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Sunday 22 January 2012

Going After The Roma

Despite the best efforts of the assembled hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, dumping on folks who are not white is not easy nowadays, although the use of other categories, such as “asylum seeker”, “terrorist” and “Muslim” helps papers like the Mail slip a disproportionate number of black and brown faces into their pages and on to their website.

But there is one group that they can kick to their hearts’ content: Gypsies. It was thus with Dale Farm, and now it’s happening with Roma, with the stories kicking off over a Big Issue vendor called Firuta Vasile, who sells the magazine in Bristol city centre, sometimes in a location that those of us who have waited patiently for a Number 9 up to Clifton will know well.

Ms Vasile won her case to claim housing benefit, and thus those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet descended. The story, which started life in the Bristol Evening Post, leapt to the Telegraph. This caused James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole to rant about it, using the language of true moderation: “fleece the British taxpayer ... greedy shysters ... cash-cow welfare state”.

Del Boy then followed up by constructing a strawman of victimhood as he wailed “Why should broke Britain bankroll immigrant spongers?”, and telling his adoring fan club (Sid and Doris Bonkers) that he’d been accused of being “one step away from endorsing Hitler’s death camps” and told that he was “probably a Nazi”. But Delingpole is a mere amateur beside the Mail.

From the moment the Mail got hold of the story, the drip-drip started: “a Romanian immigrant ... Miss (!) Vasile, whose marital status is unknown ... speaking through an interpreter”. Then the story was passed to the punditry, where appalling Glenda (guess who) Amanda Bloody Platell talked ofbullying beggars ... single mothers ... can simply arrive here and help themselves to ... benefits”.

Then, following the warm-up acts, came the Mail investigation, under the by-line of Nick Constable. “One third of Big Issue sellers now Romanian” readers are told, although how the Mail came across this information is not revealed. But what is told is that the job “once reserved (!) for Britain’s homeless has been swamped by Eastern European immigrants. And many of them have homes AND claim benefits”.

And, with the audience coming to the boil, the smears start: “some Roma ‘gypsies’ organise gangs ... turning up ... in luxury cars and intimidate other sellers ... BMWs and Mercedes ... organised crime”. Only at the very end does someone from the magazine get a word in: “They have a legal right to be in this country and a legal right to sell The Big Issue”.

But most minds are already made up. Kick the soft target. It was ever thus.


digitaltoast said...

Not sure whether you're naive, stupid or have a vested interest.

But you've yet to explain in what way the investigation is incorrect. In what way is describing a particular mode of transport a "smear"?

Or is the misery of slave labour and human trafficking all cool in your world?

Tim Fenton said...

It's certainly both naive and stupid to take a Mail "investigation" on trust.

If you have evidence of "slave labour and human trafficking", then you should do the right thing and alert the authorities.

Because that is one thing the Mail hasn't done. Why d'you think that is?

digitaltoast said...

Ah, the old "I read it in the Mail therefore it's not true and I'm not going to research".

Funny, you come across as a Guardian reader, so perhaps you missed this:

and this


and this


and perhaps this


or possibly this


and it's not just in the UK


Perhaps you also missed the Panorama investigation which also exposed the human misery of the Roma gangs.

Or perhaps you just didn't want to see?

Tim Fenton said...

It is not for me to research: you (and the Mail) are making the allegations, or at least suggestions, and so you should be trying to stand up the story.

That is not achieved by shouting "Guardian Reader". The Mail has merely attempted to demonise a group of people, and thus far no evidence has been brought forward to stand up their claims.

That's not to say there isn't any, of course. But the Mail has previous with this kind of journalism.

digitaltoast said...

Actually, it IS up to you to research. You are making allegations that this is some kind of bizarre fantasy invented by tabloid newspapers.

I have given you links to The Guardian, No 2 Human Trafficking, court judgements in the UK and Europe, BBC investigations, oh, and I've just found some pages on Amnesty praising the UK stand against Roma trafficking. I could post endless links to charities and foundations working against this, but nothing would be good enough, would it?

You, apparently, know something all the above organisations do not. But all you've done so far is attempt to smear those trying to expose some fairly brutal right-wing extremist groups and gangs using slaves to steal and defraud.

Tell me, if it was a similar investigation into the BNP, would you give it equal robust defence. After all, it's in the media, it MUST be made up, right?

This is your blog, of course, you can say what you like. But see if you can find a pinprick of conscience at some point and see if you can't find it in yourself to back your claims up. Clearly you have no idea of the scale and misery of modern slavery and the free passage it gets from what appear to be apologists like yourself.

Tim Fenton said...

Wrong again. My post is pointing up a typical piece of Mail attack hackery, which as I have already noted, will not result in any Police action, because they don't have anything that would remotely qualify as evidence.

And nor do you: your argument goes in a circle - it assumes that human trafficking is going on at the outset (as does the Mail).

I also note that you whine about me "smearing" others while making routinely defamatory statements about me ("apologists like yourself").

All I am claiming is that the Mail indulges in evidence free attack journalism. This it does.

This blog does not give any criminality a "free passage".

Your call.

Anonymous said...

The mail didn't research because it doesn't really give a toss i would imagine.