by Michael Smith
On Monday, November 17, 2008 the British tabloid newspaper – though newspaper may be a far fetched term for this rag – published a piece entitled “FAMILIES MUST SELL LAND FOR GYPSY CAMPSITES” claiming that and I quote “THOUSANDS of homeowners across Britain could be forced to sell their land to make way for gypsy sites. Private gardens and fields could be taken by the Government in a “land grab” to create permanent campsites for 25,000 travellers”.
This may make for great headlines and for great incitement of racial hatred against an ethnic group, namely the Romani-Gypsy, but it is utterly false and based on lies. But, then again, it is such lies and half-truths that seem to sell newspapers of this ilk.
The Daily Express continues in its Editorial with the following: From DAILY EXPRESS Editorial: “GRABBING LAND TO SETTLE GYPSIES IS OUTRAGEOUS - The Left has a deluded view that gypsies live a romantic life, travelling the byways in gaily painted horse-drawn caravans. The reality is that many are Irish and East European tinkers, pulling monstrous mobile-homes behind gleaming 4X4s and making a good tax-free living from State handouts and the proceeds of crime.”
Firstly, while the Irish might be referred to as “Tinkers”, if the paper would like to do so, as they are Travellers and not Romani, the Eastern European are, in fact, Romanies of the Roma groups in the main and hence are not “tinkers”, as claimed by the Daily Express, but of the Romani Race, of the tribes belonging, as said, to the Roma. To use the term “tinker” in this instance is derogatory and could be regarded as a racial attack.
While it is true that the editorial and the article itself could be seen to constitute incitement to racial hatred and that newspaper should, theoretically, be prosecuted under the Race Relations Act we all know that that is never going to happen. We, the Romani, are simply the wrong color and the wrong religion. We are neither black, nor are we Muslims or Jews. Hence nothing is going to happen. There is but one way: we have to fight it in different ways. How? Well, I leave those thoughts to other forums.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sadiq Khan said: Let me deal with the hon. Lady's first point. Local authorities spend £18 million a year on enforcement action on unauthorised sites. If we can reduce the number of unauthorised sites by encouraging local authorities to provide authorised sites, that will reduce that bill.
Secondly, I know from a letter that I have been passed by the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Wright), that the hon. Lady has been involved in a campaign that some would characterise as scaremongering about compulsory purchase orders in her community. There is no truth in the headlines. There is no requirement for local authorities to compulsorily purchase land for Gypsy or Traveller sites. I would ask, caution and counsel hon. Members to use their words carefully and to temper them when it comes to spreading stories that are factually incorrect.
So here we can see from the statement of a member of the current Labor administration in this country that this member of parliament, the Hon. Lady that Sadiq Khan refers to in his statement would appear to be Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing (Con), and it would further appear from the statement by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that this MP has a record of bending the truth, especially when it comes to the issue, so it seems, of Gypsies and Travellers.
With all what is happening in mainland Europe, primarily in European Union countries, in atrocities committed against the Gypsy population there how long will it be before we have, in this country; similar demonstrations like recently in the Czech Republic and Hungary, if Members of Parliament and local politicians carry on rabble rousing and are inciting the people against the Gypsies in this country?
All across Europe the specter of anti-Gypsy pogroms – and no, pogroms are not predominately against the Jews and never have been – is rearing its ugly head again and in some countries they are, once again, ugly almost daily reality for Gypsies living there. No wonder many of them take the opportunity to come to the slightly better countries such as Britain, for instance.
While, maybe, we should not call for a newspaper, even though to call that rag thus is nauseous, to be banned and censored, the Daily Express should be held to account and it Editor should be fired from a cannon into the farthest away black hole.
However, in recent years this very same smut rag also told us that we were going to be faced by an invasion of Gypsies from Eastern Europe as soon as countries such as Romanian and such were going to be part of the European Union.
It is such a shame that the people still are still prepared to actually pay money for that rag full of lies.
This country has a bad enough record as far as the Romani-Gypsy goes and also, as regards the Irish Travellers – though my concern is with the Romani – throughout history and even in modern times, and not just the case of Gypsies fleeing Nazi persecution on the European Mainland during the Nazi rule in France and such having been sent back to whence they came while other refugees were welcomed with open arms. One set of rules for others and another set for those that are Gypsy. Not much has changed there, really, despite all the talk.
People, especially, still have the same attitudes and those are not helped by the likes of the Daily Express. If calling for a boycott of that rag and a boycott of their offices would have any effect I would do so but...
© M Smith (Veshengro), November 2008