Rumours have been mounting all week as to the reason why the Travellers & Gypsies left the annual Fair at Seamer on Monday, one day before the actual Fair day began. Discussion forums on the vacation have been deleted due to the nature of the content. Some say they left because of the death of a senior member of their community and went to Selby to pay their respects. The Scarborough News reports " Hundreds of Travellers flocked to the site over the weekend in preperation for Tuesday's fair - but the official site was deserted by then. ..
Claims were that the council had barred the public from the site, causing anger among the community who felt the were deliberately stopping them form make a living and horse trading. The Council strenuously deny the claims." One commented "At the gate they ask if you are gypsy and if you're not they refuse to let you in - they wouldn't get away with that if you were Pakistani, so why us? ... even some of the police on site had told us they think the way we have been treated is disgusting"
Within the SN report Andy Skelton, SBC's Director of Service Delivery is quoted as "By working with our partners, North Yorkshire Police, NYCC trading standards and the RSPCA the management of the site went as planned." Cllr Helen Mallory former Mayor said "They have not been asked to leave, but its their decision to leave ... they may have a charter from hundreds of years ago, but that doesn't mean they will be allowed to break the law."
I recall asking before, 'does the law choose its enforcers or do the enforcers choose the law'. On this occasion I think the Council have broken quite a few, especially relating to human rights and equality. Well at least I hope so from my understanding of it. I am not akin with the Law. However I do understand a little bit about inciting racial hatred, and equality and fairness. Also a comment regarding fracking at Crawberry Hill ; "They were charged with preventing staff from carrying out their legal business." (Senior district crown prosecutor, said: "*** and *** were originally charged by Humberside Police under section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992. ) The SN reports "coming to the festival with dozens of horses, he typically sells between 20 and 25 of the animals. This year he sold just two. They have cordoned us off, and won't let the members of the public in."
Now I don't want to get bogged down too much with the law, ahem, but as a massive fan of the Magna Carter (The 1215 charter required King John to proclaim certain liberties and accept that his will was not arbitary for example by explicitly accepting that no "freeman" (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land) and the Freedom to Roam Act 2000. see here : https://www.gov.uk/right-of-way-open-access-land/open-access-land.
This also includes the right to roam on the Foreshore by the way. I mention this because over the week-end, as usual, and quite a 'cultural treat' for us locals and other visitors, the Travellers/Gypsies bring several of their horses and carts down to the Foreshore, either to transport their children to the beech to enjoy or to leisurely take in the public amenities on offer. Most surprising was the 'harrassment' of the Travellers by the local police who had an instant 'RSPCA' team on hand. I say harrassment by the police loosely because the officers were not provocative - they meekly asked the travellers and their horse and carts to be on there way, and good as gold the Travellers did, though of course slightly unhappy about this. But, who requested this? Who were the police acting on behalf of? This brings it back to the 'working with partners' policy that the Police Complaints Commissioner (PCC) Julia Mulligan is so fond of.
Anyhow thanks to the Scarborough News for their rather disturbing report. (not on line yet) . I think a full investigation into the whole failure of this years Seamer Fair is due. But , where do we start. Have the Council Tramped over the Human Rights Act? Have the police acted as Thieves and stolen the rights of the Travellers? If the Gypsies don't come back was that part of the Council's plan?
Shame the Council and those anti-campaigners forget the heritage of the Gypsies and the massive influence and investment from that community that have built the fairs, amusement parks etc that line our coastline. Shame too that they fail to notice that alongside the Horse and Carts the bright new shiney construction vehicles, and work force gangs, they really do need to wake up !!!