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Subject: Dale Farm: Europe Largest Traveller Site facing eviction. rss

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Green Dan
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This is an issue I really can't decide about. Both sides have compelling arguments. I assume this hasn't really been picked up by international media, so here are some useful links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/26/dale-farm-trav...

http://action.amnesty.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/8731407/Va...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-14017865

http://dalefarm.wordpress.com/

[urlhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/8729...[/url]

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=25576

To sum up:
Dale farm is two sites in one. The land is owned by the Traveller community. On half of the site has permission to build on, which they have done. The other side they do not have permission to build on. It is this site that will be evicted, apparantly until the council have removed the offending structures, when the families will be allowed back on. I guess they are worried they won't know where to go, or how long that process will take. They don't have anywhere else to go, so what are they going to do during that time?
The eviction is going to cost around £18 million, during times when the government is looking for cost savings. So why not just, you know leave them?
The site is often referred to as green belt, but also apparantly used to be a scrap yard.
I'm also certian these people are not Travllers, since they a refuding to Travel!
I understand the reason for planning permission before building on a site, but why not threaten fines and or prison sentences? Evicting them to move them into an unstable situation, seems to cost more money than it's worth.

A very tricky situation.











 
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lotus dweller
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One way to remove much of our ethnic bias in judging this sort of situation is to change the people involved.

So instead of Travellers we'll imagine that this is a community of barristers, stock-brokers and investment bankers who live their home lives in such a way as to produce all the issues with their neighbours and local government that the current occupants do.

Would there still be a problem?
I'm thinking , "Yes".
But only till they got control of the Minister for Local Government through the old boys network and bribed enough of the local Councillors.
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Green Dan
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That's a good mental exercise. I was thinking, if my neighbour build a wind turbine in their back garden without permission, and point blank refuesed to take it down, they would have to move out while the council removed it.
It's annoying me as it generally violates my usual liberal leanings I guess.
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An extract from the telegraph link
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/8729...

" The facts are these. There has been an authorised traveller site, with permission for 34 pitches, here since the mid-Nineties. Ten years ago, a six-acre plot Dale Farm next to this site was bought by two English gipsies who subdivided it into plots and sold them on to other travellers. Today Dale Farm resembles a small derelict estate, with tarmac and gravel tracks, brick walls, railings topped with barbed wire, caravans, chalets and gateposts sporting elaborate finials. Around 240 people live here but Dale Farm does not have, and has never had, planning permission for any of its 51 pitches.

The travellers claim that, although the land is green belt, it was never a prized beauty spot. It wasn’t all babbling brooks and big oak trees when we moved here, says Bridget McCarthy. It was a broken down scrapyard. (The council confirms that a corner of the land had been used, without permission, as a scrapyard since the Sixties). "

There's some interestng information on the effect on the local community in the full article.

I don't know exactly what a "pitch" is supposed to be. It sounds like it's like a space in a camping ground: a space intended to be temporarily occupied, rather than part of a small village of permament dwellings.

If I was allowed to buy farm zoned for agricultural use, and without planning permission, build and sell a lot of single-family dwellings on them I could get rich fast. Of course the original owner could do the same - but wouldn't be allowed to, because it's illegal to do so without planning permission.
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Green Dan
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There does seem to be an under current or feeling of racism toward the travller community. For example always being knocked back for planning permission (although they were given permission for the original site.)
On the flip side I guess it could be argued that Travellers do not need to erect permenant dwellings on the grounds they are Travellers. Is that racism or acknowledging a cultural heritage.
If you weren't from a Traveller familty and moved around in a caravan, and pitched up where you wanted, when you wanted with no obvious form of income I think you'd be viewed as quite dodgy.
Certian cultural artifacts become viewed as wrong over time. Maybe the time has come for the traveller community to live like the rest of the population? Would such a call be considered Racism? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the Few? Of should the many protect the few?
 
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Ed Bradley
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"I 'ate fuckin' pikeys".
 
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Green Dan
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Fwing wrote:
"I 'ate fuckin' pikeys".


Well if you eat them that'll solve the problem. Judging by the footage on TV of them planting petrol around the site there may well be some overcooked pikey by tomorrow morning.
 
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Neil Carr
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What is a traveler?

What is a green belt?

What is a pitch?
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Green Dan
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echoota wrote:
What is a traveler?

From my understanding it is a catch all to refer to Gypsies of either Irish or Romani descent.

echoota wrote:
What is a green belt?

Its a way of zoning. You generally have Urban (town or city) Suburban (just outside a town or city, primarily residential), brown belt (scrap yards and similar) and Green belt (countryside, trees, fields and the like)

echoota wrote:
What is a pitch?

