On the spare ground, across the road from our sparkly new multi-million pound office and manufacturing facility, is parked a traveller community. They arrived sometime over the weekend. There are eight or nine caravans, cars, vans, and mangy dogs. The children play all day. The women clean all day. The men are rarely seen.
I am struck by the incongruousness and anachronousness of this situation. We’re building high-tech state-of-the-art engines, for export all over the world. They’re grubbing an existence from some black market. We stare at each other, two sides of the same road, like economic goldfish.
I haven’t interviewed any traveller. Their lives are unattractive to me. My life may seem equally unattractive to them.
Is it possible for a traveller to lead a “normal” life? If you’ve never been to school, have no address, no birth certificate, no qualifications, no c.v., no literacy(?), is it possible to join society? Would you want to?
The travellers are not trusted. The word around the office is they’re spongers, free-loaders, and thieves. I assume (I don’t know) they pay no income tax, council tax, national insurance, water rates. The gates to the field and some of the fence have disappeared: it could be a coincidence.
Doubtless, someone will complain and, eventually, someone in authority will “do something about them”. The police will move them on again, presumably to restart the cycle elsewhere. I guess it has been like this for decades.