Tag Archives: traveller

#PoliceBill attack on travellers is another step on Johnson’s journey to Hitlerian Nazism

Travellers: this is a council-run traveller site, so it looks orderly enough. But a proposed law means that even here the police could confiscate travellers’ homes, if officers don’t like the look of them.

Roma (or Romani); travellers; gypsies; diddycai; tinkers if you like. There are plenty of words for these almost universally maligned people.

They have a bad reputation because some of them are trespassers who will camp on any land, whether it is privately-owned or common, some of them are dirty and will leave their campsites filthy with litter, and some of them are prone to criminal behaviour.

In 1930s Germany, Hitler ramped up already-existing anti-gypsy laws to establish the pre-supposition that they were a “nuisance”, that they were criminal by their nature (so it follows that the authorities were allowed to assume they were criminals without them actually having to commit a crime), and that they should be moved on from encampments that were considered to cause a disturbance to the rest of the German population (in Hitler’s Germany, they were moved on into concentration camps where they were murdered in a holocaust that was every bit as brutal as the attempted genocide of the Jews).

Boris Johnson has been stealing policies from Hitler, it seems. Just take a look at his plans for travellers, as written into the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that has just won its first major vote in the House of Commons. Here’s Ian Dunt to explain it to you:

There. Police only need to assume that, because a traveller is there, they are likely to engage in criminal activity, and they can then treat that traveller as if they had been seen to commit such an act (even though they haven’t).

It’s like “pre-crime”, as described in the movie Minority Report, which turns the law on its head, allowing people to be arrested on the basis of predictions that they will commit crime. In the film, these predictions were not necessarily accurate. In this law, there isn’t even a requirement to be.

To recap: on sight of a traveller, the police may confiscate everything they own. And what will happen to them then? An arrest for vagrancy?

It sets innocent people up to be criminalised because of who they are, which is a well-recognised form of prejudice. Suppose Johnson targeted Jews. It would be an attack on these people because of who they are, not what they do. That is what we have here.

It isn’t quite racism, and it can’t be anti-Semitism, but the lesson of Hitler tells us it is just as bad.

Oh, and by the way, illegal traveller encampments could have been made a thing of the past if only local authorities had obeyed a 1968 law (the commenter below was adrift by a few years) that ordered them to provide standing sites for travellers to camp:

The Caravan Sites Act of 1968 led to the creation of 400 sites, but was ignored by many local authorities. I recall Powys County Council dragging its heels over demands for such sites within the last 10 years.

By breaking the law, council leaders (many of whom, I have no doubt, are Conservatives) made it possible for the current Conservative government to create the current legislation that demands that they be treated as criminals for no reason at all.

The Bill is sponsored by Priti Patel, who is already running concentration camps for refugees from foreign countries.

Where do you think she’ll open her first concentration camp for travellers? And what will they do next?

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Boris please note: We don’t need violence to demonstrate against Thatcherism

It seems police confiscated an effigy of the Blue Baroness after protesters set fire to it in Glasgow. It is doubtful that the scene looked anything like the above image. Without an effigy to burn the protesters did NOT become violent. They DID do a conga, while chanting, "Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead".

It seems police confiscated an effigy of the Blue Baroness after protesters set fire to it in Glasgow. It is doubtful that the scene looked anything like the above image. Without an effigy to burn, the protesters did NOT become violent. No – they did a conga, while chanting, “Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead”.

Why on earth does Boris Johnson think it’s necessary to put the fear of violence into our heads, just because people are coming to London to demonstrate in favour of common sense?

The London Mayor said hundreds of Metropolitan police officers would be “kitted up” and ready to be deployed rapidly, in case of outbreaks of disorder.

The trouble with that, of course, is that he has made everybody involved – protesters and police – paranoid that unpleasantness of some kind will happen, and that it will be the other side that starts it!

How utterly ridiculous. By all means, keep your political tools (the police) ready, Boris, but keep them in the background. Otherwise, you’re the one inciting trouble.

If only he was able to step back and look at the situation dispassionately. Consider what the protests are about:

The main event is a demonstration against the current lionisation of Margaret Thatcher that has already cost the taxpayer nearly £2 million in expenses payments for MPs who were recalled to Parliament during their Easter recess for no good reason, when tributes could have been paid to the Blue Baroness upon MPs’ scheduled return, on Monday. Add to that a further £10 million for a state-funded funeral with military honours that a huge proportion of the population believes is undeserved – especially when the late champion of privatisation had more than enough cash in her estate to pay for as much pomp and ceremony as she could ever have wanted – and anyone can see there is a valid justification for the event.

Attendees will include former miners, and members of mining communities that were devastated by the Thatcher government’s decision to force a confrontation with the unions – the real reason the pits were closed in the mid-1980s. They will be joined by travellers – whose kind were attacked by police, in their role as a political tool of the Thatcher government rather than as guardians of lawful behaviour, most notably in the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’. Students whose grants were transformed into loans during her period of office will also be represented, along with those who are politically opposed to her policies and their legacy.

History tells us that violence involving those groups has always been instigated by those arrayed against them – the forces of the government; remember, the BBC was forced into a (grudging) apology after it was proved that footage of a police charge had been doctored to make it seem the miners had attacked first, when in fact the police provoked the unpleasantness.

So let’s hope that nothing of the kind happens today – either at the main event, the UKUncut demo against the Bedroom Tax and benefit cap, or the Taxpayers Against Poverty march.

But if it does, let’s all take a good hard look at whoever kicks it off – particularly their voting history. I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone causing trouble today will have a prediliction for supporting the Conservative Party.