Wednesday, September 22, 2010


There have always been elements of society who look for someone to blame when things get a little rough; perhaps they can’t resist scare stories in the press and they get upset and angry, it could be major events or trivial, the evil that is bigotry never sleeps and is never far away. Another common trait is for such people to blame those who are in some way “different” from the main stream, in most cases the ones being picked on are not really different at all but that doesn’t stop the abuse which comes their way when the mob mentality takes over, what the mob perceives is what’s important.

A couple of years ago I went on a travelling holiday in Europe, one country in particular; Poland was a wonderful place to visit and while there a guide pointed out to me a camp just outside of the beautiful sophisticated city of Krakow where several hundred Romany people were living: it took a certain shine off the visit to see the conditions they lived in and the hatred that locals displayed toward them. They were blamed for every petty crime in the area and it struck me hard to think that Poland is arguably the most Christian country in the world with an estimated 90% plus Poles attending Sunday Mass. This is what prejudice and bigotry can do. In a country which would claim to be devoutly Christian this was tolerated, most of the good natured generous Poles I met had no problem with it.

Today in Europe we have millions of Romany people who are living in a situation which is fraught with danger and worsening, the harshness of their lives has been part of their existence for hundreds of years yet some people want to make it worse. Some might argue that France and Italy are two of Europe’s most cultured and historic countries: certainly the French and Italians would. These two countries however are leading the way in carrying out what famously in Tsarist Russia used to be called pogroms: when thousands of Jews were persecuted and expelled from their homes. It was barbarism then and it is now and it’s happening in countries which boast the Louvre and the Sistine Chapel: culture indeed eh? Both of these beautiful famous countries are mired in shame, Romany people are protected from persecution by European law and I hope the European Parliament lands on France and Italy hard.

Predictably we here in the UK are guilty as well: the situation is nowhere as big but when it comes to unreasoned prejudice we are guilty as hell. We have Gypsies from northern Europe who regularly face severe prejudice in the South of England and around the rest of Britain we have “Travellers” who get the same bigotry and wretched prejudice aimed at them. Romany, Tinkers, Gypsies and Travellers have been leading their particular life styles for centuries and they will not change now: why should they? As a local councillor I get complaints when Travellers arrive and more often than not they don’t amount to much when investigated, there is no great number of incidents which require action from the Police: check and see. A regular Traveller’s camp appears near where I stay a couple of times a year and they stay for a month or so and move on. Over my time living here I’ve had 2 cars burned out another car stolen, my house broke into twice and none of it was done by Travellers: what does that tell us?

I believe that Travellers should have proper facilities in each council district to accommodate them when they stop there: this happens in many English towns and it works very well, we ought to be doing the same. As you curl up in your warm bed tonight think of those Romany people women and small children included who are out in the elements because of the brutal actions of some countries who like to refer to themselves as cultured and sophisticated. Do what I’m doing and write to your Euro MP’s and complain, demand that the Euro. Parliament protect these people. The law demands it and so does decency.


Anonymous said...

dear Terry

Note to self. When in power again? Remember to provide facilities for travellers as forgot last time.


Anonymous said...

What a load of mince Mr Kelly. The travellers had nice places built for them, one on the Hurlet Road is a good example and they just wrecked them, fiddled the electricity meters by making 50p's out of ice etc and left the place a dirty mess so it ended up being shut down. Oh mustn't forget they also conned my pensioner mother out of £300 and the police didn't want to know because they were travellers.

Typical that you stick up for them instead of the decent people like my mother and your constituents. I see over in the Paisley Expressions that they are highlighting you for exactly the same thing. These travellers thieve evrything they can when they are in the area so it should not surprise me or anyone else that you stick up for them the same way you stick up for your councillor friend Williams over your voters.

Jim said...

Whatever happened to the travellers base that Renfrew council built up near Dykebar?

I think it was built in the 80's but I see now that it's blocked off with a wee group of burnt out shells there.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

By Anonymous on 22/09/10

Facilities for travellers is a subject which is raised repeatedly: Renfrewshire Council does accommodate them in several ways but not enough. They need a proper place to stop and I will continue to argue for that. I don’t particularly care whether you think me a hypocrite or not.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

By Anonymous on 22/09/10
Among our own local people we have those who wreck their houses: fiddle the electric meters: and leave a mess everywhere, we also have no shortage of those who would rob your pensioner mother if they got the chance.

To suggest that Travellers are more likely to break the law is a classic example of racist bigotry. You should go away and polish your ‘Jackboots’

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

By Jim on 23/09/10
It was closed because of trouble on the site and never reopened, I believe some people preferred to see it close rather than run it and police it properly.

A short term and prejudiced position which has left us with today’s problem.

Anonymous said...

""A short term and prejudiced position which has left us with today’s problem.""

Were Labour not running the council then ????

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

I don't know but it was still as I described it.

Kit said...

