What is it with the Father Christmas suit. As soon as a group of normal, well meaning people pull them on, all hell breaks loose. Today's Telegraph has a substantial article about the 'civil war' between the Fraternal Order and the Red Suit Society, two rival gangs of Santa Claus's in the US. There promises to be a riot at today's annual conference of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas which takes place in Kansas. Accusations of profiteering, unethical behaviour and even Claus-on Claus violence are rife. The Internet based exchange of information on belt supplies and beard dying has become a war zone. The story's on Page 16.
Now you may think this sort of thing could only happen in the US. But No. Something much worse has happened in my quiet part of Rural Wales. A few years ago an incident occurred in Newtown, in Montgomeryshire. It was the first Sunday in December - middle of the peak packaging season for every Father Christmas. There had been a 'Santa Run' around the streets of Newtown at lunch-time, when a world record 3700 Santas had taken part. I completed the course in around 25 minutes and came in about 25th. I joined a few other Santas for a post-race pre-Xmas drink in the Sportsman, and then went home for lunch. Unfortunately some of the other Santas decided to stay on for a liquid lunch, and did a William Hague plus (which involves at least 14 pints). At around 9.00 some Claus on Claus violence broke out, which finished up with several fully suited Santas fighting like dogs on Severn Street. There were injuries, arrests and the story made news across the world. The most amusing aspect of the entire story was that the police spokesman, who became a star on Sky News, was named Police Constable Slaymaker. Every word of this is true.