Thursday, 19 September 2013

Brighton zombie march cancelled

I have just seen the sad news in the Huffington post that the annual Brighton beach of the dead zombie march has been cancelled for health and safety reasons as it was apparently getting too big to manage safely. Last year's march attracted over 6000 assorted members of the undead, who groaned and staggered their way through Brighton to the sea-front, but went way over the projected budget of £2000. In an interview with local paper, The Argus, the organisers felt this event  had become “a victim of its own success”, and blamed increased stewarding, insurance and medical costs for this year's cancellation.

Putting to one side flippant comments about how much insurance and medical aid the undead actually need, I think it's a real shame that such events get cancelled ostensibly for health & safety reasons because of rising costs. The research I have done on mass emergencies (such as the Hillsborough disaster) means that I appreciate the crucial importance of ensuring crowd safety, and the need to have adequate measures in place to deal with any untoward incidents. However, what I find ironic is that events like Beach of the Dead that are very popular in Brighton (we like that kind of thing down here!) can fall victim to restrictive bureaucracies that take a rather risk averse approach and place restrictions on such marches that can make them non-viable unless they can get external funding. On the other hand, Sussex police are prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to allow the  March for England to come to Brighton, in the face of massive local opposition (see my previous blog post for coverage of this & why I think the police mistakenly felt they had a duty to do so). I'd be much happier for my local Council Tax to go towards helping fund zombie marches than it going towards policing costs to facilitate marches by the far-right that the vast majority of people in Brighton don't want to happen. Zombies are much better behaved- they listen to stewards & wait for the lights at crossings as you can see in the photo below! 

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