Dale Farm 61

The evictions at Dale Farm are wrong. Eviction – forcibly removing someone from their home – is always a serious evil in itself. It is resorted to far too easily in this country, and is in pretty well every circumstance a far greater evil than the problem it seeks to resolve. That seems to be the case here.

The media has been scarily propaganda laden. We are told that this is green belt land, which will always provoke a strong and justified countryside protection reflex in the middle class. But in truth this was not a site of green fields, but a scrapyard. I very much doubt it will be returned to green fields now. The government meantime has been telling us for months we have to give up green belt so that homes can be built on it. Homes, of course, for nice middle class people. Not these homes.

The media have gone out of their way to promote every old prejudice against travellers – I have seen interviews alleging illegal tipping, dirt, and squalor. I doubt there is a great deal of truth behind these cliches in this case, but if there is some truth, the remedy is not eviction. The media is shrill also that these travellers are members of an extended Irish family, members of which own some property in Ireland. Why that is taken as removing their claim to humane treatment in Essex is something I fail to follow.

The biggest mystery to me is why the travellers wish to live next to such very unpleasant people in Basildon.

A society should not be judged by how it treats those who conform neatly to its regulations and social norms. It should be judged by how it treats minorities who do not so conform. It is a test we are failing.

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61 thoughts on “Dale Farm

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  • adrian

    Craig … utter rubbish . Maybe if you had lived next to these people you could have a expert opinion, but being as you don’t I cannot take you seriously . The majority of travellers will not abide by the rules and regulations of this country . I’m sick of seeing people at the hospital who jump the queue because they have a interpreter or they shout louder . Have these people contributed to my government . No . Please don’t give them anymore support than they already have . Ridiculous .

  • Clark

    To all you people in favour of moving travellers on, are you NIMBYs? What do you suggest as a permanent solution? Or do you just not care so long as crimes committed by travellers happen far away from you?
    Obviously, if people are constantly “moved on” by bailiffs or the police, they have no incentive to behave in a socially responsible manner. They may as well take what they can, as they know that they won’t be allowed to stay for long.
    Conversely, if there are well-established sites, those communities have an incentive to police the less permanent members themselves.

  • crab

    Fair play to them, but they do tend to be more rough and dodgy than average, in my own personal experience, similar to how people from rough settled urban and rural communities can be. Without mincing words it is downright dangerous sometimes interacting with the commonly despised and/or despising. Sure it helps if you are a true Scotsman with brass balls and bravado like Craig. Most people work towards an all too safe and comfortable life, i have this leaning too.
    I love the activists in their tunnels and concrete lock-ins, i know some, and i find they live vibrantly and are inspired for fine principles. They are good guys and gals who take the rough and the spite, and are difficult in return, they are sometimes questionably placed but always agents of humanity.
    Should this group move and be moved from their camping site? Should they be forced to travel? Possibly so, possibly not.

  • julie

    some of these comments are just plain embarrasing. i am a country woman that got married to a traveller and ive got to say that the amount of abuse that the travellers get from country people is staggering.we`ve been attacked, fire bombed, hounded by councils from one county to another and even got ripped from a camp at 6 o clock on a new years day by police.so b4 you all get on your moral high horses just think on that there IS as much bad behaviour coming from people from all walks of life

  • crab

    But Julie, the travelling culture is a rough culture. They are harassed and abused by other rough groups, sometimes by councils and police, and they are all terribly prejudged, and as ever the nice ones recieve the most abuse. But it is a rough culture that the travellers certainly *seem* to have -to many neighbours, and in my own social adventures. For other reasons or principles people are ignoring and denying this, have a go at the middle class nimbys for all their failings instead, but it is often a different argument.

  • Clark

    Siggsy, would you prefer “them” to be exterminated? Or do you think that people in other countries should take in people that you consider “scum”?

  • hello

    What i notice through all this is people are largely ignorant of the bare bone basics of planning law. Development in the absence of a valid permission does not mean the council can automatically bulldoze the joint nor is it even an offence. It can only become an offence if a notice is served and not complied with. Believe it or not, an enforcement notice served solely to remedy the absence of a valid permission is regarded as unreasonable and the council risk having to pay damages if found to be doing so! The council need to prove harm to public amenity or environment which is where the ludicrous green belt argument has come from. The simple answer to the solution is Basildon Council give dale farm planning permission, they refuse which tells me this whole charade has nothing to do with green belt.

    agree with all your comments craig!

