Part 2: Racism against Travellers and Gypsies is still permissible – even in Folkestone & Hythe District

YouGov/Traveller Movement survey, released in Oct 2017, found that more than 40% of British parents polled would be unhappy with a close relative forming a relationship with a Traveller. For no other reason than that person is a Traveller.

The term ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ is difficult to define as it does not constitute a single, homogenous group, but encompasses a range of groups with different histories, cultures and beliefs including: Romany Gypsies, Welsh Gypsies, Scottish Gypsy Travellers and Irish Travellers. There are also Traveller groups which are generally regarded as ‘cultural’ rather than ‘ethnic’ Travellers. These include ‘New’ (Age) Travellers and occupational travellers, such as showmen and waterway travellers.

The Planning Inspector who undertook an assessment of the Local Plan on the 14th – 16th May 2019, made it clear that there needs to be 4 new sites for Gypsy & Travellers in our district, in the next 10 years. No if or buts, just get it done.

We have NO sites in our district for Travellers, hence the huge problem we have. The same is true of Canterbury, Sevenoaks and Thanet. Do our Council and our elected representatives suffer from institutionalised discrimination and racism?

Screenshot from 2019-06-07 16-45-12

The Council’s who do not have sites in their districts are the ones who tend to have the most illegal incursions. Over the last few years these illegal incursions have been highly publicised  in our local newspapers. Canterbury has sought a district wide ban against Gypsies & Travellers. However, Folkestone & Hythe, Sevenoaks & Thanet have so far resisted this route.

Which one of our 30 elected representatives in Folkestone & Hythe District will step forward to demonstrate they will accept a site in their ward, regardless of what their electorate may think? After all, they are under a legal obligation to fulfil the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. Gypsies & Travellers have been declared by the courts to be protected as “races” under the Act.

Nevertheless, Gypsies and Travellers continue to face high levels of racial discrimination, contributing to and exacerbating the inequalities they experience. Our Council & Cllrs are not solving the problem, they are the problem, as they continue to do nothing about offering this race of people, who make up 0.1% of the population, a place to call home, however transitory.

Our Council & Councillors continuing silence will speak volumes and demonstrate that each of them hold a prejudice towards people of another race. They can through their ideologies as parties interpret the world in various ways; the point however is to change it, for the few as well as the many in this instance, especially given the fact that 0.1% of the population identified as Gypsy, Roma or Traveller. So come on Cllrs, demonstrate that you are not racist, by accepting a pitch in your ward. Can you do it, yes you can.

The Shepwayvox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful

About shepwayvox (906 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

6 Comments on Part 2: Racism against Travellers and Gypsies is still permissible – even in Folkestone & Hythe District

  1. Thanks a lot for these pieces on travellers. Attitudes around here are very poor and need to change. If people REALLY cared about these issues OR AT ALL about these people, they’d do something positive to solve it. Instead you get alarmism accompanied by some of the worst prejudice I’ve encountered, which people don’t recognise as prejudice but insist is justified. As with nearly everyone who is prejudice against any social group or race, they don’t know any personally, but judge from what others say or what they read in the papers, or the few negative encounters they maybe have had personally. If I condemned everyone who has ever caused me a problem or who I’ve read about in the papers according to their ethnicity, I’d condemn 98% of the people living in this country, and everywhere else I’ve lived. (but I’d still call myself a ‘nationalist’). Drunk white pub-goers – nasty whites! Brown haired muggers – criminal brownies! Bullying ginger-haired kid – sodding gingers! A lady who hit my car – stupid women drivers! Etc. etc. Bravo for your social bravery.

  2. Gypsies and travellers are not a race. It could be discrimination but not racism.

  3. A Traveller // June 7, 2019 at 22:10 // Reply

    A refreshingly balanced and frank article. It calls out the Cllrs to act and demonstrate they are not prejudice/racist. As a Traveller who lives on one of the sites mentioned I applaud your courage to write such a piece. I just hope you do not get any negative feedback, as is so often the case, especially from Cllrs who all to often prevaricate over this issue. Thank you

  4. A Romney Marshian // June 8, 2019 at 07:29 // Reply

    A great way of framing a much needed debate. Thankfully there has been no racist or derogatory comments beyond the typical stereotypes. I note just one Cllr has engaged, the rest remain quiet on the issue, what does that say?

  5. What a lost opportunity! Surely Otterpool Park is the ideal place to provide a permanent traveller site. Whilst the detailed planning work is under way it is possible to provide the water, electricity, sewage and rubbish clearance facilities this group require and as the Council tell us they own much of the land there should be very little opposition! Oh and with a considerable demand for labour on the Otterpool Park development there will be jobs for them as well. Win, win, win I think.

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