Well, at seven this morning, it finally happened.
Despite all the bravado and bullshit about the barricades, the police took precisely seven minutes to get into Dale Farm. The rest has been fairly predictable – the howls of outrage about “police brutality” being the most predictable of all. It was clear from the coverage at seven this morning that the activists were all too ready to start hurling bricks before the police had even entered the site. This despite the weasel words on the Dale Farm Solidarity site, namely “We need people to come willing to engage in civil disobedience as well as support residents and activists in resisting the eviction through non-arrestable roles.” I venture to suggest that chucking bricks, beating people with a shovel and pissing on them are all arrestable offences. (Unless, of course, you happen to frequent some of the more hard-core clubs in Berlin, in which case they’re about 200 Euros an hour (allegedly)!)
Whatever they may like to think, this whole sorry saga has long since ceased to be about the rights of the travellers, or ethnic cleansing, or children’s schooling, or care of the sick or any one of the myriad issues spun on to the papers and the telly. This is about the rule of law. The travellers have had their day (decade!) in Court and they have lost. Even the liberal worthies in the vegan-hummus stained pages of The Grauniad realise this.
The law has run its course. The travellers have had generous opportunities to leave and now it’s now time for enforcement – the operative bit of that word being FORCE – and where force has to be used then all too often people get hurt. My only surprise is that there have so far been so few injuries and so few arrests.
There can be no backing down now for the authorities. Yield on this point and planning law will be dead in the water. And if that happens then good luck in finding one square metre of grass for Fido to take a dump on in ten years time!