  • John

    Setting aside the “rights” of the residants, I fear that if they succeed it will throw the whole subject of planning in our country in disarray. I have been battling to stop my village becoming swamped by over development for years. With ever-changing planning polices, even planning officers now find it difficult to keep track. In our crowded little country we need clear rules. I noted in the recent consultation exercise on providing gypsy/traveller sites that a fifteen year supply was required. However, even the chief of the Gypsy Council admitted that they could not estimate their population for more that three years in the future?

  • Jan

    I live and work very near this area and am sick of the constant abuse from the ‘travelling’ community. I have young children in a school now ruined because their children have NO respect what so ever. The language that comes from their mouth is disturbing. Its shameful to compare the current gypsy plight to black suppression! and completely incorrect.
    I am aware the site was a scrap yard and as such little has been destroyed, but it is principle of the matter…there are rules and regulation to follow. Why should one sector be treated differently to the rest? I can tell you from my own experience NOT the media 1) there is ALOT of illegal activity that goes on in this site and the community as a whole – mainly drug dealing and robbery. 2) A great number of them claim benefits illegally and know the system VERY well for a people that cant read or write (when it suits them). I know this because a very large number of the women claim income support on the grounds they are a lone parent….owww but they continue to have children!!! surely not, because those of us that know the travelling community know this would not happen. The cars these people drive must cost 4/5 X the value of mine…again very suspicious is it not???!!! Why don’t those of you that are so ‘pro’ for want of a better word…offer them a place in your community or garden ? I’m very sure this will open your blinkered do-gooder eyes.

  • Jan

    I would also like to add – Mrjohn, in regards to the stats you detail, Could the disproportionate planning consent be something to do with this?- “The majority of planning submitted by the travelling community or gypsies, is in regards to greenbelt land” I don’t believe most of us submitting our house extension/improvements will be doing so on greenbelt!

    I’m not saying any community should be destroyed …I think there’s alot of culture and history that the travelling community should be proud of… I think the only answer is to allocate land that is NOT greenbelt and suitable and make it available for the community to purchase….They MUST pay for the supplies they use tho..water, electric,TV etc as I do not believe most of them do. If they are in breach of this agreement then they are offered public housing and if they refuse …tough!!! It has to stop somewhere I’m afraid.

  • LEVI


    Fancy driving a Merc?
    Dealing only in cash?
    Flytipping local lanes?
    Paying no taxes?
    Using local schools and hospitals free of charge?
    Running around in a lowloader stealing things out of peoples gardens?
    Doing shoddy tarmac jobs for the elderly at huge prices?
    Ignoring the Local authority planning laws?
    Fancy playing the race card and gaining immunity from the police and anyone else that thinks they are in charge?
    Well first you gotta be a traveller…preferably one with a house in Ireland who has stayed in the same spot for 10 years…secondly I suggest you come and join us at the Dale Farm holiday camp!
    DO AS YOU LIKEY!!!!!

  • Peter

    This is not about race or creed this is purely about THE LAW.

    The “travellers” [who are supposed to travel] are there illegally and should therefore suffer the consequencies
    “Country folk” would not get away with breaking the law why should travellers?

  • Keith

    Wow Levi,
    you must have had some very close dealings with the travelling community. Think it is time they got real and start to think about integrating like everybody else is coersed to do in this multi etnic/multi racial society. I rather fancy the lifestyle myself.
    The curse of the Irish huh?

  • Clark

    It’s amazing how many people seem to think as follows:
    “Travellers are bad people, who do bad things. Therefore, I want to see them evicted.”
    What does this solve? Why do these critics want to displace travellers onto settled people in other areas? Do these critics disrespect settled people in other areas?
    This is why this attitude looks so similar to the racism against Blacks a few decades ago: “They cause all the crime, they should be sent home”. It lumps all members of a particular group together as equally bad. It implies that badness is OK so long as it doesn’t happen here.
    When such prejudice exists, there is no incentive for members of the despised group to behave any better, because they will be judged by who they are, rather than how they behave.