"Romany, Tinkers, Gypsies and Travellers"

Your slipshod use of terminology here offends me deeply. 'Romany' is an adjective, the noun is 'Rom'. 'Tinkers' are not a group defined by having no fixed home, but by those who leave their homes for a period of time to travel and trade. 'Gypsies' is a word with the equivalent nastiness of the N word. 'Travellers' is the modern PC term for anyone who eschews living in a house - they are not an ethnic group and to lump in the feckless and criminal with the true Rom really is racist (even if people like you have emptied that word of all real meaning).

The numbers of Anglo-Rom still living the traditional life is miniscule compared to my childhood. They have been managed by do-gooders into infantilism and dependency where once they were the least dependent people on earth. Ask yourself what happened to the horse fairs, the true home of the Anglo-Rom. Closed on Health and Safety grounds.

Please do not sound forth on something about which you obviously have no real knowledge, only what you think is well-meaning rhetoric. It's offensive to me, and likely to others of my people. Yup, I'm one of Them.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...


This has an unmistakeable ring of falseness about it: you have decided for reasons known only to yourself to attack an article which was clearly written to support the victims of France’s draconian treatment of the Travellers; you clearly have your own agenda. With friends like you the Travellers don’t need enemies do they?

“It's offensive to me”

I don’t much care whether you are offended or not and I find your lecture pompous and stupid: I will continue to support the Travellers, Gypsies, Romanies, Tinkers, Pikies etc. etc. whom I come into contact with. Oh and what happened to the Horse fairs was the motor car.

Kit said...

Mr Terry, I was not (as such) attacking the article. I was attacking your ill-informed terminology, and your lumping together of all travelling folk as Travellers. You don't stop being Rom because you stop travelling, anymore than a Scotsman (or should I say Scotchman?) moving to England stops being Scottish (Scotch?). We (the Rom)are an ethnic group. You claim to be writing in support of 'us' yet you use such racist words as 'gypsies' and now the very unpleasant 'pikeys' (a US import derived from turnpike, by the way) and then have the arrogance to tell me I am writing falsely and with 'an agenda'. Names matter as an indicator of mindset and I seriously doubt you are able to effectively represent a community you cannot even label appropriately.

I've just had a thought. Is it because I can write in sentences and use a computer that you think I'm not a true Rom? I'm sure there's some science out there proving that our brains are smaller than 'normal' people.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

“your lumping together of all travelling folk as Travellers”

Wrong, I listed the names of some groups who get badly treated I didn’t suggest they were all the same group.

“I seriously doubt you are able to effectively represent a community you cannot even label”

I never claimed to ‘represent’ any one and I hope you don’t claim to represent them, they have enough problems without that.

“I've just had a thought”
No you haven’t, you’ve been waiting for the right moment to get in this self pitying whinge, are you sure you are a Rom? I’ve met lots of Travellers and Gypsies etc. but they all had backbones.

I will continue to offer help and support to Travellers, Roms, Gypsies where and when I can despite you.

Kit said...

Gadgie, the folki don't need a mush like you to rokker for us. No better than a riffly juk.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...


As I said before the Travellers have enough problems without clowns like you helping them, you are embarrassing yourself and your people.

PT Barnum said...

"As I said before the Travellers have enough problems without clowns like you helping them, you are embarrassing yourself and your people."

You are a very frightening individual, Mr Terry. To actively insult a member of the very minority you are claiming to be defending when they dare to suggest they know more than you do about being a member of that minority requires a level of either arrogance or self-deception which is quite boggling. With allies like you....

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

“Mr Terry. To actively insult a member of the very minority”

He/she started it didn’t he?

How do you know who or what the writer is? He/she like you prefers to stay in hiding.

Anonymous said...

Terry, '...he/she started it'. Dear me, Kit is a Rom and therefore a man. Romni is the feminine. Roma or Roms are more acceptable terms inasmuch as they are self-prefered and also more accurate, but only up to a point. All linguistic signs carry problems. Roms or Roma is not gender neutral and this says something about that culture. Kale and Manush have their own designations that are geographically rather than ethnically related. The whole notion of identifying and grouping people by linguistic or even so-called 'ethnic origin is highly dubious though, and often neglects the social and historical fluidity of all our identities. The former imputes conduct to origin which is a non-sensical idea (we don't 'become' our origins we move beyond them that's why they are called origins). This is what is so ojectionable about France's recent actions (not just the laughable details about hand-outs and airfares). Heaven forefend that some manic character decides once more that it is time for the 'German speaking peoples to unite and assert their ethnic destiny'!!!
I did notice that you do use the word 'Rom' after being corrected by Kit but don't have the common courtesy to thank him for putting you right. Go on, do the right thing, you'll feel better for it.
With mildly polite regards,
Stephen Kirkguard

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Please don’t think that I do not appreciate your efforts but: why are you telling me all this?