Some sections of the media – oh, go on then: the Sun and the Mail – are making a great deal of the decision of the BBC to alter some of the lyrics in the festive Pogues and Kirsty MacColl song ‘Fairytale of new York’. On some stations, like Radio 1, the words ‘faggot’ and ‘slut’ have been changed, according to the Mail, for fear of offending people. At first glance, without any context, you might think this is fair enough. We don’t want to hear words like faggot and slut these days, do we? Especially, faggot. I mean, it’s homophobic, isn’ it? Actually, no it isn’t.

The song is a brilliant slanging match between Shane McGowan and MacColl. It’s supposed to sound angry and the two parties play out the scenario quite in keeping with the lyrics. And guess what? In Ireland, the word faggot means a lazy person, a slacker. It has nothing to do with homophobia other than in our minds, or rather in the minds of tawdry tabloid scandal sheets that love to confect fake anger in order to sell extra copies for the hard of thinking. Yes, the S word – slut – means what is says, but it’s about context, baby. It’s a short story. That’s all.

My objection to the song is simply that, in keeping with most Christmas music, I’m sick of it. Nothing against the purveyors of Christmas music – well, most of it anyway – but I am not looking forward to a month of listening to Noddy Holder’s dulcet tones, Elton John’s bizarre American accent as he steps into Christmas or literally anything by Cliff Richard. I’ll listen to whatever station I can find that doesn’t force feed Christmas songs.

If you are offended by Fairytale of New York, try and get out more. Every day and in every way the Sun and the Mail are far more offensive than a classic song.