  • rhajid

    As a member of the “Ethnics” I can only agree with a lot of the sentiments expressed here. I think that Clark has some harsh reality to learn. I have had the misfortune to live near Irish travellers on more than one occasion and have witnessed the misery they bring to locals. My family have had to change the way they live which is only to be expected if one wishes to be accepted by this wonderful country. I have lived in many countries and can tell you Clark that these peoples flagrant disregard for the rest of society would not be tolerated in any other. These people have to face up to their bad ways and be seen to be trying.Just making excuses for their attitude and general antisocial behaviour is getting nobody anywhere.

  • Henry

    Yes Clark really does seem to be talking out of the wrong orifice….gives of the whiff of the champagne socialist methinks

  • Clark

    Henry, well thank you very much. Rhajid and Henry, I have not said that the law should not be applied to travellers. Theft, vehicle tax evasion, pollution of the environment etc. are all crimes which can and should be applied to travellers as much as to anyone else.
    Collective punishment is inherently wrong. I will not support the eviction of a community to punish theft or other crimes by members of that community. Collective punishment provides no incentive for good personal behaviour. It powerfully stimulates a sense of injustice, alienation and bitterness. It thereby locks in the problem you wish to see solved. Well, I hope you wish to solve it, and you’re not just looking for vengeance.
    Prosecute theft under the theft laws, violence under the violence laws. It is wrong to use planning laws to punish sundry unrelated crimes. Injustice breeds injustice, so the authorities must set a good example.

  • Clark

    Let’s get to the point here. How many people would like to see the entire population of Dale Farm exterminated by the state? What method do you suggest? Zyklon B?

  • Clark

    Come on, you’ve accused me of talking out of my arse, my question has been posted for hours now. You favour eviction for theft, eviction for bad social behaviour, eviction for not paying tax, but you’ve never said where to evict them to. If the next place they go also favours eviction, then you all need to get together and demand extermination. That’s just logical. Or I suppose you could draw up a rota.

  • Pauline

    OMG Clarke,
    what an awful suggestion. Nobody has even inferred such a thing. Are you actually looking at the same posts I am? These are all very reasonable doubts fears and some solutions expressed by ordinary people.
    If these travellers were a little less antisocial and tried to behave in a reasonable manner then this blog would not be necessary.
    I too speak from the bitter experience of these people on more than one ocassion. The elephant in the room is out Clark!
    You clearly have no idea of the problems these people bring with their behaviour and you clearly do not understand the majorities concerns. These peopole need to earn respect through example, and maybe then they would not be in this position. Why do you think you are so right? You come out with that riduclous and quite disgusting statement.The sort of thing a child would do when they are on the end of a lost argument/discussion.
    Grow up Clark.

  • Ray

    Oh dear Clark,
    stop throwing the toys out and get back in the perambulator.I thought a good location where their anti social behaviour would not be noticed might be the Mongolian steppes or alternatively The Burren in Ireland or even the Mid Highlands of scotland.
    Alternatively they could take up the offer of rehousing, and start being responsible citizens.
    Xylone B, Extermination ….LMFAO if it was not such a bad taste comment.

  • Clark

    OK, thanks for the insults. If these people are so helplessly bad, how is rehousing suddenly going to solve this? Once they’re rehoused, if their behaviour doesn’t improve, are you all going to start calling for eviction again? Back to square one.
    You don’t solve a problem by moving it elsewhere; you just dump it on someone else. So maybe none of you care about that “someone else”.
    Ray, the places you’ve chosen barely support life; that’s why there’s hardly anyone living in those places. Are you sure you don’t favour extermination? Zyklon B would seem more humane than slow starvation.
    Why are you all so keen on eviction? What is wrong with proper enforcement of appropriate laws for the crimes you’re alleging? Why do you favour collective punishment? Do you realise that collective punishment is contrary to international law?
    Far from me having lost my argument, you have completely failed to engage with it, choosing to insult me instead. Maybe you all need to be evicted, so you learn to show some respect…
    You people should face the fact that you’ve leaped onto a popular eviction bandwagon, and that really you need to re-think.

  • Emma

    Clarke…if they moved to the places suggested they could move their anti social arses and would only bother themselves…what a treat!
    You could move in with them and help them complain.
    I know that if I acted like that I would be grateful for twonks like you.
    You are misled misfed and totally miss the salient points! You fit in well.