It's where you park a caravan or tent.If you go to a proper campsite you pay for a pitch. Hence the term "I pitched up somewhere" meaning "I arrived somewhere".
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Ed Bradley
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Greendan wrote:
Fwing wrote:
"I 'ate fuckin' pikeys".


Well if you eat them that'll solve the problem. Judging by the footage on TV of them planting petrol around the site there may well be some overcooked pikey by tomorrow morning.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE1d0G0t_G8
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A lot of my in-laws are UK gypsies. Great people. Very generous and friendly.
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Green Dan
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BlueMountain wrote:
A lot of my in-laws are UK gypsies. Great people. Very generous and friendly.


Ah, interesting. What's your take on the situation then?
 
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Greendan wrote:
BlueMountain wrote:
A lot of my in-laws are UK gypsies. Great people. Very generous and friendly.


Ah, interesting. What's your take on the situation then?
No view really. Don't fully understand the situation or the people involved.
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Boaty McBoatface
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gyc365 wrote:
An extract from the telegraph link
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/8729...

" The facts are these. There has been an authorised traveller site, with permission for 34 pitches, here since the mid-Nineties. Ten years ago, a six-acre plot Dale Farm next to this site was bought by two English gipsies who subdivided it into plots and sold them on to other travellers. Today Dale Farm resembles a small derelict estate, with tarmac and gravel tracks, brick walls, railings topped with barbed wire, caravans, chalets and gateposts sporting elaborate finials. Around 240 people live here but Dale Farm does not have, and has never had, planning permission for any of its 51 pitches.

The travellers claim that, although the land is green belt, it was never a prized beauty spot. It wasn’t all babbling brooks and big oak trees when we moved here, says Bridget McCarthy. It was a broken down scrapyard. (The council confirms that a corner of the land had been used, without permission, as a scrapyard since the Sixties). "

There's some interestng information on the effect on the local community in the full article.

I don't know exactly what a "pitch" is supposed to be. It sounds like it's like a space in a camping ground: a space intended to be temporarily occupied, rather than part of a small village of permament dwellings.

If I was allowed to buy farm zoned for agricultural use, and without planning permission, build and sell a lot of single-family dwellings on them I could get rich fast. Of course the original owner could do the same - but wouldn't be allowed to, because it's illegal to do so without planning permission.


That’s one of the issues, these are not temporary plots but permanent habitation (and they have attempted top build what are in effect bungalows there). Also there is evidence that some of them (including Mrs McCarthy) have council homes up t’north they sub let. There is also there accusation that they are Irish tinkers who (because of a change in Irish law, that no one at the time called racist, that put a stop to the practice) are doing just that, taking land (using squatters rights) for the purposes of development then resale. There is also a rumour that they have force of other travellers.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Greendan wrote:
There does seem to be an under current or feeling of racism toward the travller community. For example always being knocked back for planning permission (although they were given permission for the original site.)
On the flip side I guess it could be argued that Travellers do not need to erect permenant dwellings on the grounds they are Travellers. Is that racism or acknowledging a cultural heritage.
If you weren't from a Traveller familty and moved around in a caravan, and pitched up where you wanted, when you wanted with no obvious form of income I think you'd be viewed as quite dodgy.
Certian cultural artifacts become viewed as wrong over time. Maybe the time has come for the traveller community to live like the rest of the population? Would such a call be considered Racism? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the Few? Of should the many protect the few?


Sorry but they are building on land that no one else would be allowed to build on, how is that racist?
 
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Green Dan
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slatersteven wrote:

Sorry but they are building on land that no one else would be allowed to build on, how is that racist?


Ah, I sort of ran two thoughts into one there.
I read in an article on of the Travllers lawyers saying "Travellers are more often denied planning permission than allowed it". A statistic said an 80% denial rate for travellers comapared to 20% for the rest of the population.
So, is the thinking "Well, you're a traveller, ergo, you shouldn't build permenant dwellings"
Would that thinking be racist or sensitive to cultural history?
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Greendan wrote:
slatersteven wrote:

Sorry but they are building on land that no one else would be allowed to build on, how is that racist?


Ah, I sort of ran two thoughts into one there.
I read in an article on of the Travllers lawyers saying "Travellers are more often denied planning permission than allowed it". A statistic said an 80% denial rate for travellers comapared to 20% for the rest of the population.
So, is the thinking "Well, you're a traveller, ergo, you shouldn't build permenant dwellings"
Would that thinking be racist or sensitive to cultural history?


