Tuesday, 6 October 2009

WI do a U-Turn?

Well, not the whole organisation, but members of a Hampshire branch, possibly no more than a twig, have proved to be independent thinkers. They emailed me because one of them borrowed my book, Gypsies Stop tHere, from the library and enjoyed it so much they all thought they would like to hear my talk! Now that is the kind of thing I like to hear very much indeed.

Are they scheming to rip me apart now they’ve lulled me into a state of calm smugness? To find out I must wait till next March. You may remember the Madonna like reception I often get once my thorny topic is raised, as outlined before. This audience I feel absolutely certain will be lovely. I just know it. I can taste the warmness of their welcome already.

I wonder if anything will have changed by then. I attended a Gypsy and Traveller Forum a couple of weeks ago, where various agencies and members of the G&T community come together. The air was electric with frustration! One committee member stormed out of the room! Resigned after (I think) 17 years! Fact sometimes offers more drama than fiction, except for my book of course.

Site provision is a complex subject and no way can I tackle it in a blog. As ever, though, the nub of the meeting came down to G&Ts being permanently worried about having nowhere to live, largely due to objections by local residents. For any councillor this is not a vote-winner. So a tiny minority have to resort to unauthorised encampments without facilities … highly visible. It’s a self-perpetuating circle that gets dizzy chasing its own tail. I can see all sides of the problem but what many people do not realise is that their proper sites, usually tucked away out of sight, are kept immaculately. Trailers are gleaming, usually fitted with pale upholstery and carpet and everything put away. Puts some houses to shame!

Also crime rates do not increase with the number of G&Ts living in an area. This false view is often in people’s minds fuelled by biased scapegoating in media reports, headlines and photos. Police are clamping down on such hate-related reports now.

Well that’s me done. I’d better jump off my soapbox and my high horse. Tweet me if you have some thoughts of your own. And don’t forget to read my book before the sequel is out.

No comments:

Post a Comment