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Dale Farm eviction – the racism that shames Britain

The shocking police violence around the eviction of travellers at Dale Farm exposed the racism at the heart of British society, write Natalie Silverstein and Luke CooperIT WAS about planning permission – nothing more, or nothing less. That’s what the leaders of Basildon Council, along with the tops of the Labour and Tory parties, all claimed.
The truth none of them dared to speak was that it was about racism.  Yet once or twice the disguise slipped. Rodney Bass, chairman of Essex county council, referred to the “Irish criminals” of Dale Farm in a letter to the mayor of Basildon.

This was a Tory council stoking the tribal prejudices of its electorate, in a populist gesture that did nothing to alleviate the suffering of ordinary people’s lives.
Opinion polls showed 63 per cent of people in Britain supported the eviction. So many lies and prejudices circulate about Irish travelers – that they are criminals, don’t pay tax, don’t work, etc – that racism towards them is sadly accepted.
The Council justified their actions on technical grounds, a failure to fill out forms and go through the “proper channels”, but their aims was to fan flames of popular prejudice.
A myth that has been circulating was that this was “green belt” land and the Dale Farm community was contributing to the eating away of our countryside by the town.
In truth, it was a scrap yard when the travelers first arrived. They transformed it into a home for scores of families without any help from the state.
Isn’t this just the kind of community enterprise and endeavor that Cameron’s Big Society lauds? Not it seems if you are the target of one of today’s acceptable racisms.
Dale Farm was an example of integrated and successful traveller community which makes the attack on it from the Tories all the more outrageous.
The resistance the people of Dale Farm put up was courageous. 100 riot police baton charged the camp using taser guns on at least two protestors.
Defying the court order that stipulated there should be no destruction of property on parts of the site recognised as legal and not liable to eviction, the police mob were a law onto themselves with many residents injured and removed on stretchers.
86 families were evicted – who have now decamped to a site 10 miles away, to face further intimidation from the council and local community. Of those left at Dale Farm there is a threat of further action to remove them from the legal part of the site.
As the government cuts threaten to create misery across working class communities all over Britain, the costs of the Dale Farm removal come to a shocking £18 million. So racism doesn’t just shame Britain it also costs working class taxpayers too.
It might not be electorally popular to defend travelling communities in Britain, but it’s essential. Racism will only divide us at the very moment when we need to unite together to beat the cuts and kick out the Tory criminals.

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