Leading Article: We have just one thing to say...

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THE fashion company French Connection has come up with an advertising slogan for the Festive Season. It is FCUK XMAS. The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church are not amused. Last week they condemned the slogan as "a cheap stunt that betrays a callous indifference to the feelings of the great majority of people, for whom Christmas is very special".

That may be overstating it. The great majority of people do not have "very special" feelings about Christmas, at least not in the sense intended by the churches. To most people these days Christmas is little more than a week-long pig-out. The average Briton is almost as ignorant of the meaning of the feast as the Japanese shopkeeper who not long ago dressed his windows with crucified Santas.

Nevertheless, the churches deserve a hearing. What has French Connection achieved with its advertisement? It has shocked and distressed a few devout Christians, it has amused some idle - and stupid - adolescents (presumably the company's target audience), and it has irritated the rest of us by employing the sort of coarse sexual innuendo that is now compulsory in the least imaginative reaches of marketing.

A spokesman for French Connection says that the slogan is "not meant to be offensive". Very well, then. Stephen Marks, chief executive of French Connection, will accept that we do not mean to be offensive when we say that he is a moral, intellectual and spiritual pygmy - or, to use the only language he understands, a FCUK WIT.