I am not really sure what I am allowed to call them anymore, due to my brain failing to keep pace with political correctness.
In my earlier years, they were known variously as ‘Gypsies’, ‘travellers’, ‘pikies’ and ‘Romanies’, but I am, of course, talking about the people who choose to live in caravans and travel from town to town and county to county, stopping wherever they want.
They are constantly an embarassing problem to local authorities and they know how to use the social system to its full advantage. They are continually ‘moved on’ by the police and the sites they create often resemble the local scrapyard; there is not a great deal of desire to be living near their camps. I do not know if they pay their taxes.
Of course, some of them have a long and interesting history and there is confusion between those with a lineage and those who are economic migrants.To most of us, though, there is little difference.
It seems that now they are at the centre of a new controversy, with London boroughs arguing over who should pay for permanent ‘traveller’ camps to be built. Once again the caravan dwellers are pursuing their ‘rights’.
A traveller was quoted on the radio last week, as saying: “Gypsies just want to be accepted”
Surely, though, it is the case that first, they must make themselves ‘acceptable’!