Love Thy Neighbour, Not Just Thyself. Last Hope For Traveller's Basildon Camp

Nowhere to go! Despite all Britain's huge estates.

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The Basildon site...Looks pretty neat, doesn't it?Cameron and Pickles.  Looks as if Pickles needs a better lifestyle himself, maybe pulling a caravan!
The Basildon site...Looks pretty neat, doesn't it?
The Basildon site...Looks pretty neat, doesn't it?
Cameron and Pickles.  Looks as if Pickles needs a better lifestyle himself, maybe pulling a caravan!
Cameron and Pickles. Looks as if Pickles needs a better lifestyle himself, maybe pulling a caravan!

Basildon Travellers due to be Evicted Tonight!

(Stop Press. In the last half hour. The Travellers lost their last appeal this afternoon: as of midnight tonight, they may be legally (if not morally) evicted. Basildon council have said it may actually take a little more time due to a sick woman who can't be moved and other considerations. But the bulldozers, baliffs and flat-foots wait in the wings) Now, please read story written earlier today.

Residents in the Essex township of Basildon, near London, are on edge today as the Travellers who occupy one of the largest sites in Europe are scheduled to be evicted tonight (Aug 31).

The travellers, who prefer the free and easy life in their caravans, have occupied the site for ten years and the land - an old scrap metal yard - was legally purchased by them. Despite that, a vendetta against the travellers by local residents and the Basildon Council has finally secured the eviction order in the courts and the residents must go unless there is a last ditch "pardon" from the high court. (In the UK you can buy some green belt and forestry land, but you are not allowed to live on it nor build on it).

Basildon council will re-house the travellers, it says and, indeed, would have to do so under the law. An expensive proposition for the more than 80 families, including many children and the aged, who say they do not want to be split-up from which is now their community, with many children born there. (The council has already devoted 8 million pounds to win the eviction!)

The council, neighbours, and many like them in smaller sites throughout the country have been assisted by the climate under Cameron's government which has shown it is on the side of the local property owners, (and the moneyed classes in general...yawn!). Eric Pickles, a government secretary, has practically devoted all his energies in obtaining eviction orders of "this valuable green-belt land," (an ugly, disused scrap yard until the travellers found it).

Politicians have found there are three areas likely to loose them the electorate: allocating buildings for asylum seekers, authorising wind-turbine sites, foisting new prisons on a given area or, worst of all, backing the claims of travellers.

If these folk do get evicted tonight, it may spell the end for most travellers in Britain. For some reason which eludes me, there is vigorous, racially motivated hatred against these caravan dwellers in this nation. Perhaps it is because I lived in the USA for so much time where the trailer (caravan) lifestyle is an accepted way for many to live, especially retired folk. Of course, space is not the worry there that it is in Europe. Yet other European countries don't operate with quite so much hatred against travellers; in fact, what is happening in Basildon today flouts several European human rights laws and the courts have been so advised from Brussels (I heard).

There are some activists defending the travellers and vowing to stand with them to the end. One is the actress Vanessa Redgrave, a champion of the oppressed and under-classes all her life. You may remember her being black-listed in Hollywood for years for making anti-Jewish comments at the Oscars. She is a little gray haired old lady of 74 today, but lacks none of the fire that won her Oscar, along with many other awards.

From listening to the spokesman for Basildon Council, it does seem as if few of the promises they made to the travellers (such as finding them adequate sites to move-to and providing utilities) have been kept, or are intended to be kept.

The police and bailiffs are due to move in, mob-handed, tonight and many are predicting a blood-bath as there will be many activists present, including, say the council, “anarchists” determined to stir up trouble. I have a wry grin every time some administration trots out the “anarchist label” a bit like the “communist label” during the McCarthy era in the US. Don’t you always get a mental picture of a shadowy figure in a pointed hat and cloak, carrying a sparking, round bomb!? It seems to me as if we could all do with a bit of the anarchist in us these days.

Yes, many of the families feeling crowded by this large camp in a small village, are understandably upset, but I have no sympathy at all in turning 80 families out on the streets and kicking them out of “Dodge” This country is too small to tell them to become someone else’s problem. They didn’t just drive up last week and squat, for goodness sake! They have been there half a generation; have decent, well organized group and concrete pads for the vans. They are part of the local community whether the other residents like it or not: their kids go to school there; their oldsters visit local clinics and hospitals, they shop. I imagine there is a large economic benefit in having them there.

