38 thoughts on “Distraction

1 2
  • Sue

    If our politicians had kept their noses out of other people’s countries in their search for “black gold” and warmongering arms deals, we would not have this problem.

  • Vronsky

    I rather thought it was the other way round. Wars and incursions everywhere, but this morning (0600) ITV and BBC both (coincidentally of course) chose Dale Farm as lead story. And there was that wonderfully timely story yesterday about travelling people keeping slaves – I bet they eat hamsters too.

  • 21

    In the morning to you Craig,

    & to all readers of your mostly excellent blog, For those whod like a brilliant explanation of the nothing to see here,ooooh look at that news agenda, id like to recommend a Podcast that covers Real news. Those that follow you or have arrived at your site by other means & would like to hear how were blatantly lied to & misdirected by our media ( see anything on the bbc about wall street this weekend)? Then head to No Agenda,Real News. An interview would be very good Craig about how they wont allow you on mainstream media is IMHO needed.

  • Parky

    From accounts this morning the arrests of the “Terrorists” were made without the use of guns, maybe because it wasn’t the Met carrying out the task. No doubt they will be let off soon when no evidence can be found that would stand up in court. But at least these arrests averted the risk to the public, so that’s alright then. I would feel much safer if there were tanks permanently stationed in every town and city centre as well as at the airports and sea ports. You can’t be too safe and better that than sorry after the event.

  • mary

    Now seven arrested according to the BBC.
    Seven held in Birmingham anti-terror operation Specialist police teams are now searching properties in the city
    Six men and a woman have been arrested in Birmingham in a large anti-terrorism operation, West Midlands Police say.
    The men, aged between 25 and 32, are being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.
    The woman, 22, is held on suspicion of failing to disclose information contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000.
    The arrests are thought to be the most significant this year, BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said.
    It is understood the investigation, which has involved security service MI5, relates to suspected Islamist extremism.
    But the arrests are not thought to be related to the Liberal Democrats’ conference which is taking place at the city’s International Convention Centre.

    and Margaret Moran appears in court on charges of illegally obtaining £80,000 !! in expenses. Do these MPs get charged if the alleged theft was large. What about the husband and wife duos, Kirkbride and MacKay and Ann and Alan Keen, the duck house merchant Sir Peter Viggers and Anthony Steen in Totnes, Devon to name just a few of the troughers caught out?
    How about the hat and and hankie camouflage?

  • John Edwards

    I doubt whether these arrests in the West Midlands have any relation to the evictions in Essex. The only reason anyone has heard of Basildon is that it used to be one of the first results declared in general elections.

    It is best to reserve judgement on whether the arrested individuals were involved in terrorism until they are charged or released.

  • craig Post author

    John Edwards

    Less than 5% of terrorism arrests result in conviction, and about half of those are overturned on appeal. Wait as long as you like….

  • Clark

    “The only reason anyone has heard of Basildon is that it used to be one of the first results declared in general elections.”
    Local joke news report: “A small thermonuclear device exploded in Basildon town centre earlier today. Initial reports suggest that it did almost £2.50 worth of damage.”

  • John Goss

    The disturbing thing about these arrests is that those arrested can be held for 14 days without being charged.
    I’m cynical about whether Uzbekistan cotton will find another route to the High Street, perhaps through Pakistan, or India, or even Russia, in with their own cotton exports.

  • Azra

    As much as I hate racism , I have had two very unfortunate experience with the travelers. The one which really shocked me, was at the local restaurant where there is a eat as much as you can buffet for about 8 quid. about 30 of them ate there, coming and going and eating. Then one of them stood up and said I am settling the bill now, and gave the waiter £ 30. The owner came and said no, it is £ 8 per person, and the guy got so aggressive, and then they all got up and left. The other one when a group of them camped at at filed nearby and within the time they were there, there was a series of break in in our town (crime rate normally one of the lowest int eh country. so in a way I can understand why most people do not want them as neighbors! All the same I think it is a tragedy for them to be evicted.

  • adrian

    Mr Edwards your quite right, Mr Murray let’s wait and see and let’s hope that they’re wrong to arrest these individuals . But if they have stopped innocent victims from harm should you be so quick to be so dismisive ?