  • Mary

    [Moderator: this is not the same Mary as Mary who comments here regularly.]
    The problem here mirrors the Traveller-settled society problems. I think some of the Travellers actions noted here (littering, theiving etc) are a type of resistance, a reaction and response to abusive treatment from settled society. Both groups are subject to abuse and maltreatment by each other, and the arguments are cyclic and neverending. But that doesn’t make any of these actions okay.
    I grew up with Travellers in Ireland and still know many families and, while I don’t know them as friends or confidents, I am treated fine. All Travellers aren’t the same, but they are a community who choose to maintain a distance from settled society so it’s easy to see why they are all tarred with one brush, so to speak. I do think they are a different ethnic group, and their world view is very different that settled society’s – sometimes it seems to be similar to that of a pre-renaissance worldview (and that’s not a negative comment), regardless forcing them to conform to settled society is not the answer. However they can’t keep drawing on public finances without agreeing to contribute in some manner.

    What the big problem is that in the UK and in Ireland there is a complete lack of leadership. No one in government wants to deal with this problem. In the 60s the Irish thought they could force Travellers to conform, and it made the situation between the two groups worse. What is needed is representatives from all sides to come together and begin to address the issues.

  • Jazzed

    Hello – I am outraged; at these squatters! I live in a legal park home. I have a gypsy park owner who bullies the old and infirm; and steals from them in as many ways as he can. The people on this park; pay taxes – have a legal right to benefits / education etc..

    What if we all said – screw it – why should I pay pitch rates here; why should I pay taxes on land I don’t own – why should I stay here and throw good money after bed????

    I think I’ll have a meting on the park here; and there is a farm just down the road – not all that far. Rather a nice location – good view – hell; he’ll hire a bloke to come in and relocate us all to this farmers field…after all; it is pretty much we have here, now!

    Then; up we go; and wait – there is another park a few miles on – they don’t want to pay taxes; nor support themselves – and hey; free is free – so the farmer has more fields; and hell; there are a number of farms by them – oh wait; in town; there are many in council flats – some one over them; some one under them – let’s go to the country – any green place will suit us!!

    BUT; the difference between THOSE people and the rest of us is; 1) we abide by the rules; the local and federal laws; 2) we may not like paying our taxes – BUT we do pay them; 3) you don’t get something for nothing…unless you are a traveler; 4) their children – what are their parents telling them – laws you get to pick and chose – those you don’t like ignore; those which suit you – use???5) if the governments do not impose the written laws on these people; then they should expect anarchy – here and all over the UK!!!!

    It is not on law for them; and another for the rest of us? How about paying 10 years back taxes with interest; 10 years back water bills with tax – return any and all social benefits – as they don’t legally live in Basildon; then they don’t get – return them all with interest!!!

    Travelers – excuse me; BUT if you are stationary; with established roots – yuou aren’t a traveler!!!!!

    What do you think; all over the UK and Europe other travelers are doing? They are waiting for the UK governments to allow this one bunch a foot in the door – and then the rest will use it as a precedence to get further free / unpaid and untaxed sites all over the UK and Europe!!

    Stand up; add your voice to Basildon’s!!!!

  • Sam Albayat

    A great piece of writing. Very neat.
    I support the travellers.
    They are the misunderstood bunch. They are minority; because of their life-style; their love of being free and not tied up to a particular spot or land forever often bring them confrontation with authorities. We were all travellers. This is how we all lived, moving from one place that did not suit to another more suited many thousands of years ago. This is how people moved and spread all over the globe.

    This is how a lot of people of desert live, and a lot of people in many Asian countries and indigenous people old America just a few hundreds of years ago, before Europeans moved there, lived.

    The best and simple solution (which is already mentioned) is that the government to take a note of this occasion and legislate to have sites all over the country that cater for travellers. After all wealthy people seem to have their holiday resort sites full of caravans sorted; on top of their second homes all over the country,. Only in their case there are no problems with planning permissions etc; and they do not come across in conflict with authorities because they bring in the money! While the travellers problem or the problem with them, they are often not wealthy enough to buy in expensive, well planned areas; and therefore, resort to buy cheap land outside the boundaries; and come in conflict with residents nearby and prejudicial authorities because of their negative reputation. While majority of people of travellers are law-abiding like in any mix of people, some do go against some laws and give the rest of them bad name. That scrapyard might turn into Tesco one day soon! The planning permission to build Tescos seem to be so easily obtained, green, brown, orange or any other colours of land. They pop-up everywhere outside towns!

    Please read my tweets @SamAlbayat

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