This benighted land has a history of oppressing those who can least bear it for hundreds of years. One might be puzzled as to why the articulate and Oxbridge educated Cameron hasn’t got enough sense to stop this cruel eviction, and one that will end up biting him in the arse if it sparks-off more civil unrest here. (The man reminds me more and more of the orchestra conductor frantically waving his arms at his musicians, all playing louder; more and more out of tune).

It just is not true that the label ascribed to these latter-day “gypsies,“ the travellers, in general, are rich, lazy, criminal and violent, any more than is true of any other segment of the so-called “lower-classes.” (Or the bankers and politicians!). And there is something appealing about their care-free life styles. In fact, this existence is more attuned to evolution, when man was a “hunter-gatherer” and moved with nature’s rhythms, than being stuck in a two up, one down council bungalow in Deptford all your miserable life. But Britain really isn’t the place to be and do it any more. In fact, it isn’t the place for anyone to be these days, except bankers and wan---, er, Wayne Rooney.

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Comments 19 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

In the US, there's a vast difference between retired people who live in RV parks and the Gypsies who live off panhandling and theft. In fact, most here have abandoned their sleazy lifestyles and have joined the rest of us.

The last time I heard of American Gypsies, it was when a male and a female stopped by my elderly parent's house and stole money out of my mother's purse when they allowed them to use their bathroom. I have no sympathy for such trash.

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Diogenes, I had to read this twice and probably two times more to understand your stance here, and just a twinkle of it has set in, We have transient folks that winter in the desert valley of Arizona, Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Apache Junction areas where pads are set for the trailers that caravan here in droves, not to mention the trailer parks that hold permanent trailers for those who can afford it. They come and go with the weather. I choose a free lifestyle but it seems backward to theirs as I go north in the cold for several months to hunt meat for my freezer to keep my band of carnivores fat and happy and that does include me. Most days you run up on me I've got a wad of jerky in the side of my mouth like most chew their tobacco, I'm feeding on jerky, setting for a meal generally one time a day, some days life keeps me busy enough that I eat only jerky. Doc says I can't survive like that but I have a couple decades to prove him wrong.

I think I get the gist that they are trying to end a life style there? of free roaming folks that like me live on a minimum? I thought of a 5th wheel trailer and caravan traveling park to park as in the US you can stay in some national parks for thirty days with full hook ups for a low price. In Arizona buying a "Golden Eagle" permit [a program that has been discontinued, then revamped due to many actually using it] then you could put a sticker in the lower left windshield and one on your tow-able home and hook up for a max of 30 days, then pull up stakes to another park section and do it again. I decided to go permanent, but expect soon to be confronted with my life style not meeting the criteria of the rich. I have figured out loop holes and pay only sales tax on what I buy in town. I beat the property tax as well, keeping the right to keep and live on this ground until my death then it falls into control of the tribe of Americans.

Britain is trying to end a lifestyle if I've understood right. America has already sold it's banks and such to the government, I expect the FDA will take control of the food next while people sleep, right out from under their noses, home raised food from heirloom seed will become illegal too. It is truly he who controls the use of land and food has the population by the hairs on their butts, or by the balls, how ever you look at it, we are in free fall toward a 1 world government where no freedom will exist.

enough or perhaps too much said, peace dusty

diogenes 5 years ago

I can't speak about the people of whom you refer in the US, Will, but that type of labelling does not apply to these people on this site. Strange how your stories glorify the poor cowpokes and "travellers" of the WW West, but your charity falls short when speaking about those who live free from the yolk today. Bob

diogenes 5 years ago

Hi Dusty. That is just it. The administrations, local and state, are just following the moneyed creed again. Those that want green-belt land land get it, to put up more high priced housing which few can afford these days. They are terrified of a life-style which allows people to slip through the net, buy a "cheap" trailer; don't pay council tax, ground rent, utilities and various taxes that beleagur the settled. Freedom has become a vague memory or a pipe dream in this society. How I envy you those wide open spaces in the US! Bob profile image 5 years ago

diogenes - I do have to agree with you and the double standard that is made to point on your Hub. The wide open spaces here in the US are quickly falling away - more cameras popping up with software running so the government can follow you anywhere if so desired.

