Home Politics Dale Farm – The right decision!

Dale Farm – The right decision!

by Barry

All the legal hurdles have been cleared and this morning the eviction of Travellers at Dale Farm has begun.  Already we see bricks being hurled, caravans torched and the whole complex is reinforced with barriers and obstacles.  However the authorities are prepared, with Police executing what seems to be a steady operation to ensure the bailiffs can execute their duty.  However many people are saying this is wrong, unjust and we should not be doing it until we have secured them somewhere to go.  Personally I think that is rubbish, these people have deliberately flouted the law, both in setting up the camp in the first place, and then in not leaving when requested and finally in assaulting the Police in the execution of their duties.  They are the ones that have broken the law, and they are the ones who should deal with the consequences.

It sounds like a hard line to take, but we have to draw the line somewhere.  This camp has been set up on a greenfield site, which, if it had been a commercial venture, or a new Housing estate, there would have been a lot of fuss and anguish.  They have flouted planning rules, which again, if it had been you or I, we would have been castigated by our community.  Think also of their neighbours, what about their rights?

I do get frustrated at times with the constant idea that people who flout the law in this way are portrayed as the victims.  In this paricular case, they have chosen their lifestyle and ALL it entails.  Why should tax money go to helping people who live a lifestyle that largely helps them evade paying any tax at all?  When you consider its estimated that it will cost £18 to clear the site, is that acceptable to the Tax Payer?  What precident would

Dale Farm Traveller site GV

Image by The Advocacy Project via Flickr

be set if they were just allowed to remain!  It’s an interesting debate.

Overall though, we need to apply laws in an even-handed manner, and it apply to those at Dale Farm as much as it does to you and I!

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Keith Hebden October 19, 2011 - 4:58 pm

Hi Barry,

While the legal position is that the travellers must go: they have broken the law. And the moral argument is good: some have used violence in response to the police measures (having been on the receiving end of police violence myself I know that it always takes two and one of them usually has dogs, guns, horses, and pepper spray).

But there’s always a bigger question: How did this happen in the first place? Few councils offer the legally required number of sites for travellers. The political system and the cultural chauvinism we have in most of Europe means such sites are not vote-winners.

So shall we just endlessly repeat this cycle of traveller occupation, police action, eviction. Or should we now look at how we solve the perennial challenge of learning to integrate ourselves with our traveller communities?

Love and peace,


Eddie October 20, 2011 - 8:30 am

The way to solve the problem is to ensure that the law is apploed equally. This is what the council have done. The “travellers” have used every avenue open to them, both legal and illegal. They have tried to use the race card to allow them to break the law where it suits them.

Barry October 20, 2011 - 4:06 pm

Hi Keith,

Thanks for your insights, in terms of the police, I was impressed by the way they handled this situation, it seemed largely calm and purposeful and deliberate.

But when looking at the underlying currents, is where you get to the interesting debate. How did they get there in the first place? In my opinion its a lifestyle choice, they chose to be travellers and the law enables them to do that in terms of the way the tax is collected and yes traveller sites are pulled togther. But why should they need sites if they are travelling? What do they pay to stay at a site (honest question, I don’t know). Why don’t they stay in caravan parks?

Looking at our local experience of travellers in Gloucester, they don’t give themselves a good name, crime rises, ASB increases, they don’t make good neighbours and tend to ruin the area they set up in, and leave it a state afterwards. I have always been taught that you earn respect through your actions, and they certainly fail that test.

In many stories like this, it is the minority who spoil it for the majority, but im not sure of the balance in this situation.

I would really like to look at real solutions to this issue, because your right, the current model doesn’t work, and if you have ideas and contacts, I would be really interested in working to take them forward if we can, but it will need work on all sides, and a willingness to cooperate.

Keith Hebden October 20, 2011 - 7:23 pm

Thanks Barry, I don’t know if there is a solution. I know the Tories are planning to incentivise council provision but I don’t know if that will help or not.

I have very few experiences of travellers and they’ve not been positive ones, to be honest. But I think that, since they are human beings just like me the problem is not impossible to overcome.

If more of us were willing to walk on to traveller camps and spend time with the communities we may find the solution together.

peter powell October 23, 2011 - 9:35 pm

I feel this has a class dimension,the government are already talking about easing planning laws.I do not condone law breaking, but the outcome is severe.Gypsys were marginalized by the 19th century enclosures act. and later exterminated by Hitler.There is left that nasty taste,that an alternative was not used in order that a family unit could be maintained.

James October 24, 2011 - 11:16 pm

I agree with Keith’s analysis. Theirs is not a lifestyle choice, rather a particular cultural heritage which they have inherited from their ancestors. They have a long history of persecution across Europe and this appears to have been borne out by recent events. Sure, there are ‘bad eggs’ but they exist across all elements of society, regardless of race, creed and class. Right?

If you look at the human story, our common ancestors were nomadic. Fast forward to the present day and you will find a great many people struggling to afford a ‘settled life’. I am not at all surprised that there is so much reluctance in some areas to make adequate ‘provision’. Our obsession with property has fuelled the credit crunch and recession, making ‘affordable housing’ even more inaccessible to the many. So, by comparison, why are we focussing on such a small problem?

Barry October 27, 2011 - 12:10 pm

The Citizen picked up this story ad printed it yesterday:


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