Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Traveller Ping Pong 2

Ping (Incoming 1st January)

Peter - I'm a columnist, I don't do impartiality. The tone I used to make enquiries of pavee point was the same as I would use to any lobby group or politician or spokesperson dodging a legitimate question. But I understand that anything but kid gloves for travellers constitutes unforgiveable discrimination. Again, personal responsibility doesn't arise - if you don't like 'the tone' of the question, but especially the question itself,you have automatically been offended and are entitled to demand legal redress. Brenda P

Pong (Outgoing 2nd January)

You certainly don’t do impartiality, that much has become abundantly clear. Nor perhaps do you do enough research before writing incendiary press articles - “I don't believe for a second that there are 1000 traveller families without accommodation - there are only around 1000 traveller families in the whole country”

You seem to believe that you were hard done by in your dealings with Pavee Point and deserving of sympathy on the topic. Have you any mirrors in your house ? Try reading aloud, to yourself, your venomous article and emails, in a tone of voice that is consistent with the content. Look at yourself in the mirror as you do it. It’s ugly. It might just demonstrate why it would cause more than usual offence. It’s the difference between begging and aggressive begging - the latter is a form of mugging without the actual physical contact, but with the implicit threat of it. You don’t seem to be able to see that.

You deride the bleeding-heart liberals who seek to defend/explain travellers and attribute to them a total blindness to the problems caused by the behaviour of a minority, but too many, of the estimated 25,000 travellers (6.5k families) in the country.

The other side of that “bleeding-heart liberal” picture you paint would be the “red-neck hillbilly” who believes that the only good traveller is the one in someone else’s county, or country (or dead?). Again a minority, but too many.

You cannot believe that the belligerence of your approach could convince the broader traveller community, or their liberal fellow-travellers, that you empathise in any way with them or have any real interest in their issues - “the causes of crime“. Your approach will appeal to the red-neck hillbilly minority, but it will probably alienate the silent majority of the population, who would undoubtedly like to see an end to traveller nomadism but recognise that much more needs to be done to help that community.

What is needed is reasoned, open and robust debate where all parties can acknowledge their shortcomings and set out their issues, with proposed solutions attached - both short and long-term. This would require mutual respect and the avoidance of branding an entire community with the transgressions of a minority of their members. (Or expecting Pavee Point to be responsible for the entire traveller community. No-one expects someone to stand up and take responsibility for Moyross.)

I had hoped, foolish as it now seems, that you might be persuaded to moderate your tone, in the hope that you might actually be someone who would help push forward that honest debate and get the traveller issue much higher up the political agenda.

I don’t propose to waste any more of your time.
Regards, etc

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