Monday, 29 July 2013

An Open Letter to Carol Vorderman

Dear Carol Vorderman, 

I was somewhat shocked to discover that you still have a career after coming across your ignorant, vile and derogatory rant about Gypsy and Traveller communities in Closer magazine. This shock, however, was short lived when I remembered that, as you point out, there is one rule for us and one rule for the rest of society. Nonetheless, I am still rather bewildered as to why you feel so hard done by, thus, I would like to highlight to you the special privileges that you, as a rich, white and successful celebrity, are missing out on by not being part of a Gypsy or Traveller community. 

Under the Race Relations Act 1976, Gypsy and Traveller communities are recognised as ethnic minorities, thus, supposedly should be protected from discrimination. I guess you find this very unfair – why should a bunch of delinquents who decided to live in caravans be entitled to these extra rights that the hard working white tax payer doesn’t get? Maybe if you bought a caravan and became a Gypsy then you would also be able to bask in the privileges that the Race Relations Act supposedly brings, such as: being refused registration at your local GP surgery; being refused service from pubs and restaurants; being forced to deny your identity so you are not bullied at school or refused employment; and being refused planning permission whether it be on the green belt, a remote mountain peak or the moon. 

What more could Gypsy and Traveller communities want? All these extra privileges and still they have to snatch away the very few pleasures that the rest of society are given, such as cricket pitches, village greens, playing fields and the roadside. Of the 19,413 Gypsy and Traveller caravans in England, 84% are on authorised sites while 16% on unauthorised sites. Under the Housing Act 1996, a person is considered homeless if they have accommodation but “there is no place where he is entitled or permitted both to place it and to reside in it”. Therefore, any Gypsy or Traveller living on an unauthorised site can be considered homeless. The Coalition government have withdrawn funding for and repealed targets to provide sites for Gypsy and Traveller communities whilst introducing greater powers for local authorities to challenge unauthorised developments. This was introduced in spite of the fact that there is a widely documented pitch shortage. In Preston, the home of the Hoghton Cricket Club whom you speak of so fondly of, there are an estimated 111 Gypsies and Travellers but just 14 pitches. The presence of unauthorised sites, thus, is hardly surprising. 

But what about the people “who pay their taxes and work hard to keep their homes and villages nice”? Why should they be subjected to the injustice of having homeless people living in their white middle class villages? Why can’t Gypsies and Traveller just live in houses like everyone else? Turns out, that around one half to two thirds of Gypsies and Travellers are living in bricks and mortar accommodation. If you would like the rest of us to join them then we will happily ditch centuries of nomadic tradition and move in next door to you and your hard working neighbours Carol. Oh wait, that’s right, you wouldn’t want the likes of me living next door to you would you? So where should we go? Should we only ‘invade’ the not so “pristine” parks situated in council estates, after all, as long as we’re not leaving behind “faeces” on the precious cricket pitches of middle class villages, does it really matter? Or do you simply want the “Gypsy problem” to disappear as Hitler advocated during WWII when he murdered 500,000 Romani Gypsies, including members of my own family.

The truth is that you are entirely correct. There is one rule for Gypsies and Travellers and one rule for everyone else, except it is your rule that comes crammed with extra privileges. Gypsies and Travellers are hated not because they ‘invade’ fields and cricket pitches, but because they have been a hugely maligned and despised minority since their arrival to Europe and the UK, centuries ago. They have been subjected to slavery, extermination, sterilisation, segregation both geographically and in education, evictions, poverty, hate crime, and the criminalisation of their entire culture. In spite of this, the rest of society wonders why we remain so resistant to assimilation. The sad truth is that despite Hitler’s attempted extermination of Europe’s Romani community, attitudes towards Gypsy and Traveller communities have not changed but instead have remained hostile and prejudiced. "Discrimination against gypsies and travellers appears to be the last 'respectable' form of racism” and goes without the same level of outrage that racism towards other ethnic minorities receives. Had your column included a similar article about any other ethnic minority, I am certain that you would be surrounded by shame and scandal. Perhaps then Carol, you are a very lucky that there is one rule for Gypsies and Travellers and one rule for everyone else, as if there wasn’t your career would certainly be over. 

Yours sincerely,

Pip Borev.



15 comments:

  1. Hey Pip,

    I hope you don't mind me reblogging this (outside of Blogger). Full credits given obviously!

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  2. As always, very well executed!x

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  3. Great stuff Pip. Prejudice is ugly, whomever it targets. The gypsy and traveler communities really seem to be the last 'acceptable target' for middle class bigots. It's ridiculous and it needs to stop.

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  4. Beautifully put. I despair of some people. She is a fellow MENSAn but her intelligence is lacking here. I Hope you and your communities get a sincere apology.

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  5. Bang on! Shared. Hope this gets good coverage.

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  6. Superbly put. I'm not a member of the traveller community but I too despair of their awful misrepresentation in the press and popular media. Thank you for writing this.

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  7. well said pip, such a shame its needed in 2013...... keep up the good work x

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  8. I am not Roma but I cringe at the stuff that is allowed to be said about them. As always, you have written an articulate and balanced post.

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  10. closer magazine is published by this sinister bunch http://littlegreenfootballs.com/page/293892_Bauer_Media_Group_asked_to_exp

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  11. Very well written. I will share far and wide. Also thank you carolineholding for the info re the bauer media group. These old islands are sadly slipping ever more towards nazi Germany. ANYONE not white enough is a potential target these days. Bullying from the media, the state, the police and now c -list celebs sticking their evil oars in seems to be the norm in blighty. I cant call it the UK cos Scotland, Wales and Cornwall wants out. Theres a chunk of the next island along that needs returning... Half the north is a separate land... I cant call it GB cos great it aint... As LKJ says Inglan is a Bitch. I'm a new age traveller with Sinti and Rominakhal from either parents side in my blood. I'm "house drawn" for another few weeks.

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  12. Only just seen your blog. She may well have a high IQ, but her ill-informed, knee jerk reaction shows why she got the Loose Women job. She's a disgrace. Very well said, Pip. (Your writing is superb btw and I stand back in awe.)

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  13. an excellent and articulate response Pip, cant believe I have only just seen this. I cannot comprehend in 2013 that anyone can think its ok to be racist either overtly or otherwise, but particularly someone who has the power to communicate a very different message and could actually use their celebrity for the greater good rather than for bigotry, ashamed of "white supremists"!! Keep up the good work look forward to your future posts :)

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