“I’ve never known of a single murder at the Glastonbury Festival,” said Commander David Musker, the man in charge of policing this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.
He was replying to an accusation by a “rapper” known to his fans as Stormzy who had claimed that the police precautions against looting and violence at the Carnival targeted only “black events.”
(Wasn’t it rather racist of Stormzy to introduce apartheid in this way?)
Stormzy taunted Mr Musker’s officers: “Where were you guys at Glastonbury?”
As a pre-emptive tactic before last weekend’s three days of anarchy, the police made around 300 arrests and this is what enraged Stormzy. But, Stormzy and his mates aside, no reasonable person could argue that the police action was unjustified in the light of the fact that the 2016 event turned into a riot in which six people were stabbed and 454 arrested.
The cost of policing this annual cultural extravaganza is £7 milion.
Besides the customary knives and guns, this year offered a novelty when two people had their faces sprayed with acid.
So did the Notting Hill Carnage 2017 live up to previous years?
It looks as if it excelled itself.
This year twenty-eight police officers were injured by the mob. Bottles were thrown at them – but then that’s only par for the course. In 2017 blood was spat at them as well.
The carnival has got so dangerous that Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, would like Stormzy’s annual “black event” to be banned. He asked, “What other event would be allowed to carry on regardless with so many police colleagues under attack?”
He added, “If this is the norm, it is unacceptable. It is a disgrace. Twenty-eight brave colleagues went to work this weekend and were attacked just for doing their job. This is not normal.”
Altogether 312 arrests were made, 58 for possession of an offensive weapon, knife or blade.
The dictionary defines “carnival” as “A special occasion of public enjoyment and entertainment involving wearing unusual clothes, dancing, eating and drinking, usually in the streets of a city.”
The dictionary might like to add, “With the chance of being stabbed, spattered in blood and having acid thrown in your face.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the London Assembly has declared, “Championing black culture is as important as ever and Carnival should continue.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, notoriously told us that we must put up with the occasional terrorist atrocity as “Part and parcel of living in a major city.”
Similarly, what are twenty-eight injured police officers – so long as “black culture” continues?