Following the violence of last year’s Nothing Hill Carnival people have been asking this week whether the event is really worth the trouble. Locals are complaining about being made to endure the noise and increase in crime which the festival brings with it. Some of them have come to dread the bank-holiday weekend so much that they leave London in order to avoid it. After putting up with this year after year they are out of patience: they want it banned.
This would be a mistake. We have to look past the inconsiderate behaviour of a few members of the crowd and remember that the Carnival remains a grand and colourful symbol of racial tolerance in London. It was started in 1959 in response to the race riots of the summer before and this year the event expects 1.5 million people of all ethnicities backgrounds to turn up.
Boris Johnson describes the Carnival as ‘a magnificent example of the energy and colour that make our city such an exciting place to live’. He’s right. For many of us who have spent the summer watching the rain, unable to afford foreign holidays, the festival is a much needed and spectacular party.