UK delays answering UN over Basildon evictions
By Grattan Puxon
While Foreign Secretary William Hague has yet to make known his response to the UN request to halt Gypsy evictions the bulldozers are lining up to crush more homes this month.
On the front line are eight Romani and Traveller properties at Wickford, Essex, facing imminent eviction by Basildon District Council, employing the notorious Constant & Co. bailiffs.
Despite being under investigation for breach of safety regulations, it seems this outfit will again be let loose on the peaceful community of Hovefields, in the Essex greenbelt.
The council says this is a dry run for a bigger operation at Dale Farm.
Communities Minister Eric Pickles, MP for the nearby borough of Brentwood which has just obtained court orders to prevent Gypsies moving onto greenbelt land, is urging Basildon to act quickly to rid itself of homeless Travellers.
One little girl in the path of this policy is 12-year-old Kathleen, who was to begin secondary school this term. Instead she's making banners to protest against the Constant evictions, which have already turned neighbouring yards into bomb-crater sites reminiscent of the second world war.
Anti-Gypsy actions, like those of France and Italy, are becoming ever more similar to those of Nazi-run Germany in the l930s. Some are already calling it ethnic-cleansing. The UN Commission for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged the UK Government to stop the clearance of Dale Farm, one of the largest Traveller settlements in Britain.
Basildon, which extends for 50 square kilometres, claims it has no land to offer. Yet a government agency has told the council it can use any of several sites it owns for a mobile-home park. All have been rejected.
Dale Farm residents have prepared their own plan to develop alternate accommodation for themselves at one of these locations. But instead of encouraging this peaceful solution the council continues to destroy Gypsy-owned properties in the district.
"I have my school clothes bought," says Kathleen. "I'm so angry that the council, the government, none of them will let me get an education. This is all wrong."
6 September 2010