Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Tories criminalise Travellers who have no place to go

Issue No. 2738

Police will gain powers to ­prosecute Travellers if they return to a site within 12 months

Police powers will be increased


Travellers will bear the brunt of a new discriminatory law from the Tories.

Intentional trespass is to become a criminal offence. That will enable police to seize vehicles and arrest Travellers who refuse to move on. Breaching the new law face means a three-month prison sentence and fine of up to £2,500.

At present, trespass is a civil offence.

The Tories will, allegedly, define “trespass” to avoid criminalising walkers.

Police will also gain powers to ­prosecute Travellers if they return to a specific site within 12 months, a ­quadrupling of the current three months.

Police will be able to act sooner as the threshold for intervention will be dropped from six illegally parked caravans to two. The new measures will also allow officers to remove trespassers from camping on or beside a road.

The Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) charity said that even the police did not believe the new criminal powers were necessary. In a consultation on the new law, some 84 percent of police said they did not support the criminalisation of unauthorised encampments.

Chasing

Thousands of people stuck on council site waiting lists are chasing fewer than 100 vacant pitches, an investigation by FFT has revealed.

The few vacant pitches are either ­temporary “transit site” pitches or run down and with no services.

In Surrey, where there are 150 households on waiting lists for pitches, researchers were told that current sites were all doubled up and there was ­overcrowding. Mary, a Traveller from the south west of England, has been on her local council’s waiting list for a vacant pitch for over three years.

“When I was expecting my daughter, I put myself down for two sites in the south west,” said Mary.

“The advice from the liaison officer was ‘to park up where you feel safest and where people are least likely to complain’.”

Only eight out of 68 councils in south east England had identified enough land in their area for Travellers to live.

Sarah Sweeney from FFT said, “It is deeply unfair that while the government is dramatically failing to identify enough land for Gypsy and Traveller families to live on, the home secretary is working to create laws to imprison, fine and remove the homes of families living on roadside camps for the ‘crime’ of having nowhere else to go.

“Stop placing blame on the very ­families they have failed. Everybody needs a place to live.”


Government funds right in Venezuela

The British government has established a journalism project to “influence Venezuela’s media agenda”. In addition a Foreign Office-funded foundation is spending £750,000 on a secretive “democracy-promotion” programme in the country.

It’s part of the Tories’ stepping up of efforts to remove the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The British government recognises right wing and pro-Western opposition figure Juan Guaidó as president.

Juan Guaido’s coup fails in Venezuela - but threat against Maduro remains
Juan Guaido’s coup fails in Venezuela - but threat against Maduro remains
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It is running a number of anti-government programmes in Venezuela.

They are funded from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. This says it supports projects designed “to tackle instability and to prevent conflicts that threaten UK interests”.

Those who benefit from the journalism funding are warned “the British government—and its resourcing of the project—should not be expressly referred or linked to the individual outputs of the project (i.e. individual articles, events etc).”

The Declassified UK website also recently revealed that a secretive British propaganda unit, named the Information Research Department, tried to stop Chilean socialist Salvador Allende from winning presidential elections in 1964 and 1970.


The biggest gathering of criminals will be heading for the British seaside later this year.

The G7 summit will take place in Cornwall’s Carbis Bay, known for its sandy beach and clear waters, on 11-13 June.

Boris Johnson called it the ­“perfect location for such a crucial summit”. A pleasant place to have a protest too.


Lord Peter Mandelson has been embracing the business of Brexit. He and his strategic advisory business Global Counsel won a £25,200 no-competition contract with the department for international trade last year.

The contract is to provide “trade policy and legal training in the field of international economic policy and ­cross‑border financial services policy.”


British army trains Saudi Arabia forces

Tory minister for the armed forces, James Heappey, has happily revealed that our brave boys are on hand to make sure the Saudi Arabian armed forces are able to commit war crimes with British levels of skill.

A recent parliamentary answer revealed what the Tories had previously not admitted.

It confirmed, “The UK Armed Forces provides training to security partners internationally and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one such partner.

“Pursuant to the funding streams mentioned in Deposited Paper DEP2020-0835 committed on 9 December 2020, we have provided training advice and assistance to the Royal Saudi Air Force, Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Border Guard, Saudi Arabia National Guard, Joint Incident Assessment, Security Forces and Joint Forces Command.”


Baying mobs set todescend on manor?

The government plans new laws to protect statues in England from being removed “on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob” communities secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

He announced the plans in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

The plans follow the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston last year.

Jenrick added that he had noticed an attempt to set a narrative that seeks to erase part of the nation’s history, saying this was “at the hand of the flash mob, or by the decree of a ‘cultural committee’ of town hall militants and woke worthies”.

Of the three houses Jenrick happens to own, one is Eye Manor in Hertfordshire, which was originally built for a slave owner and sugar trader.

This is no doubt merely a coincidence.


Trump goes on a killing spree

The turmoil around Donald Trump’s final days didn’t stop him carrying through an execution spree.

After 17 years without a single execution sanctioned at the federal level, he has pushed through 13 since July.

The federal government has executed more than three times as many people in the last six months than in the previous six decades.

Trump is the most murderous president since Grover Cleveland in the 1800s.


The things they say...

‘Labour can be the party of business and the party of workers. We shouldn’t see a contradiction between the two’

Rachel Reeves, Labour shadow minister for the Cabinet Office

‘I’m the last person you should take travel advice on this from’

Tory transport secretary Grant Shapps with a refreshing, rare level of self-awareness

‘I installed an app last week that deletes all tweets more than a week old’

Toby Young explains why allegations that he had been deleting his old tweets to hide his errors were false

‘We are not going to lower the standards of workers’ rights. We want to protect and enhance workers’ rights going forward, not row back on them’

Tory business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on reports that the Tories are about to attack workers’ rights, again


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