Friday, June 11, 2010



Protesters at Eaves Green Lane Meriden

UKAGW have written a letter to the Minister Caroline Spelman and MP for Meriden to register serious concerns on the issue above, however, after watching her contribution on the politics show Sunday 30th May we were deeply saddened by the fact that she made no effort to appeal to the protesters to return to their homes and leave the planning law to take its course, of which she will be aware is currently going through proper legal and lawful channels. Quite frankly, in our view the message given out on that show, by not addressing villagers actions was one of condoning such measures, moreover, UKAGW are fearful that due to the actions of the protestors that there will be a serious incident possibly at this location that could endanger life.

Shay Clipson of UKAGW had previously received many distressing telephone calls from the residents at the site and while visiting Meriden on Sunday 30th May she observed just why they are so distressed. Shay informed a Police Inspector of several serious concerns but, unbelievably and incredibly was all to no avail.

I would like to draw attention to some of our concerns.

At the entrance to the site protestors had lit a fire in an oil drum; this fire burns day and night and has done so from the outset. The fire is not used as a source of heat but is kept going with damp wood that smokes continually. It became apparent to my colleague during a conversation with a spokesman for the protestors that he is aware that there are residents on the site that suffer with Asthma, this was information he volunteered to her that he had gleaned from the planning application. As the weather has now turned, the fire is clearly not needed for heat the obvious conclusion arrived at is that the fire is kept alight for no other reason but to cause harassment to the residents of the site.

The fire is in the gateway to the site it is located just a few inches from the highway which, one would conclude that fact alone to be a clear breach of the law.

The fire causes inconvenience to residents on the site when they are entering or leaving their property, vehicles struggle to pass this very dangerous hazard, photographs are attached of one residents van struggling to bypass the fire with probably no more than an inch to spare, while two police officers look on but do nothing in relation to the hazard.

There are videos of a farmer dumping a lorry load of manure in the lane purely to cause obstruction to residents, and also dumping hardcore in the road, this action in itself is against the law and considering people are fined for dropping a cigarette nowadays yet, these people can flout and violate the law in plain view of ‘Law Enforcement Officers’ who it seems offer no challenge whatsoever. There is also a video of a protestor challenging one of the male residents to a fight... But these people are just seen and championed as nice, everyday ordinary ‘Middle England’ villagers! However, many, right thinking people would strongly dispute this view.

There is a large pile of wood in order to fuel the fire, spilling off the grass verge and onto the road causing obstruction to passing traffic and to the residents of the site (photographic evidence). The fire and the wood have the added bonus of causing residents to have to slow down to maneuver inch by inch past this very dangerous obstruction allowing some of the protestor’s to take full advantage and bang on the vehicles whilst shouting abuse, even on occasions when the residents are ferrying their children to and from school, this senseless action by these nice village folks serves only to terrify the young children on board, many of the residents have told us that they are also too frightened to sleep after observing alcohol being consumed by some protestors, we cannot wonder at their concerns especially, after they informed us of an individual being arrested for ‘Drunk & Disorderly’ behavior after entering the site and terrifying the people therein.

An elderly resident on the site was horrified to hear a protestor loudly proclaiming that the site was land mined, whilst this sick individual no doubt thought this highly amusing to unnerve and frighten an elderly lady. We would like to point out that on yet another “facebook” site “landmines” are mentioned by a female poster. A protestor has posted an article on his “Meridenraid” website, this comes from the Sunday Mercury and is dated June 2nd, the comments therein are clearly racist and the protestor endorses this by republishing them on his website. Shay Clipson contacted the reporter who wrote the article and he informed her that these were the milder of the comments.

If the above does not cause enough concern to Minister Spelman, by far the most sinister aspect is that protestor’s (probably one of those nice Middle Englanders) stroll back and forth menacingly carrying a large axe (photos available). There have been threats made via the social network “facebook”, these have been printed and given to CID officers. When you consider that these threats refer to guns and attacks on the site using fireworks it is alarming that no arrests have been made. Incident after incident could be cited but we feel that this letter should cause Minister significant concern, and hopefully should at the very least agree some well overdue police action.

Shay Clipson was told by a leading protestor that this action had “brought the village together”; this would appear in the eyes of the protesters’ that communal racial hatred, racial harassment, racial discrimination and intimidation are a good thing and an enjoyable social community activity. However, curiously we are also informed that this leading protestor has a huge construction on his own property; therefore, if so, how has this protestor secured planning permission in the first instance? Moreover, if our information is correct then surely a construction of such huge proportions, clearly exceed planning rules.

