The police heavily outnumbered protesters today as the eviction of travellers from Dale Farm in Essex went ahead. Violence was in evidence on both sides as residents sought to assert what they regard as their right to live on the land and police were apparently defending themselves from attack.
Bricks and debris were thrown at police as officers moved into Dale Farm amid violent scenes to secure the illegal part of the travellers’ site, founded when they bought a former scrap yard on green belt land in 2001 and established their caravans there.
Basildon Council leader Tony Ball condemned the violence between police and protesters.
He said: “These are utterly disgraceful scenes and demonstrate the fact some so-called supporters were always intent on violence. Nonetheless we are going to press on with this operation with our partners in a safe, dignified and humane way and will uphold the law.”
He said that “alternative bricks and mortar accommodation” offered to the travellers had been turned down” but did not give any details of what may have been offered.
For the travellers, resident Nora Egan said she had been struck as she told police they were not entitled to break down fences. She said: “This is being led by the police, there is no sign of bailiffs.”
Resident Kathleen McCarthy said: “The memory of Dale Farm will weigh heavily on Britain for generations – we are being dragged out of the only homes we have in this world. “Our entire community is being ripped apart by Basildon Council and the politicians in government.”
One woman said she hoped that ‘Tony Cameron’ was feeling ‘pleased with himself; an oblique, though possibly an ironically accurate reference to Prime Minister David Cameron.
TheOpinionSite.org believes however that the scenes of riot police taking action, including the use of taser guns against the protesters, represents much more than simply the enforcement of a court ruling and facilitating the entry to the site of bailiffs. One has to ask if this was not simply the Establishment trying to crush dissenters as times become tougher for ordinary people.
We and others have often commented that the politicians and judges responsible for making decisions that dramatically affect the lives of ordinary people actually do not have a clue what most people are going through.
High Court Judges and members of the Cabinet do not have to worry about where there next pay cheque comes from or how to pay their food and energy bills. MPs may have had their knuckles rapped over the fraudulent claiming of expenses but they still receive what most of us would regard as very generous allowances, not to mention the odd directorship or two made available to them because of their inside knowledge.
Little wonder then that the arrests made so far in the battle for Dale Farm have been for Violent Disorder and Breach of the Peace. Those in power had better get used to such scenes for there will surely be many more in the months to come, despite the outrageous actions of the Court of Appeal yesterday in supporting excessive sentencing for the recent riots and effectively telling us that Facebook should not be used for encouraging people to take action against what many see as the government’s unfair and unjust social policies.
I wrote a year ago that we would soon see a complete breakdown of the social norm that has been in existence for the last 30 years. It is now beginning and will likely become much worse than anything seen so far.
The government response, as with all governments in economically disastrous times, is to claim that they are upholding the Rule of Law and protecting the majority. In fact, they are planning on increasing the restrictions on the normal behaviour of ordinary people and increasingly using the police to do their dirty work for them in an attempt to silence any group that stands up against what is essentially a traditional right wing Tory government.
It is ironic indeed that at a time when the liberty of ordinary people is likely to be restricted in a way not seen since World War II, we have to watch Parliament play at being libertarian as the Protection of Freedoms Bill makes it laboriously slow passage towards the Statute Book.
Written across the face of the Bill in invisible ink is the creed of all right wing governments, “Have as much as freedom as you like – so long as you do what we tell you.”
I have spoken to many people recently from different backgrounds, some wealthy, some poor and most trying to convince themselves that they are financially sound when actually they are up to their eyes in debt. What they all have in common is that they all believe that things will become much worse and that this will happen sooner than they first thought.
The UK now has the highest unemployment for 17 years, the highest prison population ever, rampant inflation increasing at a rate not seen since Margaret Thatcher was in power and a failing education system that turns out students with meaningless A levels who go on to get equally meaningless degrees and then cannot find a job.
Meanwhile, the government tells us that “We are all in this together” – perhaps the biggest Tory lie of all time – and that everything will be fine. They talk about the ‘sensible, hard-working majority’ when in fact they are referring to those who are not prepared to voice their disagreement with what is happening.
Similarly, Cameron and his well-heeled cronies refer to the ‘mindless actions of those who believe that they should not have to work and that the rest of us should pay for them.” No mention is ever made of the fact that many people want to work but that there are no real jobs, only meaningless training courses, a compulsory ‘Work Program’ that failed before it began and the prospect of choosing between eating and heating should we get another bitter winter.
TheOpinionSite.org is bound to ask whether it will ever be possible for a government to be more out of touch than the present Coalition, the only hint of humanitarianism of which comes from an increasingly quiet Liberal Democrat party who seem afraid to stand up for their beliefs and principles.
Dale Farm really is just the beginning. Another year and there will be unrest of a much more serious nature – and no judge or politician will stop it. The tragedy is that it need not have come about at all if the UK had not bound itself to a spend thrift USA in such a way that British pride overcame common sense and independence of thought.
Tony Blair is gone, thank God but we have a new reincarnation in the face of Cameron. Perhaps the woman from Dale Farm was right after all; perhaps ‘Tony Cameron’ is the inevitable result of a Labour party that wanted to be Conservative and a Coalition that has 19th Century ideals running though its veins and which is becoming more right wing than any modern civilisation should ever allow.