Fagin's Gang: What the Dickens!

The Pastor Niemoller theme seems to be leaping out at me at the moment.

As 5CC notes, there was an excellent piece by Ally Fogg in The Guardian which deconstructs last week's story about police and social services raids on Romanian families in Slough and the reporting by the media in general.

Contrast the story that appeared in the Express (and the well-informed comments of the BNP huggers) and the one above. Interesting to note that if the police and care workers were to visit many a street in this country that they may find a small percentage worth arresting, a small percentage of which would actually be worthy of a charge, of whom......well you get the general drift.

Of course this is not to condone crime, and I'm careful not to fall into the trap of justifying one misdemeanour because others do it. However, it needs putting in perspective when considered alongside the long-standing campaign of hate against travellers over the years. Many a radio station phone-in is clogged up with listeners claiming to know someone who heard that they don't pick up their rubbish before leaving. This is particularly ironic in this area. when Bill Bryson visited Liverpool for his book, 'Notes from a small island' he described the city of hosting a 'Festival of Litter'. Embarrassing but true.

It does now seem that the story is at the very least, exaggerated. Further investigation by Mr Fogg appears to have elucidated that the press, having been invited to the lynch party, merely accepted the press releases of the local authority and police at face value (which, like the Phil Collins album of the same name, is not to be recommended).

I attempted to make comments on the Express and Mail sites pointing out the flaws, but guess what? Freedomanddemocracy rules huh?

Both papers have been a bit quiet on the subject. Maybe if a little blonde child had been spotted with the Roma, things might have run and run.

Footnote: the pic is a cartoon of Disraeli as Fagin; a useful device used in the past. Given that Disraeli was a One Nation Tory, this sits uncomfortably with the Mail's alleged anti-Semitism and the divide-and-rule agenda of the right-wing press.

The tradition of blaming the travelling community for life's ills is not just confined to the national press. I complained last year about the story in the Wirral News which uses the lazy device of quoting a local worthy who refers to what the feeling is, therefore, in the journalistic playground of the local rags, justifies the headline, Travellers Blamed For Missing Stone.