  • John Goss

    In the West-Riding/North Notts’ mining-village in which I lived from seven to twelve years old, there were some huts which had been used by the army during the war. Travellers had settled in them and they became known as the “squatters’ huts”. Eventually all of the settlers were provided with houses and the “squatters huts” demolished. But I think the move was their choice, rather than them being forced to move.
    One of the lads from the squatter’s huts could not read or write, but his knowledge of nature was second to none, as was his ability to whittle wood for many purposes. We looked up to him in many ways. He once pointed out to us a nest in some nettles. “That’s a nettle-peggy’s nest, that is”. A nettle-peggy was not a bird I had heard of but the whitethroat was. What I did not know was that it often builds its nest in nettles, and is also know in some places as a Peggy whitethroat.
    We can learn a lot from people who have had different upbringings, and different ways of life. I sympathise with Azra’s bad experiences. Having cycled through Romania twice I have had some unpleasant pesterings and even theft at the hands of some of the gypsies. I don’t condone it but I realise they are very poor, and if they can get something to fall off the back of your bike, they will try. Gypsy camps in Romania can be found along many of the rivers. Theirs is a different way of life with different traditions and cultures. And different traditions and cultures add something to the spice of life. What right have we to tamper with their rights? They don’t in Romania (yet). But they have a bad press there too. Eventually all travelling people may well be integrated into this lauded society, which has a multiplicity of faults, just as the squatters were in Harworth. And some documentary will take up their cause when it is too late. What happened to the lost encampment at Basildon? Because Amazonian tribes don’t share our culture or our way of life, they are just as entitled to their tax-free existence. But governments don’t like that. Or they have nothing with which to pay for their wars.

  • 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.

  • nuid

    Obama cozies up to Central Asian dictator [Karimov]
    “Prompted by the current crisis in U.S.-Pakistani relations, the Obama administration has reportedly shifted supply lines to rely even more on the Central Asian corridor. And in an effort to improve relations with Uzbekistan, it is now asking Congress to OK military aid to that country, over the furious objections of human rights groups. Several groups signed a strongly worded letter to senators this week, asking that they turn down the administration’s requests for aid …”
    Continues at http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/17/obama-cozies-central-asian-dictator

  • OldMark

    ‘What do you suggest as a permanent solution?’

    In the case of Irish travellers (as in the Dale Farm squatters) it is not incumbent on the UK government, or UK Council taxpayers, to suggest, fund or facilitate any ‘solution’ to their housing problems here.

    Many expat Brits living in Spain have discovered their homes were built without relevant permissions being obtained, and have been rendered homeless as a result. AFAIK the Spanish authorities haven’t lifted a finger to assist them.

    The appropriate response of the UK authorities to the Dale Farm squatters, if the evictions proceed, should be guided by this Spanish precedent.

    The Dale Farm squatters are playing to the gallery at the moment, courtesy of their designated victim group status, which Craig, on the evidence of his last two posts, clearly buys into.

  • Fedup

    Nothing wrong with equal opportunity racism practiced, so long as nothing is said or done about Jews, then all is well.

    The farcical arrests of the “Tayrrerrrrists” (shades of $hrubBu$h) in Birmingham can be interpreted as hapless Police besieged by the criminals, and making no progress, seek to boost their feel good factor through arresting some “Musluams” whom are trying to impose “Sharia Language” and “Sharia things, and stuff” on our values etc. (mind at least this time there were unarmed officers, without the accompanying seventy two fire engines, and one hundred and fifty ambulances, austerity is biting deep!)

    Well seems the fascists have finally put aside all pretenses, and are engaged in a bit of ethnic/gypsy cleansing, I suppose there is no chance of being spared the usual tradition on Hitler’s Birthday this year by the looks of it. Hence we can look forward to be subjected to yet another barrage of Enoch Powell and his rivers of thingy speech, day.

    Meanwhile back in reality, China is dumping the US treasury bonds, and starting to buy up real goods instead. How is that for a vote of confidence on the recently down rated US debt? How will this move affect Osborne’s austerity package? Will it mean we the people getting the shaft, even more than before, without the solace of so much as a reach around?

  • Dick the Prick

    With regards to Dale Farm, i’m minded of an episode of Rab C Nesbit where Rab swaps families with a Tory MP (can’t remember why – maybe Wife Swap or something). On an evening he’s chatting with the Tory children and they ask him ‘what’s it like to be working class?’ to which Rab replies ‘Oh no Doll, i’m no’ working class, i’m genuine scum’. Made me laugh anyway – been saying it for years. Craig, big heart you’ve got there fella but Pikeys are Pikeys and if you can fuck ’em, then fuck ’em.

  • ingo

    Thanks for sharing your past experiences here John Goss, very goods point never raised. The travelling community is an example for showing us how to live with a little less, how to help ourselves with simple ideas and inventions and how to keep information alive.
    Did they tell you how to cook Hotchi witchi John? If not, try this recipe book, veggies beware.

    Rather than chasing them from town to town using our preciously expensive police forces and creating insecurity, hassle and court appearances at every turn, we should open up a little and and learn from them, as they learn from us.
    Their children need schooling and by law this has to happen, since veryone mentions the law.

    Planning law has never been part of the human rights act, nor are the upholding of ‘law and order’ concerns by pious Basildon councillor Ball and his con. MP.

