Travellers and Human Rights from Amanda Platell

October 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Amanda Platell on the ‘real’ victims of Dale Farm

One of the ruses employed by travellers to remain on the site was to claim that their children had a human right to an education at the local school.

But the truth is that the influx of traveller children put such a strain on Crays Hill Primary that all the other local children were withdrawn by their parents. The headteacher and the board of governors also resigned.

Today, the 110-strong school register is made up almost entirely of travellers, with the exception of three pupils.

oh noes! Not the dreaded ‘Human Rights’!

Platell finishes with this…

The tragedy is that while the gipsy children have been given their precious ‘human right’ to an education, the children of Basildon tax- payers have scandalously been denied their right to one.

How have these brave Basildonians been denied their right to an education? The kids haven’t been told to fuck off to another school to make way for traveller children. The parents may have removed their kids from a school but if they haven’t made sure they get in to another then they are the ones denying their kids an education, not the travellers.

As for the standard of education at Crays Hill Primary, with so many poorly performing pupils, there must be some sort of help it could’ve got. I don’t know how these things work, as with many things, but there must be something.

Amanda Platell. Going for the easy targets of Human Rights and the people who need them most.


Travelling without moving

July 27th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

There is a story in the Guardian about some Gypsies and travellers that are going to be evicted from thier homes.

I feel a bit dirty writing this post as it feels very right-wing to me, but there are themes that keep coming up when this happens. This isn’t a comment on this specific case.

A number of Gypsies and Travellers have lived at Dale Farm entirely legally since the 1960s.

Gypsies have been there since the sixties or some specific individual Gypsies have been there since the sixties? Either way, if they have been there for forty-odd years, why are they being evicted now? Surely the legal process isn’t *that* long winded.

But the land the newcomers bought at Dale Farm is protected greenbelt, making development on it illegal. After a five-year court battle with the council, bailiffs have been appointed to evict nearly 90 families from the unauthorised plots.

First of all, if there have been Gypsies there since the sixties, they’re hardly ‘newcomers’.
It’s greenbelt, nobody is allowed to develop it. although others are probably subtler at getting round the planning laws. How long has the area been greenbelted? When was the land bought? If the Gypsies were there before is became a designated greenbelt area, surely they can be exempted or at least given some sort of leway.

a 69-year-old grandmother who has lived at Dale Farm with her family for eight years.

Eight years on one site? Isn’t she supposed to be a traveller?

The Travellers say planning laws are biased against them, and that they have nowhere else to go. “There are some really sick people here who can’t go back on the road,” McCarthy says. “Without an address you can’t get doctors, our kids can’t go to school. The camps we used to pull in to have been closed and barricaded up. Travelling life is finished for Travellers.”

Are planning laws really biased or do gypsies just pick unsuitable land? If a housing development isn’t allowed in a greenbelt area, why should an estate for travellers be allowed? I’m not going to generalise and say *all* the sites where gypsies settle are turned into housing estates, but some are, with bungalows and mobile homes.

You can get a doctor without an address and if you travel around your kids will miss school. If you want your kids to have a good education and you’re not up to home schooling (this isn’t a slight, god knows I couldn’t do it) then maybe you have to sacrifice something, perhaps not travelling might be an idea.

Unfortunately the loss of pitches is very real, due to the loss of common land and possibly land owners, due to the behaviour of a small minority, not wanting to risk being unable to get travellers off the land again or the devastation that they leave behind when they do move on.

Just one square mile of land would be enough to provide all Gypsy and Traveller families in the UK with a place to stay, according to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, but there is a shortage of authorised pitches. The government, however, has just cut £30m of funding for new sites.

If you choose to move around and not settle in one place, you put yourself at the risk of whoever owns the land you want to stop on, unless you own the land yourself. Even then you have to abide the law. Is there any difference between a traveller buying a plot of land on a greenbelt to develop and a non-traveller that buys a plot of land to build a house on? Not really. In fact, non at all.
I am not going to say anything about the government funding of pitches as this could be equated to the provision of council housing.

