It appears that the controversial decision regarding the position of Travellers by Brighton and Hove Council has hit some sensitive points. The Green Party has had a consistent and progressive position in opposing racism, sexism and homophobia. Many of their members have played a positive role in the anti-racist movement over many decades. It therefore came as a shock to many when we learned that they were planning to move 25 famillies off land last week.
Romanies have in the past, and continue to face, daily racist attacks from the State and organised racist gangs across various parts of East Europe. In the past they were also victims of the Nazis. For this reason, it was hoped that a radical group, such as the Greens, would take a more sensitive approach towards them.
Since the announcement was first made we have been informed that an alternative site is being investigated but the land is to be used both as a natural site and for building on. Could alternative land be used for the building? We are further informed that any postponement will incurr costs to the council, which if goes ahead could affect front line services.
It is also reported that Caroline Lucas MP suggested that the move should not go ahead until an alternative is found for the famillies. Many would agree with her on this.
For this reason we hope that the Green Party administration would reconsider its policy decision and consult fully with the representatives of the Romani groups in the UK before taking any further action. A suitable site providing stability for the famillies and their children needs to be established to prevent this happening again.The needs of Travellers also represents an important front line service that needs to be fully protected.