The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23696 Message #3600147
Posted By: Jim Carroll
10-Feb-14 - 02:52 PM
Thread Name: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
I think I have said this once before Eliza
Racism in London, although common, tends to be passive - vocal rather than active.
I wish you both well.
However anti-Traveller the UK may be, it doesn't measure up in any way to that in Ireland.
You may have read recently of a Roma child being taken away from its parents by the authorities because it had blonde hair and blue eyes - they assumed the child had been kidnapped.
They were forced to returne the child to the family shortly afterwards - it remains to be seen if an enquiry is held into the affair
Let me say that not all Traveller police encounters were as grim as I've outlined.
Our first experience with Travellers was on a site at Ladbroke Grove in West London; it was a long L-shaped strip of waste land that stretched beneath the arterial road carrying traffic out of London to the West Country.
In those days the law was that illegally camped Travellers had to be served a two-week notice to quit, after which they would be escorted off by the police nd the Council.
The people we were recording had all been swerved notice and we went to witness and photograph the eviction.
The 30-odd familes put up no resistance and drove off dutifully.
A the task drew to a close one of the councilmen noticed a lone caravan at the L-junction in the distance.
As he walked towards it, it drove onto the site, followed by all the thirty-odd families who had just been evicted - they'd driven around the block and re-entered the site from the other end - winning another two weeks plus before they could be evicted again.
A few months later we met some of them in one of the poshest parts of London at Harrow-on-the Hill.
The family was taking part in protest overnight stops in order to draw attention to the lack of stopping places.
They had driven onto a piece of land in the centre of the town meaning to stay the night and leave the following day.
In a panic, the local council ordered a couple of enormous metal skips to block the entrance to the land in order to prevent more Travellers moving on.
As the skip delivery vehicle lowered the second skip into place, the operative's hand slipped and the skip fell out of control, wedging itself between the first one and a sturdy brick wall.
It was nearly a month before the council could arrange for the wall to be taken down, the skips removed and the Travellers sent on their way.
The incident made it's way into Traveller folklore.