This weekend is not only the August Bank Holiday in England and Wales, it is also when the Notting Hill Carnival is held, drawing visitors to West London in their hundreds of thousands. There has been an especial poignancy about this year’s event, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. But for one paper, the Carnival has to be sold to its readers as A Very Bad Thing, as Carnival goers are not its kinds of people.
What's f***ing wrong with a little coded racism, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
That paper, as if you need to ask, is the Daily Mail, where the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has clearly decreed that Carnival equals Very Bad Things, but not because many of those taking part are not white, oh no. That drives headlines like “More than 30 people are arrested as drugs and violence mar 'family day' at Notting Hill carnival and festival faces its most intense security operation yet”.
And the reality? “Police have arrested 33 people at Notting Hill Carnival for alleged crimes ranging from being drunk a disorderly to assaulting a police officer … A total of 20 people have been taken into custody for drug-related offences while five people are believed to have breached the Public Order Act … Others were taken into custody for grievous bodily harm and criminal damage”. Not unlike any weekend in London, then.
Still, how about trying to link the Carnival to terrorism? No problem for the Dacre doggies. “Steel barriers, concrete blocks and weapons checks are some of the measures being used to help protect the world-famous carnival from the threat of a Barcelona-style terror incident as well as acid attacks … Police said there is no specific counter-terrorism intelligence but security plans had been 'thoroughly reviewed' following the attack in the Spanish city earlier this month, in which 15 people died after being hit by a van”.
"You think we'll blend into the background, Sarge?"
"Yeah, just keep still and nobody will notice"
There is no specific intelligence which suggests a Barcelona-style attack, but the Mail is going to talk about it anyway, just to make sure Daily Mail readers are discouraged from visiting. And the Mail throws in acid attacks as well, just to make sure. And don’t forget, “Officers will be stationed around the perimeter of the carnival zone, carrying out checks for weapons and corrosive substances”. Scary things happening, see?
Only at the end of the article is the reality for many who live in the Carnival area allowed to intrude: “Hundreds of hand-drawn tributes, flowers and candles laid in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire will be protected by fencing, while a 'ring of care' will be formed around the tower by police officers to protect the Lancaster West estate from the hundreds of thousands of passing carnival-goers”. Yes, Grenfell was part of their world.
But most Mail readers will already have made their minds up - or had them made up - by the horror headlines for which the paper and its website are so infamous. Only at the very end do they see “At 3pm on both days hundreds of thousands of revellers along the route are expected to pause and observe a minute's silence to mark the tragedy, in which at least 80 people are confirmed to have died”.
Instead, it’s all about drugs and violence. Hardly a mention that as many as a million people will attend Carnival this year, the vast majority of whom will have a great time.
The Daily Mail - your predictable blast of spite and misery. No change there, then.