:
"We should not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christmas and the importance of the birth of Christ"
That said, at least Neill didn't mention Winterval by name. Because I've now stumbled across photographic evidence to support Birmingham City Council's increasingly exasperated rebuttal of the "Council replaced Christmas with Winterval" stories.
Courtesy of the Birmingham Post, here's a snap of a Birmingham City Council promotional poster from December 1998:
The mention of Winterval is so small you can barely spot it - it's tucked away in the bottom right-hand corner. Compare this with the huge CHRISTMAS in the top left. Which is more prominent? Which is given more importance? Does this look much like Christmas is being marginalised?
Yet year after year after year tabloid columnists trot out the lie that Winterval was used to replace Christmas. Now Cabinet ministers are also at it, and are apparently unwilling to even respond to complaints from people who point out the failings in their arguments.