We, strongly feel and can only conclude from comments publically made by residents of the village that all incidences outlined above is blatantly racially motivated by discrimination against our community of Romany Gypsies and nothing at all to do with planning. All of the above are clearly criminal offences, all of which have been allowed to continue totally unchallenged and have done so for an entire month. It seems a doctors surgery in the area have also jumped on the bandwagon by de-registering an elderly lady and a family with a 5 month old baby, the family concerned had been registered with the doctor for 12 years. There appears to be a number of reasons for this shameful decision:
Moved out of area? (approx 3 Miles down the road),
Health authority would not accept the postcode (yet is accepted by HA on own website)

Administrator reported to the Health Authority that Patients Have Not Got Planning Permission

It is without doubt, that the HA are teetering on the periphery of the law but, nevertheless it has to be agreed the action to de-register an elderly lady and a family with a 5 month old baby that have been patients of that particular surgery for many years is ‘Morally Wrong’, especially, as it is well documented that our community significantly, has the highest child mortality rate and with adult mortality of 10/12 years earlier than any other ethnic minority within the UK.

We can only conclude that the events that have been so blatantly and publically played out for an entire month in Minister Spelman’s constituency is without prejudice, the very worst and exceedingly dangerous case of racial discrimination, racial harassment, racial intimidation and racial hatred perpetrated against the oldest ethnic minority in this country, that UKAGW have ever known and one which, has been allowed to unfold without appeal for calm from either one of the constituent government MP’s, which, is of no credit to the democracy that the coalition government is keen to be seen to promote.

Furthermore, had the shoe been on the other foot we have no doubt whatsoever that, our people would not have got away with half of the unlawful activity that is still taking place but, we are equally certain that they would have been jailed and the key thrown away! UKAGW would like to remind the Minister one of the two constituent MP’s in the area) and their village constituents that the people on the site at Meriden are British citizens, furthermore, they are not ‘Newcomers’ and they too are also the Minister’s constituents who have lived and worked around that particular area for 20 years without ever being guilty of harassing villagers as they themselves are intent on doing to their Romany Gypsy neighbors.

The residents are not a bunch of drug taking, thieving lay-a-bouts who drain the economy of benefits, they are just ordinary hardworking, quiet and unassuming people who only seek to live in peace, and at the end of the day, the only crime of which they are guilty is trying to provide for themselves, considering the coalition’s so called 'Freedom', 'Fairness' and Civil liberties, the first wave of 'efficiency savings' has wiped out £30 million already offered to local authorities and housing associations to support the development of Gypsy and Traveller sites, it is also reported that the Minister Caroline Spelman intends to create more green belt so, in all ‘Fairness’ what exactly would she advise our people to do?

The month of June is ‘Gypsy Traveller History Month’ with many events and exhibitions held to mark the Holocaust across the country, however we do not seek to be sensationalistic but, when we observed, the behavior so publically displayed by villagers in the Ministers and constituency, theoretically, to us it is a chilling reminder and astonishingly similar behavior to that of certain German people against the Jews on ‘Kristallnacht’ which even to this day is viewed by many historians as the beginning of the ‘Final Solution’ leading to the genocide of the holocaust.

We are used to reading reports of whole communities across the country going to meetings sometimes, 600/1000 strong to voice their protest against the prospect of a Gypsy Traveller site in their area but, what those villager’s have done has been to take this issue to a whole new alarmingly and very dangerous level.
UKAGW respectfully suggested, to Minister Spelman that she and her colleague Lorely Burt MP seriously and urgently concern themselves with this situation over the coming days especially, in the light of the extremely tragic events that have recently unfolded in Cumbria, moreover, considering the level of support that has been accorded to villagers in making their protest, we are deeply concerned and mindful that predictions cannot be made of just what the villagers are capable of or even how far they are prepared to go.

Therefore, we further suggested to the Minister that she treat this situation with the urgency that it deserves and use her good office to ensure that this intolerable situation that the site residents have been very publically and forcibly exposed, is ended forthwith and protestors strongly advised to go back to their homes and leave the planning application to go through the correct legal channels which is now in progress.

UKAGW policy is to advocate for our community’s basic human rights and we regularly challenge the indignities and many violations of those rights, however, we would not support such protests/demonstrat ions that would disrupt the wider society lives so Why, we ask, has the Minister, Caroline Spelman not implemented a similar policy with her Meriden constituents.

Latest report from residents last night were of the protestors ‘burning window frames with paint on’ creating a dense black smoke and horrific smell. UKAGW strongly feel that Minister Spelman, by not addressing the issues at Meriden that she is so well aware of, clearly shows solidarity with people who are happy to break, flout, violate and show total disrespect for the law of the land. It is our contention that Minister Spelman should, beyond a shadow of a doubt put an end to this outrageous flouting of the law and blatant violations of the human rights, discrimination and harassment forthwith.

Rachel Francis
Inclusion office
UK Association of Gypsy Women.

1 comment:

Casimire said...

I think I told you my Grandmother's birth certificate listed her race as Bastard/Gypsy. Things have not changed much eh?

By the way I love the new look of your blog, very nice!