As the founder, chairman and no longer the sole member of the Charles Martel Society for Multiculturalism, I welcome any mass celebration of any ethnic culture.
But then I don’t live in Notting Hill.
Those who have never seen the area may know it from the 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill. That part of Central London, the kind the French call bobo (bourgeois bohemian), provided a perfect setting for Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant to play out their distinctly retro romance.
The area itself was romanticised, but not beyond recognition. Notting Hill really is like that: arty, expensive, stucco-pretty, pastel-coloured, notoriously left-wing in the Bollinger Bolshevik sort of way.
Or rather it’s like that for 363 days and 51 weekends a year. On the last weekend of August it turns into hell on earth.
That’s a fair description of the annual Notting Hill Carnival dedicated to the celebration of West Indian culture. You know, steel drums, jerk chicken, dancing, colourful costumes, reggae, that sort of thing.
Up to two million visitors fill Notting Hill to the gunwales, with the bobo residents fleeing to five-star London hotels, their country houses or abroad. Normal life in the area is suspended to accommodate the largest street party in Europe.
All members of the Charles Martel Society are duty-bound to welcome diverse cultures. But such cultures must be accepted in their entirety, the rough with the smooth.
Thus black culture in Britain is known not only for reggae and jerk chicken but also – and it pains me to have to say this – for rather eccentric behaviour. For example, the crime rate among British blacks is higher than among the whites by several orders of magnitude.
People who know such things say the problem isn’t racial but cultural, and I agree – as I would even if I weren’t the founder of the Charles Martel Society. Yet if this is indeed part of that culture (a small part! I hasten to add), one should realistically expect it to come to the fore when hundreds of thousands of rowdy revellers converge in a jampacked place.
So it does. This is how the columnist Nana Akua describes this year’s festivities: “Thugs rampaging with zombie knives. Eight stabbings. 75 police officers hurt. Open drug use. And revellers urinating in the gardens.”
Those owners of the gardens who had unwisely stayed at home could use their CCTV cameras to enjoy the view of the diversely cultured people taking turns to relieve themselves on the topiary and partake in ‘hippy crack’ and nitrous oxide. (I know this is only a palliative measure, but the celebrants should be encouraged to do heroin instead. Unlike crack, at least it’s a downer.)
Add to this people baring the intimatemost parts of their anatomy all over the place and publicly copulating in the streets (at least Julia and Hugh had the decency to do that sort of thing indoors), and the picture is almost complete.
The life of a cop assigned to the Carnival detail must be less than joyous. In addition to the 75 officers badly hurt, others were jostled, bitten and urinated on from the rooftops. The cops tried to defend themselves by making more than 300 arrests for violence, sexual offences, and possession of drugs and dangerous weapons. But they were both outnumbered and hamstrung by woke regulations.
Miss Akua is aghast, rightly so. Luckily, due to the chromatic incidental of her birth, she can be critical of that obscene orgy without risking the accusation of racism that would certainly be levelled at anyone of a less fortunate nativity.
Labour politicians in particular use any such criticism as a stick to beat Tory candidates with. As David Lammy, Shadow Foreign Secretary, explained: “London has been shaped in many ways by Black and Caribbean culture and heritage, and there is no greater celebration of this than Notting Hill Carnival.”
Actually, the Romans founded Londinium, as it then was, in 43 AD, whereas the first 1,000 Caribbean migrants arrived in the UK only 75 years ago. Believing that a city that has existed for two millennia has been shaped by a couple of generations of recent migrants would be assigning extraordinary cultural magnetism to that group.
Miss Akua disagrees with Mr Lammy, but without resorting to historical references: “Well, Mr Lammy, I personally find that insulting. Sex on the streets, urinating on doorsteps and public drug-taking are not a representation of black culture.”
That’s true. They are a representation of uncivilised behaviour, and no group is innately uncivilised or, for that matter, civilised. People are made civilised or otherwise, not born that way. In practical terms, that means that civilisationally challenged minorities need to adapt to the ambient mores of their new land.
Those who do so become indistinguishable from the majority in anything other than appearance. They may still celebrate their ancestral culture on occasion, but such celebrations would have all the authenticity of a fancy-dress party – not that there is anything wrong with such festivities.
In her thoughtful article, Miss Akua tries to find a solution to the problem. Hers is to move the Carnival to an open place, say Hyde Park, and search everyone for weapons and drugs. Add to this a few thousand Portacabins, and her proposal may work – the way aspirin may work to relieve the headache caused by brain cancer.
She proposes purely symptomatic relief that would do nothing to address the underlying problem. And the problem is that, rather than being encouraged to adapt to the customs of a superior civilisation, minority groups are actively encouraged not to do so.
In fact, the very suggestion that one, especially Western, culture may be superior to others is these days deemed not only objectionable but practically criminal. No culture is better or worse than any other – they are just different, diverse in other words. And diversity is an imperative, enforced virtue than which none is higher.
Every virtue dialectically co-exists with its opposite vice, in this case racism. That term has long since left its ertswhile dictionary definition, the belief that one’s own race is congenitally superior to all others, to become an offensive weapon aimed at anyone who observes the unassailable fact that some civilisations are more advanced than others.
This weapon is mostly wielded not by members of various minority groups, but by white liberals, our lumpen intelligentsia enjoying an influence well beyond its numbers. Those people are scattered all over the country but, in London, they tend to gravitate to areas like Notting Hill (those who can afford it, that is).
That’s why I disagree with Miss Akua on this score. I think that by all means the Carnival should continue to be held in Notting Hill. Let its denizens reap what they’ve sown.