That depends on
A. what the planning permision is.
B. The land the permision is for.
For example most people build on land that is already built up (such as sheds in back gardens or extenstions). Also (as the two example I have given show) many planning applocations are not for residential buildings. So for the refusal to be racist it would have to be demonstrated that travellers are more likley to be refused in similar circumstances.
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Christopher Dearlove
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Greendan wrote:
Green belt (countryside, trees, fields and the like)


That's not a complete answer. Green belt is mostly as you say, but not vice versa. The green belt, in particular the one around London, is a specific area that was designed to stop London growing after the war and put a gap between it and areas outside it, in particular New Towns such as Basildon that is near the camp in question. So it's not just countryside, it's specially protected countryside, at least in theory. (Not the only sort, another sort would be National Parks.)

And I'm sure I've oversimplified in my turn.
 
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David K
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Fwing wrote:
"I 'ate fuckin' pikeys".


Let's see, here's a thread about Gypsies being pushed around, and your contribution is to quote a racist comment about Gypsies you heard in a movie. Because you thought it would be funny, right? If this was a thread about black people would you quote us a movie wherein someone said "I hate fucking niggers"? Because the two "jokes" are exactly equivalent. Maybe the next time you want to comment on an ethnic group you don't belong to you should have an adult read it over before you post it.

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Kate Callen
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Some real information on the different terms for groups of Travellers in the British Isles.

From that and my general knowledge as someone who grew up in Dublin, with contact with local Travelling families: Irish Travellers are (in the vast majority) not of Romany descent and thus Gypsies would not be a correct term even among those Romany people who have reclaimed the term. Since it is a contentious term often used derogatorily, I'd recommend those without community membership/strong connection not use the term Gypsy at all. 'Pikey' and 'Tinker' are solely derogatory these days and should be avoided.
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David K
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Greendan wrote:
slatersteven wrote:

Sorry but they are building on land that no one else would be allowed to build on, how is that racist?


Ah, I sort of ran two thoughts into one there.
I read in an article on of the Travllers lawyers saying "Travellers are more often denied planning permission than allowed it". A statistic said an 80% denial rate for travellers comapared to 20% for the rest of the population.
So, is the thinking "Well, you're a traveller, ergo, you shouldn't build permenant dwellings"
Would that thinking be racist or sensitive to cultural history?


Telling them they can't build permanent dwellings because they're Gypsies would be completely racist, whether it's pitched from the angle "We don't want your kind here" or "You don't traditionally build permanent settlements, so out respect for YOUR culture, we're not going to let you build here".

One of the major reasons Gypsy people are still nomadic is the hostility they experience from the fine upstanding sedentary communities they share space with, but apparently even when they do want to do play the game of the majority and live in one place they're typically denied permission to build a place to live. The people at Dale Farm have tried to build a settlement IN A JUNKYARD and they're not going to be allowed to do so. So much for encouraging Gypsies to form permanent communities.

I think Gypsy people are analogous to North America native populations in that they don't share the cultural values/traditions of the majority around them. In a situation like this, you have three broad options: try to force them to assimilate, kill them/expell them,or accomodate them in some systematically fair manner. And just like the situation with native north americans, Gypsies should not be expected to abandon any element of their culture unless they freely choose to do so. They have the right to be accomodated by the majority, which concretely means that when it comes to Gypsies forming permanent settlements local zoning or land usage laws should be considered guidelines and not hard and fast rules, except in matters of public health. The higher priciple here seems to me to be cultural autonomy for minority populations, even if aspects of the minority culture make members of the majority uncomfortable.
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David K
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kaec wrote:
Some real information on the different terms for groups of Travellers in the British Isles.

From that and my general knowledge as someone who grew up in Dublin, with contact with local Travelling families: Irish Travellers are (in the vast majority) not of Romany descent and thus Gypsies would not be a correct term even among those Romany people who have reclaimed the term. Since it is a contentious term often used derogatorily, I'd recommend those without community membership/strong connection not use the term Gypsy at all. 'Pikey' and 'Tinker' are solely derogatory these days and should be avoided.


Thank you for your comments. I'd like to make it clear that the only reason I refer to these people as Gypsies is because that's how every member of this community that I've ever had the good fortune to meet refers to him or herself. If a member of this community would like to suggest a better term it would be my pleasure to use that one instead of Gypsy.
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Some of what we are seeing here is the effect of changes in land use and population density.

I've got a UK book from the 20s/30s in which the author describes going on a holiday in their car from the south to the north of Britain, camping in free open public spaces. As I understand it these spaces were also used by the Travellers.

But the spaces don't exist as such any more.
Rules, regulations and bylaws have by design or neglect made their former ways impracticable.

The discussion then becomes one of inherited cultural rights and compensations. In the midst of on-going cultural tensions.

There ain't gonna be no quick fix. Lawyers will be happy.
 
