Paint the town red – Notting Hill changes hands


The 8 June 2017 general election ended on a spectacular note with controversial Conservative MP Victoria Borwick losing her Kensington seat, which includes Notting Hill. After three counts, Labour’s Emma Dent Coad won by just 20 votes. The extremely close contest meant that Kensington was the very last of the UK’s 650 parliamentary constituencies to declare a result. It has been a Conservative stronghold for many decades.

‘Lady’ Borwick hit the headlines in December 2015 when she said she would survey local residents and businesses about the future of Notting Hill Carnival. Soca News interviewed Borwick in January 2016.

She told SN: “Carnival brings tremendous pleasure; it brings tremendous cohesiveness; there are all sorts of very positive things about Carnival.” However, her floating of ideas such as ticketing the event, or moving it to a park, plus her focus on crime and knives, gave many people the impression that she was anti-Carnival at heart.

By contrast, Coad is unashamedly a Notting Hill Carnival fan. On her blog, she revealed that she first attended in 1980 and recalled, “The freedom of dancing and drinking in the street was new to me and exhilarating, and the atmosphere of pure joy – and love – was uplifting.” To the charge that Carnival is a hotbed of crime, she noted: “Carnival doesn’t create crime. Criminals attend Carnival.”

In her view, this crime coverage has prompted those who don’t understand the event to try to sanitise Carnival. Coad described her predecessor’s NHC survey as “an ill-judged effort, with highly deterministic questions, that resulted in polarising and inflaming opinion”. Soca News hopes to subject Emma Dent Coad to our own questionnaire and we look forward to hearing more about her opinions of Notting Hill Carnival.

• Read her full article here: