Q: When is a traveller not a traveller? A: When he doesn’t travel.

UN representative accuses council of ”violating international law” over the clearance of a travellers’ site

Yves Cabannes, a professor at UCL’s Development Planning Unit and an advisor to the UN has said that  ‘a study which he led on forced eviction found that at Dale Farm and the UK in general the Government is “violating international human rights law on three points:  […] the right to adequate housing, the right to be defended from forced eviction and discrimination.”

The internet – and the news for that matter – is full of adventitious ‘voices for the voiceless’, as if travellers ever presented themselves with an inability to put across their opinions. One such voice at Travellers’ Times Online, Gypsy rights activist Grattan Puxon has warned: “A dirty, neo-fascist wave, a tsunami of social exclusion is to break over the peaceful Dale Farm community, smashing up lives and drowning the hopes of another generation of Traveller children, presently attending local schools… the ugliest yet act of ethnic-cleansing by a British local authority against an outpost of Europe’s nascent Roma nation .At a time of huge cuts, when Essex county council is axing 450 jobs and 12 youth centres, why has this council chosen to spend an astronomical £18 million to evict the Gypsy families who have lived peacefully on their site for many years?” 

On WordPress, the platform for this blog, there is another ‘champion’ for the travellers called ‘Save Dale Farm’ which reports that “The Homes and Communities Agency offer of land and funding for alternative sites had been rejected by Basildon” without any sort of discussion as to why taxpayers should donate land and fund the sites for ‘travellers’. If establishing a home is simply down to buying a plot of land and putting down roots, I (and presumably millions like me) will follow in the rush to set up our own homes for £20,000 instead of £200,000. There is absolutely no rationale whatever for one race to be treated differently than anyone else when it comes to the roof over your head.

The irony here is that Dale Farm has existed for ten years and many of the residents have lived there for that length of time. One of the complaints from the residents in Dale Farm is that they and their children will be uprooted. So why in the name of sanity do they call themselves travellers? If they no longer wish to travel and live somewhere they can do what everyone else does, either buy or rent a home and their problem is solved. What is apparent to the rest of us is that there is one class of person in the UK that expects to ride a coach and horses through the planning laws as a way of ‘putting down roots’ on the cheap.


One thought on “Q: When is a traveller not a traveller? A: When he doesn’t travel.

  1. Having just got up and re-read my post, I now realise that Cabannes has asserted that the ‘travellers’ are being denied “the right to be defended from forced eviction”. They have been through an entire, legal planning process where they have had the option to be defended or not – their choice as to whether or not that happened it seems. So how, exactly, have these people been denied “the right to be defended from forced eviction”?

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