Ahh Dale Farm, just the mere mention of the name and the machete’s are out. The stream of vile, murderous invective on the #dalefarm Tweet stream had to be read to be believed. Fool that I am I made a comment, well, I was avoiding getting down to work.
I was then (obviously) the recipient of a stream of tweets criticizing me, yes, it was the normal stuff, ‘you live in a media bubble,’ ‘come and join the real world’ and ‘it’s different for ordinary people like us, we live near them.’
Well, as I am currently writing a comedy autobiography, (out 2013) I’ll do a little preview. From 1975 to ‘78 I lived in a three ton furniture truck. I was a traveler. Admittedly a nice tidy middle class one. I never left busted fridges by the side of the road, but during that time I did meet a great many people who lived ‘on the road.’
Some of them were nothing short of bloody terrifying. Really scary blokes with bad tats, worse hairstyles and a moronic attitude to women. A few equally frightening women with bleached hair and white high heels who could push a loaded transit van out of a ditch with no assistance.
I also met some of the kindest and gentlest people I’ve ever known who lived in caravans, lived by a set of rules the rest of use would find alien and confusing.
In the period since I sold my truck and lived in a house, those people were systematically hounded off the road. A lot of them settled in towns near where I live. There are plenty of problems associated with them, lots of petty crime, tax dodging, violence. Probably no more than in any other community but it happens and I make no excuses for them.
So I never condoned what the people living, apparently illegally on the Dale Farm camp were doing. They had lost the court case after a very prolonged legal battle with the local authorities. They should not have resisted the eviction with violence, they should not have thrown bricks at the police. I don’t support violence like that, never have, never will.
All I did was suggest that the hate speech pouring over Twitter like a cup of cold sick was fairly unpleasant. There were lots of ‘reasonable’ people trying to explain that these people had broken the law, that they wanted the benefits of our society and yet didn’t pay tax or abide by the rules the rest of us have to.
Do those accusations remind you of anyone?
Let me give you a clue. The people I’m thinking of don’t live in caravans, they do, like many traveler families, own large a garish vehicles. The people I’m thinking about also don’t pay tax, they claim the same rights and protection the rest of us do but they’re not prepared to pay for it. They don’t abide by the laws that 99% would think were quite reasonable, sensible and well balanced. They pay people in power to turn a blind eye to their short sighted greed and stupidity. They are addicted to gambling and arrange things so that when they loose big time, we have to pay for their mistakes.
The group of people I’m talking about cost this country many billions of pounds, they loose billions and then get paid millions for the effort. They bribe the government to protect them, they hire the best lawyers and they are quite literally laughing all the way from the bank, which is where they work.
Evicting the Dale Farm people, everybody kept reminding me they can’t be travelers because they don‘t move, apparently cost the local council something like £80 million. That’s what numerous reports have stated, I think it’s probably less than that, but without doubt it will have cost millions. Is that a sensible way to spend money at the moment?
Of course many people believe it is. “Throw them out, they’re all criminals, they must be. We don’t need proof, we’ve seen them, they steal anything they can get their filthy hands on.”
Oh wait, that used to said about black kids, and before that Pakistanis, and before that Jews, and before that Huguenots, and before that, frikkin’ Vikings.
We spent billions bailing out the banks, giving money to the richest few thousand people in Europe who had lost billions through their own greedidity, (that’s a combination of greed and stupidity, make it trend)
There will, without question have be some people living at Dale Farm who none of us would want arriving at our door. I don’t live in some cosseted, gated ‘luvvie’ community, I’ve had stuff stolen by people who live in caravans. It’s not fun, I don’t feel benign towards the individuals concerned. I don’t think we should be all lily-livered and try to ‘understand’ some thuggish bloke who ignores the law and turns to violence if he doesn’t get his way.
But I know, from experience and plain common sense, that not all the people who had lived at Dale Farm until today would have been like that, and they’ve been treated in the most brutal and frightening way.