“They’ll just keep moving us on from other places, so what good will they have done anyone by putting us out of here?” McCarthy asks. “Everybody has to have somewhere to live, somewhere to go. Why can’t we be left to stay in peace and quiet on land we bought and paid for?”

Yes, everyone has to have somewhere to live, but if the plots bought for development were picked with a bit more thought or research maybe developing them wouldn’t be a problem and the gypsies wouldn’t get into such confrontations.

Lord Adonis, help us, please!

December 23rd, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

OUTRAGED travellers demanded last night that Transport Secretary Lord Adonis return from holiday to tackle the UK’s travel nightmare.
The Cabinet minister had sloped off to a luxury Alpine skiing holiday in Austria while Britons slid and shivered on roads, railways and airport floors.

The above piece isn’t exactly a lie, which is why I’m posting here rather than at The Sun Lies, except that maybe travellers, although outraged, aren’t demanding Lord Adonis cut short his christmas holiday, as most probably didn’t even realise he was on holiday. The reader doesn’t find out, no travellers are quoted in the article, only bods from organisations and the like.

What has pee’d me off about this article is the way that the Sun starts off screaming about Lord Adonis ‘sloping’* off for a ski holiday while the country grinds to a halt.

*From the Suns’ position, that is a fantastic pun. Not only does it fit with Adonis going on the piste**, but it aslo goes with the sneaky, useless Labour government narrative.

**apologies for that one.

The next paragraph carries on the narrative by introducing the bumbling sidekick…

Lord Adonis, 46, left his hapless deputy Sadiq Khan to face the avalanche of fury over cancellations, delays and the road gritting shambles.

That’s the groundwork for the piece laid down: the boss has snuk (sneaked?) off and left his bumbling deputy to cope.
Naturally the shadow local government minister is gonna have pop and say that Adonis should come back, via airports that are closed, to help out with a shovel and a bag of grit.

Once all that is set up there follows a great long list of things that have happened because of the cold, as if it’s Lord Adonis’ fault:

Nine people have died during the cold snap as temperatures plunged to as low as -16C in some parts of the UK.

Two women were killed and almost 50 injured when a coach overturned on icy roads in Cornwall late last night.

In Northamptonshire Paul Litchfield, 30, and Philip Sturridge, 42, drowned as they tried to rescue their pet Labrador from a frozen lake near Ringstead.

Adonis should’ve been handing out thermal underwear, and called the bus company to tell them not to send the driver out and gone onto the frozen lake himself instead of making those two chaps go out on the thin ice themselves to rescue a fucking dog.

In Sale, Greater Manchester, recovery worker Denis Livesly, 60, was killed as he attended to a car in a snowstorm on the M60 motorway.

Malcolm Brown, 32, was also killed in Basingstoke, Hampshire, when a deer smashed through his windscreen during a blizzard.

On the island of Lewis 35-year-old electrician Donald Martin froze to death after locking himself out of his home after a Christmas party.

How could Adonis have prevented Mr Livesly from dying? Deers are a nightmare whatever the weather, is it Adonis’ fault Donald Martin didn’t have the sense to smash a window to get back in his home?

There’s more stories about people trying to save their dogs and people dying after slipping on ice and aeroplanes slipping off the end of runways and trains and the Royal Mail and Asda and Eurostar and roads and… and… and…

If only Lord Adonis was here. The country would be able to stop being so shit at bad weather.

Equality in the NHS

June 19th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

The BNP are making wild inaccurate claims again. Apparently travellers of various sorts are treated much better than British people…

At least half of all Gypsies and Travellers in Britain are Romany in origin and are officially placed above indigenous British people in a range of National Health Services, according to an official guideline.

The shocking anti-British document emerged in the wake of anti-Gypsy violence in Belfast following months of criminal activity by the Romanian Gypsy community which drove local people to the breaking point

So in the wake of anti Gipsy violence, because they’re all thieves, naturally *rolls eyes*, the BNP are helping to keep the sentiment going.