    To compare Spanish ex pats, some who ran away from the law with very unsavoury histories and a current phenomena in spanish towns since the 1970’s, with a problem here, one that has existed as long as time has recorded Gypsy’s travelling, is a whimsical comparison.

    These people will not go away adn we will have to live with them and their children in future, so why are these little Englanders unable to deal with it more pragmatically?

  • John Goss

    Ingo, thanks for the frugal recipes. Vegetarianism is another way of how “to live with a little less” but I’ve only been a vegetarian for 35 years, and back in those days rabbit-stew was commonplace until our Australian cousins introduced myxomatosis. It’s true we can learn a lot from people with special knowledge. As a toolmaker I learnt skills which future generations will probably have no need to know about. To acquire these skills took five years (two years longer than my bachelors’ degree).

    One of my English friends, who goes to my church, is a gypsy. She has the most beautiful voice, and to hear her sing “Summer Time” or “Can’t help lovin’ that man of mine” is something special, and something I have been privileged to hear. That man of hers, Tony, is also a gypsy, with a gold ear-ring in one ear. They were married three years ago. But Tony is ill in hospital, with cancer and heart and lung disease. There are some who would like to see our NHS privatised, and people like Tony, who smiles through all his troubles, would then have great difficulty in securing treatment. But the main point is this. We are all human beings, we feel compassion for those we love, and try to help our loved ones and our community, especially at times of stress and distress. This is what the travellers at Dale Farm and their supporters are doing now. They might not all be angels, and they might not all have angelic voices, but they are all human beings and one day each of them is going to die. Up to that time it would be good if they could enjoy their home comforts like the rest of us in this country.

  • lesley


    we can all produce stories about how individuals from different groups have behaved badly but to extrapolate a general theory on the awfulness of an entire group of people would be quite wrong – although it happens all the time – fed by our delightful media.

    it used to be the case that local authorities were obliged by law to provide sites for Gypsies and travellers (although not all did and it was barely enforced). Thatcher’s lot put paid to that in the 80’s which brings us to where we are now.

    my experience, for what it’s worth, when I had travellers as neighbours was that they were a mixed bunch, like the rest of us, some good, one or two not so good but mostly they were fine.

  • Clark

    Oldmark, some people wish to live a nomadic life, as travellers. Are you saying that this should be prevented? There is very clear prejudice against travellers.
    If the travelling life is not to be banned, some allowances must be made for it to proceed. It’s no good pointing at the part of Dale Farm that has transgressed the planning laws. Firstly, the planning authorities are biased against travellers, just because a random sample of settled people would prove similarly biased, as these two threads make clear. Secondly, with such widespread, institutionalised bias, there is nowhere for these people to move to.
    Travellers have traditionally been involved with recycling, as scrap merchants, “rag-and-bone men”, etc, before settled society realised it was creating a huge waste disposal problem and set up “official” recycling scams, sorry, schemes. Consider dung beetles, which help manage other species waste; not very glamorous and many people dislike them, but they stop the shit building up and you’d be extremely foolish to drive them to extinction.
    I used to go to the Stonehenge Free Festival. It was an amazing demonstration of self-organisation of community. People have written that if Dale Farm is permitted to continue it will lead to “anarchy”. People seem to think of “anarchy” as hordes of people fighting and robbing each other. In fact, the term means “without leader”, just as “monarchy” means “lead by a single ruler”.
    Anything you needed could be found at Stonehenge festival. If you wanted your radio fixed, or your vehicle required some welding, ask around and you’d find someone. People helped each other! There was occasional trouble, but nowhere near as bad as many football matches, or many clubs at closing time.
    The state had to stop the Stonehenge festival because it so clearly demonstrated that people could organise and regulate themselves without the need of corporations, security companies or state authorities.

  • John Goss

    Clark, you make good points, especially about the recycling. In my boyhood we used to have a man come round the village sharpening knives and garden tools. He had a bicycle which had a grindstone attached to it. When he engaged the grindstone he could turn it by pedalling. The rag-and bone-man paid children with balloons on a stick. The bones were boiled down to make glue. When I started making my own paper I realised how important it was in the past to collect rags. It is a pity that jeans, when they develop holes, are not collected now because, apart from leather logos and the like, they are 100% cotton. Cotton makes the finest paper and since 1992 I’ve made paper from cannabis, hops and a whole host of other natural plant fibres including my jeans.

  • Grant

    Lesley wrote

    “we can all produce stories about how individuals from different groups have behaved badly but to extrapolate a general theory on the awfulness of an entire group of people would be quite wrong – although it happens all the time – fed by our delightful media.”

    As stated in a previous thread my dislike of travellers (they can not be described as gypsies) has been gained from personal encounters over nearly a 30 year period. The most recent was about 18 month’s ago when I interrupted one trying to break into my house.

1 2

Comments are closed.