Carnival’s a wonderful celebration of Britain’s cultural diversity - Vladimir McTavish

After a month of hanging out with pretentious posers and narcissistic comedians, you’d think I’d want to lock myself in a dark cupboard but I’m working down in London this weekend. So, more of the same.
A performer in costume blows a kiss during the main parade of the Notting Hill Carnival in west London on August 27, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)A performer in costume blows a kiss during the main parade of the Notting Hill Carnival in west London on August 27, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)
A performer in costume blows a kiss during the main parade of the Notting Hill Carnival in west London on August 27, 2023. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

I lived in The Smoke for five years and I still love the place. It has so many diverse and colourful neighbourhoods, like a series of separate villages, each with their own rich history.

I used to live in the East End, where tales of the Kray twins and Sixties gangsters were told in local pubs, while older drinkers would also recall the Cable Street riot, when working people stood up against Oswald Mosley’s fascist blackshirts in the 1930s.

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I always loved visiting the Notting Hill Carnival. I have friends who used to live in that part of West London in the nineties. Like many former residents, they can no longer afford to live there.

August Bank Holiday on the streets around Ladbroke Grove was and still is a vibrant colourful celebration of the the city’s Caribbean community.

I read this week that Tory candidate for London Mayor, Susan Hall, has suggested the event should be moved to a park due to a number of stabbings that took place last weekend. Given that the same Susan Hall has been a serial objector to Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, I suspect her concerns have less to do with health and safety than removing a noisy party from outside her millionaire voters’ front doors.

Does she really believe that if the event were moved to a park there would be no stabbings? I’d invite her to try walking through any park in Paisley after dark to test out her theory. I don’t remember her asking for white people’s Coronation street parties to be moved into parks.

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Gentrification of Notting Hill has priced the black community out of their neighbourhood. Now this appalling woman is trying to move their festival off the streets. It is a celebration of Britain’s cultural diversity and a national treasure which should be protected at all costs against this worst kind of dog-whistle politics.