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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kade wrote:
Greendan wrote:
slatersteven wrote:

Sorry but they are building on land that no one else would be allowed to build on, how is that racist?


Ah, I sort of ran two thoughts into one there.
I read in an article on of the Travllers lawyers saying "Travellers are more often denied planning permission than allowed it". A statistic said an 80% denial rate for travellers comapared to 20% for the rest of the population.
So, is the thinking "Well, you're a traveller, ergo, you shouldn't build permenant dwellings"
Would that thinking be racist or sensitive to cultural history?


Telling them they can't build permanent dwellings because they're Gypsies would be completely racist, whether it's pitched from the angle "We don't want your kind here" or "You don't traditionally build permanent settlements, so out respect for YOUR culture, we're not going to let you build here".

One of the major reasons Gypsy people are still nomadic is the hostility they experience from the fine upstanding sedentary communities they share space with, but apparently even when they do want to do play the game of the majority and live in one place they're typically denied permission to build a place to live. The people at Dale Farm have tried to build a settlement IN A JUNKYARD and they're not going to be allowed to do so. So much for encouraging Gypsies to form permanent communities.

I think Gypsy people are analogous to North America native populations in that they don't share the cultural values/traditions of the majority around them. In a situation like this, you have three broad options: try to force them to assimilate, kill them/expell them,or accomodate them in some systematically fair manner. And just like the situation with native north americans, Gypsies should not be expected to abandon any element of their culture unless they freely choose to do so. They have the right to be accomodated by the majority, which concretely means that when it comes to Gypsies forming permanent settlements local zoning or land usage laws should be considered guidelines and not hard and fast rules, except in matters of public health. The higher priciple here seems to me to be cultural autonomy for minority populations, even if aspects of the minority culture make members of the majority uncomfortable.


I agree in principle with your idea that the culturally distinct minorities should be given every reasonable opportunity to preserve and maintain their distinct culture in the modern pluralist society.

That said, problems arise when the measures taken to preserve cultural autonomy get abused for private (or communal) gain. Example of such is the exemptions to the fishing rules given to the west coast aboriginals for the cultural reasons (religious and sustenance) which sometimes get interpreted as right to fish whenever for whatever with modern western equipment and for sale to the white majority.

Usually at this point the aboriginals (or their advocates) switch the topic to the past oppression and conquest and thus avoid the issue of minority cultural rights by talking about unsolvable issue of ongoing compensation for past conquests. This however does not avoid the issue that cultural rights must be designed in such a way as to be truly cultural rather then licence to a particular group to pursue economic opportunities that are closed to other groups. Former is good for society, later is highly pernicious as it causes justified animosity towards the minority group and as such endangers their long term prosperity and societal pluralism in general.

I believe in this case of UK Wanderers same rule applies. It makes perfect sense for the government to enable them to have somewhere to stay temporarily during their wanderings - as this enables their unique culture to be preserved. On the other hand - enabling Wanderers to settle down is not in any way necessary for the preservation of their culture and they should not get any privileged access to land on which to build permanent villages. Trying to turn a temporary travelling site into a permanent settlement seems to me exactly a sort of move where the cultural sensitivity shown by majority towards minority is exploited by (some members of) minority for gain (gain of land in this case) and not for preservation of the culture.

In summary, I believe Wanderers should be allowed to wander and allowed to pitch their tents in ways and for periods compatible with the traditional practices of that culture.
Such Wanderers as want to settle should by no means be treated discriminatorily (for cultural or any other reasons) but should be treated exactly as every other member of society trying to find a permanent place to live is treated (including possibly giving them aid based on their income but not based on their cultural association).






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I agree with Bojan above.
But I think the current situation in the UK is not sufficiently covered.
AIUI Travellers cannot "continue to wander" as there are no longer sufficient stopping places available. If I'm wrong then my comment is irrelevant. But if I'm right then telling them, "Continue to wonder" when the basic necessities required to do so are not available is a recipe for further conflict.

Working out what the minimum requirements would be might be more complex than it first appears - how do you tailor modern society with its evolving modern imperatives so that Travellers, in their evolving interaction with the society around them, continue to be able to live in their culture?

In Australia those Aboriginals who want to live in the outback are somewhat easily provided with land that no-one else wants. Though the effects of social security payments in providing money without requiring work frequently have disastrous effects on their health and the health of their children. But to some extent they can live a life that is relatable to that of their ancestors.

But in England, the most densely populated country in Europe, any land is going to be in very close relationship with its nearest neighbors. The neighbour's legal expectations will probably be backed up by electoral and legal actions aimed at maintaining their utility. To this we can also add in sensationalist media reports, and heartfelt claims of victim-hood by all sides. the best we can hope for is a clean bunfight.

 
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