In spite of condemnations by the UN and Amnesty International, Basildon Council is pressing ahead with the eviction.

As often as possible, David Cameron and his ConDem government like to assure us that whilst they are most definitely giving the British economy some tough-love by
taking a massive axe to funding for the NHS, education and other vital public services, we shouldn’t worry because “we’re all in this together”. 

In a year where the average annual salary has fallen by £2600 but Britain’s 1000 richest people have gotten £77.2bn richer, such rhetoric isn’t convincing at the best of times, but it is has been rendered even more hypocritical and blatently false with the granting of £18m to Basildon Council in order to evict Britain’s largest Traveller community from Dale Farm, making hundreds of women, children and
families homeless.

The ConDem lie and the nature Dale Farm eviction is made even more clear and sinister in light of the Prime Minister’s endorsement of the eviction and his and Nick Clegg’s speeches on how multiculturalism “has failed us” and on how they believe that Britain needs a “much more active, muscular liberalism”, which ceases to tolerate “these segregated communities behaving in way’s which run counter to our

Whilst Britain’s Muslim communities were the ethnic minority Cameron particularly had in mind in his speech at February’s international security conference in Munich, Britain’s history of scapegoating Irish, Jewish and African-Carribean workers and the current Europe-wide rise in the persecution of Roma people should leave government critics and anti-racists with little doubt as to why the “cash-strapped” ConDem government was suddenly able to award  Basildon District Council (BDC) a grant of £8m to remove the travellers from the area, with an additional £10m being donated to cover policing costs.

Most of the Travellers on this site are of Irish heritage, although some Romani families also own properties on the site.  Altogether the site boasts almost 100 properties divided in two sections: the front part (about 45 plots)has planning permission, while the back part (52 plots), despite numerous applications and appeals, has been refused planning consent, even though the site was previously a disused scrap yard. Such a nonsensical situation isn’t unusual: 90% of traveller planning applications are initially rejected, compared to 20% overall.

The United Nations has condemned the council for taking such a discriminative course of action and asked for the evictions to be put on hold. Amnesty International has also condemned the move, but Basildon District Council has ignored its critics, helped by the high court ruling in favour of the eviction.

In May 2005, when Basildon council initially decided to evict the travellers, local residents sought a Judicial Review of this decision and won in the High Court. This judgement was overturned by the Court of Appeal on 22 January 2009. An appeal to the House of Lords was denied on 14 May 2009.

The planned eviction of the travellers by a UK government intent of flouting international law is not dissimilar to the demolition of Palestinians homes in the occupied territories by the Israeli state. It is apartheid by another name.

The racist media hysteria around the issue hasn’t helped the Dale Farm community either, and nor has Ed Miliband’s public endorsement of the eviction. UKIP have been single-handedly resurrected by the issue, with tabloids eager to quote their MEP Stuart Agnew’s views on the issue. However, some celebrities like Vanessa Redgrave have come out in support of the Travellers.

This is set to be one of the largest evictions to date. ‘Camp Constant’ has been established by activists in Dale Farm to non-violently resist the evictions, and people are urged to support and visit it.

The council have said they plan to close off the roads leading up to Dale Farm on  12 September in an effort to thwart people from going to Camp Constant. The police and the bailiffs are due to be moving into the camp on Monday the 19 September to attempt to clear the camp.

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