A girl rushed over; ‘You can’t park here – it’s the carnival’.
‘Why not? I’m sick of this carnival already!’ I said.
‘Yes I agree, but look at all the parking tickets!’
She was right, bless her – all parking suspended! Why in Kensington? Ridiculous. Torrential rain too! The carnival was ruining my day and I wasn’t even going! I had noticed roads blocked off, stations shut, police everywhere. Were Royalty expected? Were billions coming in to the economy? No! We were trying to control an overindulged and violent Carnival…
On the Monday I took the train to Hampstead Heath. Police everywhere. Carnival goers boozing on the train. Their snidy glances stopped me from warning them… Carnival spirit?! The young policeman on the platform said: ’20 officers at the next station will stop them’. His thoughts on working the Bank Holiday? ‘I’ve got a family but all time off is BANNED. Let’s hope this is the LAST carnival – it’s gone on too long – we’re sick of it’. Photos of our police smiling with carnival goers remind me of those poor dancing bears….
Notting Hill Carnival started in 1966 in response to the 1950’s race riots. It was a much smaller INDOOR event aiming to celebrate culture – a good cause. But it’s changed a lot, and is now completely out of control with no purpose. All we do is try to keep a lid on it and hope not too many are injured, judging it each year by levels of violence… Yet its supporters’ attitude is that it’s their inalienable right to have it no matter what – it’s part of our heritage and must continue, with us constantly adjusting to its needs! Really? I don’t feel like it’s part of my heritage, but there are plenty of things that I feel ARE which have been pushed aside without any consultation with us who hold our way of life dear. We have traditions going back over a thousand years, but many of these are now seriously under threat, including our right to walk down the street and feel safe – our police are seriously compromised.
I attended the carnival twice, 20 years ago. It could be fun. The music, homemade food and costumes were nice. But I didn’t feel relaxed. There was always an underlying worry – people rushing about and overcrowding in parts – I got caught in a really bad crush. The evening atmosphere became more aggressive and it was best to leave by 6/7pm. The more serious violent crime happened later on (it now ends earlier). No matter how each year the establishment declared it ‘a success’ as the week progressed the truth would unfold of all the crime, violence, drugs, sex crimes and trashing that occurred. And rubbish and filth left behind. A friend had her flat ransacked!
Yes I do know that football matches, festivals and concerts can involve drunkenness, drugs, fighting, stealing and other crimes. I’m not denying human nature or that any big event will attract criminals. But what other event happens on residential streets, for two days, is free to attend, needs ever more police, and the public has to bankroll?? Plus plays the race card? NONE. If this was any other event, it would have been banned years ago. It may have achieved something in the beginning – a much needed ‘let’s all get along’ message – a celebration of Caribbean culture that needed an identity. That ship has long sailed. It’s now just a free for all – paid for by us, the taxpayers, who every year hold our breath to see what levels of violence it can sink to this time. Nobody got murdered? Wow – a success then!
As for this financial boost to the local economy – really? It cost us at least £4 million for the 13,000 police this year. Plus weapon detector machines. And all the boarded up properties, road and station closures – how many OTHER businesses suffered because of transport difficulties? How many local people went away to avoid it or locked themselves indoors, shutting curtains to avoid watching females ‘twerking’ males (look it up) outside their windows? (Is that culture??) Or had to clear rubbish, bottles, drugs, faeces etc., from their gardens afterwards, scrubbing urine from steps. How many elderly people didn’t go to local shops? And all so that some can party for free for two days! In the name of what? No, money spent there goes to stallholders, nowhere else.
This year 13,000 police served and weapon arches were put up. Yet there were at least 370 arrests and a stabbing, plus THIRTY police officers injured – MORE than last year. That amount of security means offences will occur later once police have gone – indeed police were attacked in McDonalds that night. Nowadays this is made worse by political correctness, fear of being called racist, multiculturalism, mass immigration and our lazy liberal elite who virtue signal – and our British way of life is sacrificed on the pyre. What about MY culture?
London is in the midst of terrible violence and crime, we desperately need more police officers, our NHS is struggling for cash, our emergency services cannot get a much deserved pay rise, our military are suffering and our streets are unsafe. I haven’t seen a bobby on the beat in years. Yet we waste money and time on this?? If you must have it, for goodness sake make it one day in a stadium, charge for tickets and pay for your own security. And let the rest of us and our police get on with trying to make London safer. This utter selfishness must end.
So, my 2 journeys home? All the roads were shut so I had a long detour car drive round London – no hardship as I love my city. And the train back on Monday? I saw some lovely young teenage ‘revellers’ covered in sequins and rainbow makeup that made me smile… and the sun came out.