British Tories evict Dale Farm

Dale Farm residents demonstrate

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

A cosy Dale Farm myth

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Politicians who defend the use of massed riot police to enforce the eviction of Dale Farm residents should consider the effect of televised images on Britain’s reputation.

If this had happened in a country that our government disapproved of, David Cameron would have denounced state violence and ethnic cleansing.

But he and his apologists seek to portray Dale Farm as an issue of law and order based on the traveller community’s refusal to follow normal legal paths.

This cosy myth ignores the reality that, despite decades of anti-racist legislation, discrimination against Gypsies and Irish travellers remains widespread and largely unpunished.

A modern, inclusive society ought to be able to tolerate small communities that follow their own culture, provided that this does not harm the rest of society.

That was the reasoning behind the Labour government’s 2004 Housing Act obliging local councils to provide traveller sites to enable an itinerant culture to flourish alongside its settled counterpart.

Unfortunately, anti-traveller prejudice led many councils, largely Tory, to ignore their legal responsibilities and to direct Travellers to sites in neighbouring council areas.

Those who pontificate about Gypsies and travellers having to abide by the same laws as the rest of the society should explain why they remained silent when some councils flouted the law by not providing sites.

This was particularly so in Essex where there was effectively a blanket rejection of all traveller applications for a site, resulting in no legal pitches being provided for a decade.

It is not surprising that, faced with this institutionalised racism, some travellers chose to buy land and build their homes before applying for planning permission.

Far from this being an outlandish peculiarity of the Traveller community, it happens frequently with regard to housing construction and extensions or alterations to existing structures.

Planning authorities then have the choice of giving backdated approval or of ordering demolition and restitution.

In 80 per cent of cases, backdated approval is agreed, but this falls when the applicants are travellers to just 10 per cent.

Basildon Tory council leader Tony Ball has personalised the Dale Farm situation, promising non-traveller residents last year that he would either push through the evictions by this autumn or resign his position.

He and his council portray their anti-traveller stance as a defence of the green belt, although they have approved other applications for housing on green-belt land by non-traveller interests.

Additionally, although Dale Farm is classified as green belt, the site is actually based on a former scrap yard.

It is as though Essex Tories, in demanding the eviction of Dale Farm residents without planning permission, have taken a deliberate decision to provoke a confrontation with them for political reasons to show that they can act tough against a national minority.

This assessment is strengthened by the well-publicised agreement of the Prime Minister to cough up £18.5 million to cover the cost of this politically motivated eviction.

The military-style operation by dozens of riot police to drive people out of their homes will not have improved the Essex green belt in any way.

It will have made a number of families needlessly homeless, forcing them to look for alternative accommodation in a hostile environment.

And it is likely to further demean Britain’s international reputation, especially if the evicted families take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Dale Farm protesters tasered as eviction erupts in violence and flames: here.

Riot Police defended their use of tasers on Dale Farm residents and supporters after a dramatic dawn raid today morning – the last stand of Britain’s biggest Irish traveller community.

HUNDREDS of riot police stormed through the rear perimeter fence into the Dale Farm compound at 7am yesterday morning, injuring female residents that they pushed to the ground and causing children to scream in terror: here.

Did “intelligence” on Dale Farm protestors come from undercover police agents, asks Kevin Meagher: here.

Last stand at Dale Farm as police evict residents: here.

A history of racism against travelling people: here.

A British girl has asked the queen to keep her from being evicted, writing: “As you have lived at Buckingham Palace for so long I thought you might understand how we feel”: here.

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6 thoughts on “British Tories evict Dale Farm

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  5. Saturday 3rd June 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    BASILDON Borough Council was issued with a £150,000 fine yesterday for illegally publishing the personal details of families who lived on the Dale Farm travellers’ site, writes Felicity Collier.

    Bailiffs and riot police cleared part of the site in 2011, after the escalation of an ongoing dispute over the number of people living there.

    A spokesman said: “The council has been given 28 days in which to lodge an appeal against [the fine].

    “We are taking advice and considering our position.”

    Mary Ann McCarthy, who lived on the site before the 2011 eviction, said: “They drove us out like we were a load of animals.

    “We all got scattered around — it ruined our lives.

    “Planners promised us the moon. The council could have built a site for us.

    “They wasted all that taxpayers’ money and didn’t solve a thing.”

    Grattan Puxon, another former Dale Farm resident, branded the eviction “the most brutal to be mounted against travellers in the UK, being led by riot police firing Taser guns.”

    The council has now started High Court proceedings against travellers who have moved onto a site in nearby Wickford, with hearings due next Wednesday.


  6. Monday 5th June 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    by Felicity Collier

    TRAVELLERS joined a People’s Assembly rally in Colchester on Saturday to defend the NHS — and press local Tory councillors over plans to bulldoze the last remaining homes at Dale Farm.

    Leading Roma figures said the Tories’ unclear policies over provision for the often vulnerable nomadic community were unacceptable, and pointed to plans by nearby Basildon Council to build over land bought and settled by Traveller families as an example of ongoing persecution.

    The council has threatened to raze the last remaining homes at Dale Farm, which became infamous as a human rights battleground when a mass forced eviction of plots without planning permission was staged in 2011, and replace it with 500 houses to try to hit local building targets.

    Basildon has said the homes of the remaining community, though legally bought and settled, are in “seriously poor” condition due to broken sewage outflow pipes — as the entire site was dug up during the original eviction to deter people from returning.

    Dale Farm Residents Association secretary and Gypsy Council founding member Grattan Puxon told the Star that a development firm had already moved equipment onto Dale Farm even though Travellers still own the land.

    Mr Puxon said: “Families were supposed to be given the first offer [of homes] that were supposed to be built on the whole area.

    “People had to abandon caravans and chalets which were dug up to prevent them from living there.

    “No alternative accommodation was ever offered.”

    The council has spent around £10 million so far in trying to evict residents from Dale Farm, according to Mr Puxon, who said the Colchester march showed that the Roma community is united behind Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

    Mr Corbyn has previously shown support for travellers and Labour’s new manifesto pledges: “We will end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and protect the right to lead a nomadic way of life.”

    As reported by the Star, the council was issued with a £150,000 fine last week for illegally publishing personal details of the residents up to 2011 — the year at least 83 families had started to be evicted.

    Of the council’s decision to lodge an appeal against the recent fine, Mr Puxon said: “It’s typical of the council to waste more money on an appeal.

    “They were told to pay compensation to Travellers for publishing their private details, but they never paid.”

    The council will start High Court proceedings against travellers at a site in nearby Wickford on Wednesday.


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