Many of my New Traveller friends have been offended by Councillor Davie and Councillor Palmer referring to new travellers as “freeloaders”. These comments have caused my friends much anxiety and distress.
Those who stayed on Huttoft Car Terrace for over a year and others who have stayed for a few days are nearly all New Travellers.
Since 2002 Gypsy and Travellers have been recognised as an ethnic group and are protected under the Equality Act 2010. In England and Wales the Census 2011 recognised monitoring of ‘Gypsy or Irish Traveller’ as main ethnic category for Ethnicity date monitoring of travellers community. However, there is diversity in self-identification and choice among Gypsy and Travellers community on how they view their ethnicity.
The main groups are:
- The Romanies or ‘Romany chals’ of England and Wales
- The Kale of North Wales
- The Romanies who have come to the UK from Europe in the last hundred years
- Irish Travellers
- Scottish Travellers
- Show and Fairground Travellers
- Bargees and other families living in boats
- New Travellers
The comments of Councillor Davie and Councillor Palmer have also incited racial hatred as others have also refer to New Travellers staying on Huttoft Car Terrace as “freeloaders”. I remind Councillor Davie and Councillor Palmer that a nomadic or peripatetic way of life is legitimate.
If any County Councillor makes a racist comment their position is untenable and they should resign immediately.
It is ironic that I read and hear in the media Conservative Party accusations that UKIP are racist as Councillor Davie is a Conservative Councillor.
Dear Councillor Davie and Councillor Palmer,
As your “freeloader” comments have offended and caused new travellers distress I request a retraction of and an unreserved apology for your comments.
In addition, as I believe that if a County Councillor makes a racist comment their position as a County Councillor to be untenable, I suggest that you both resign immediately, not least to spare your political affiliates acute embarrassment and negative criticism in the run-up to next May’s elections.
“(Yorkshiremen are) richly endowed with that gritty determination, that wilful refusal to give up and that sheer bloody-mindedness that eventually prevails.” Sir Bernard Ingham