I do not get out very much these days, but the glorious weekend weather persuaded me that I should spend a pleasant afternoon watching people stabbing each other at our annual celebration of stabbing, the Notting Hill Carnival. I go most years and enjoy the street food, the music and the sight of white police officers with fixed rictus grins ‘getting down’ with some vast-mammaried semi-clad mama, their helmets askew and rivulets of sweat running down each crisp white shirt. And of course the violence, the violence. I am delighted to say that in this regard 2016 did not disappoint, with more than 400 people arrested and five stabbed — and all for the very reasonable cost of just £7 million to the taxpayer.
I was slightly surprised that the new campaigning organisation ‘Black Lives Matter UK’ has not yet called for the carnival to be banned, as it seems to pose a rather more potent threat to black people than sitting in a police cell or being carted off to the nick in the back of a paddy wagon. It is true that a disproportionate number of black people suffer these latter two fates and a disproportionate number again are assaulted in both places. But not surely at such a rate— and the police rarely stab their victims, much preferring to punch them, strangle them or electrocute them.
The silence on this important issue from BLMUK seems to me a bit of an inconsistency, I have to say. But then inconsistency seems to be their watchword. Their first public action was to set up a blockade of major roads leading to our largest airports, but I am not sure how many black lives this saved in the end. Aeroplanes do crash from time to time and it is statistically likely that when they do so, some black people will be on board, but I am not sure that this is a racial injustice per se.
A better target, I would have thought, would be black-on-black crime — but it may be that the organisers have convinced themselves that this does not really exist.