Even here on Hub pages, censorship is becoming very wide spread - having to have your Hub reviewed before they are allowed to be published . I find that most telling.

I hope there is some good news for the travelers. To lose a home, even if it is just a concrete pad, is sad and heart breaking.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi quester: The wealthy conservatives all over the world are terrified all hell is about to break loose and topple their houses of cards. This is why you see tightening of controls and more and more strictures being put on the "lower classes." They realize resources are limited and finite and they want to hang on to the lion's share of the goodies still available. Just too many people and not enough to go around...Bob

Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

Makes my blood boil.

diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Sophia: You would not believe the torrent of lies and abuse the people are putting up with here. The establishment is bound and determined not to loose a sou in these hard times and just keep increasing their share of the pie (nearly all of it) I really think we are on the brink of revolution in Britain; some say it is well overdue...Bob

Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

Bob, you and me both. I don't know if you're familiar with my new series

It's about civil war in the USA, and of course, all of these tensions come into it. It's a week by week story and will run until two weeks before the election with a new chapter coming out every Friday.

What amazes me is people telling me that it's not fiction, that it's going to happen. So both here and in the UK, we're on similar paths - for the same reasons. The insane belief by a lot of people that they have no responsibility to anybody but themselves. They seem totally blind to the concept of the social contract that has enabled the human species to survive. Without that social contract being paid attention to, we destroy ourselves.

The saying used to be, "Live and let live." It seems to have dissolved into, "Live and let's play all by ourselves and let everybody else drop dead from starvation and anything else."

As I said, it makes my blood boil! profile image 5 years ago

I think I like Sophia

q profile image 5 years ago from upstate, NY

diogenes-I'm trying to get the gist of what your saying! If the travelers land was legally purchased and thier not in violation of any city ordinance they should not be evicted, if Britain respects private property rights and the rule of law. How they live is no ones business but thiers if their obeying the law. Eminent Domain laws in America have also come under alot of scrutiny lately. Now, city governments are evicting property owners in order to build new housing developements for the sake of increasing city tax revenues. The good news is that the courts did step in and put a stop to it.

diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

wba: We have laws on the books in Britain going back many years saying that people can buy/lease land but cannot put buildings on it, nor live on it. They are to protect those who build houses and the green belt laws about land ownership. As the Travellers have put in a lot of outbuildings, chalets and infrastructure, plus are living full time in their large trailers, they have infringed these draconian laws. Under Labour they couldn't evict them on humane grounds, but it's one law for all (Ha!) so now the bloody Conservatives are encouraging these evictions. Not just here, all over the country. You wouldn't believe how onerous it is to be poor in this awful nation...Bob

diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

I wasn't notified of your hubs, Sophia, I will have a look over the weekend. I lived for many years in the US and love the country. You have - or had - a great, generous heart out there and people were encouraged to do well and live as they wanted back then. In the UK, it's all envy, prejudice and negativity. People want to see you fail here...Bob too!! profile image 5 years ago from upstate, NY

Diogenes- I don’t see an easy solution to the eviction troubles of the travelers if Briton doesn’t actually have equal protection under the law. The only suggestion I could make is that laws should be few and understood by all. A supreme law of the land could strike down conflicting and inferior laws. Maybe Briton now needs a written Constitution and Supreme Court like in the states!- Regards WBA profile image 5 years ago

Diogenes - what is happening with the Travelers?


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

gypsies in US i've dealt with are travelling salespeople. one pair was selling an eco-friendly cleaning fluid, which one of them drank to prove its safety. another sold my mom some wind chimes while we dined at a club. the only thing i found objectionable was the high pressure sales technique.

diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Wba, quester and cathylynn:

No change yet with Travellers; many are leaving on their own volition, others won't leave. I agree Britain needs a Constitution. It has been rigorously resisted by the Establishment who prefer to manipulate the law in their favor. Some Travellers are good, some bad, just like everyone else, but they should still have rights they lack at present...Bob profile image 5 years ago



diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

quester et al. They have ten days from today, officially, to get off the land. Nothing will stop it now despite the protests from Europe. It's grim and sickens a lot of people, why they can't live and let live here without all this racism Bob

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