The BNP site quotes an NHS pamphlet, Primary Care Services Framework: Gypsies & Travellers, which they also shoot there own foot with by providing to a link to a copy they host, and they start off with…

states that many of these “Roma Communities” are recent arrivals, and “possibly comprise half of all Gypsies and Travellers” in England.

According to the NHS, there are up to 300,000 Gypsies and Travellers in Britain in total, which means that there are possibly 150,000 Romany Gypsies living here.

This is indeed nearly true. The pamphlet does say that half of the Gypsies and Travellers in Britain are possibly Roma Gipsies. The 300,000 figure is also mentioned but only as an upper figure for how many travellers and Gypsies are in Britain. That figure might also be as low as 120,000. Nobody really knows any better than that because the 2001 census didn’t count Travellers & Gypsies as a separate ethnic grouping. Which obviously means that the amount of Roma Gipsies could be as low as 60,000.

Under race relations legislation, Romany Gypsies are defined as minority ethnic groups and this forces the NHS to consider their “needs and circumstances” when meeting their general and specific duties under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.

Just like any other ethnic minority. As it should be.

Along come some bullet points. Makes it nice and simple for the knuckle-draggers…

In practice, the NHS document says, this means the following:

* Gypsies must be “fast tracked” when being provided with NHS services. This means they must be seen before any other patients, even if the indigenous patients have been there earlier or have prior appointments;

There is a recommendation that there should be a policy of not turning away a Traveller or Gypsie that attends a GP without an appointment. There is not a compulsion to, and it certainly doesn’t mean they must be seen straight away before anybody else. In reality, the Traveller could be left to wait until the end of the day.

Doctors have been told to see any Gypsy who walks into a surgery, even if all consultation times for the day are full

What the guidelines incourage, is for the local surgery to register Gypsies and Travellers that are local, on various sites and not to de-register them so quickly, so that a better health record can be built up. The pamphlet also says that when the surgery has got the trust of the Traveller that they will travel a considerable distance to see their doctor. The whole point of this exercise with the NHS is because Gypsies and Travellers do not visit the doctor very often and to try and change that so that the standard of health of these people improves from being the lowest of the English speaking ethnic minorities. The chances of a Gypsie walking in to any surgery is, I would say, pretty slim.

Gypsies are also to be fast tracked for nurses and dental appointments

The pamphlet says nothing about dental and nurse appointments. The BNP have split these types of care from the word ‘surgery’ used in the pamphlet, to mean all types of treatment that is non-emergency type of health problem including visits to the dentist and nurse.

Gypsies must be given 20 minute consultations (in comparison to native British peoples’ five or ten minutes) and must be allowed to bring relatives into the consulting rooms

Again, there is that word ‘must’. Nowhere in this document does it say ‘must’ (except for one instance where the document talks about when a surgery must de-register a patient. Page 28). Practices should give longer consultations. That is generally because the Travellers will ask for another family member to be seen. This request should be accepted within reason.
This is a Good Thing as it enables the doctor to “improve the screening status of potentially vulnerable patients”.

NHS staff are given “mandatory cultural awareness” training so they can fully understand what it is like to be a Traveller or Gypsy

OK. The Nazis have really got in a mix with this one. From the pamphlet…

PCTs’ with Gypsy and Traveller communities should consider including cultural awareness training as part of their regular mandatory training for all new and existing staff.

Still no compulsion. In the mandatory training that everyone gets, cultural awareness training should be considered. It doesn’t even say it should be included. It should just be considered.

The BNP then go on a little rant…

The NHS document tries to justify this blatant anti-British policy by claiming that Gypsies suffer from greater health problems than indigenous British people.

… and quote from the pamphlet about the poor the health is of Gypsies and Travellers but offer no rebuttal of any type to back up their implied claim that the Travelling community don’t suffer greater health problems that ‘true Brits’.

And they finish off with…

The implication of the document is that Primary Care Trusts will be breaking the Human Rights Act and the Race Relations Act of 2000 if they do not discriminate against British people in the ways suggested.

I suppose if you’re paranoid in that way, it could. But the whole tone of the guidelines is just that, a guide. A guide to help make it easier to make an unhealthy section of society healthier.

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