Where do you belong? Where are you from? Where is home? As the residents of Dale Farm have found, such questions are deeply political.In the case of most of those ‘residents’, the answers are ‘not here’, ‘next door’ and ‘Rathkeale’, respectively…
In an age when we have become intoxicated by the technologies that shrink space – now we are able to communicate immediately with almost anyone anywhere in the world – it has become all too easy to belittle or overlook the geographical identities that motivate us. Yet politicians can have a tin ear to the passions that place provokes. In the Dale Farm case, one councillor was quoted as saying that they could move to some free pitches in St Helens, several hundred miles away in the north-west. Try saying that to the outraged residents of Buckinghamshire running a vigorous campaign against the high speed rail link: you can always move.Yes, you read that right; Madeleine sees no difference whatsoever between illegal building on greenbelt land and legal householders fighting to stop an unnessary building development that will see them moved off their legally-bought property…
While Dale Farm residents struggle to make their case, the middle classes are adept at protecting the places they value, mounting hugely effective campaigns.As we wait for Friday to roll around so this ten-year legal battle can finally be won by the rule of law, those poor residents might have cause to wonder just what an ineffective campaign would look like…
And some middle class people might start to wonder where they can hire a few crusties and political agitators.
Madeleine doesn't seem have to grasped the English language. The people on Dale Farm are called "Travellers" (one of the terms used). That implies that they travel. Being tied to one spot is anathema to them. So travelling to the next county or a few counties away doesn't make much difference. If they have made roots and got their kids in local schools and don't want to move then that's their problem to sort out - using legal methods.
All the campaigners on the side of Dale Farm never talk about the legal part of it. The part that is unoccupied. The part that has homes on it ready for use.
No! Madeleine has perfect grasp of English.
She sits and smirks and says I type this drivel and I get paid a whole bunch of cash.
But, hey... thinking of the North West, how about the Guardian pissing off back to Manchester? True it's not St Helen's but you can always try Salford for the quality of life and chattering parties.
The law is not sacred. It has often been changed by people defying it.
As far as I know, I have never personally suffered at the hands of a gypsy/traveller.
I have however been harrassed many times by people who get paid to pursue their holy rule book.
I own my home, but it's modest. So I don't need to persecute my neighbours to maintain its cash value. (Some of them probably think that I lower the tone round here, but I was here first.)
I mildly resent ALL those who live on benefits, not just those in a particular group.
The "Travellers" will lose, but I've been impressed by the determined fight they have put up.
I seem to be in a very small minority among the blog company I keep, but I have enjoyed this drama.
I'm not expecting anyone to agree with me. :-)
"All the campaigners on the side of Dale Farm never talk about the legal part of it. The part that is unoccupied. The part that has homes on it ready for use."
Well, today's the day. We'll see what it brings.
"The "Travellers" will lose, but I've been impressed by the determined fight they have put up."
Don't be. A major part of it was financed with your tax money. Which wouldn't be available to you, should you find yourself in the same situation.
Nor, should you assault a bailiff in front of them, would the police hold off from hauling you off to chokey.
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