It was great to see AP Director Ian Guest last week and to get the chance to discuss ways in which we can try to assist the residents still living at Dale Farm. The landscape there has changed drastically since his last visit, before the eviction. There are now mounds of rubble, discarded possessions and sewage where the homes of the Dale Farm families once stood. Scores of trailers are now lined up on the road leading to the bulldozed site. The families living there are much worse off than when he last met them, as they have lost their homes and are now living without access to electricity and toilets in hazardous conditions.
Two things that Ian said during our visit to the site really struck me. Firstly, after chatting and drinking cups of tea with several of the residents, he commented on how strong they remain amidst such difficult circumstances. Does Basildon Council hope that forcing the Travellers to live in increasingly miserable circumstances will break them and force this entire community (many of whom were born in Basildon, all of whom have been residents of the district for at least 10 years) out of its jurisdiction?
Secondly, as we were leaving the site, Ian asked, “Who are the winners in this situation?”. Aside from those who received the millions of pounds it cost Basildon to carry out its eviction campaign, it is very difficult to name anyone else who has benefitted from making these families homeless. It is time now that Basildon residents recognise that Tony Ball and his colleagues wasted millions on a personal vendetta against the Travellers. How has this been in the best interests of the people of Basildon?
Posted By Susan Craig-Greene
Posted Feb 1st, 2013