Imagine your local hospital’s parking lot blocked by a set of people who come from outside your area. They drive in in trailers and RV’s and simply park, using up one-fifth of the space, and tell the authorities they expect to be there, clogging up the hospital’s land, for approximately three weeks. Give or take. Depending on the weather. They’re on vacation, see, and decided to move in.
The parking lot, of course, is not set up for campers and trailers. There is no power, no running water, no sewage pipes.
Meanwhile, doctors, nurses and other staff must find parking elsewhere as they arrive for work, and pass by the foul-smelling RVs.
According to a Daily Express article, that’s the situation in Newport, Wales, right now. A group of French “travelers” – Americans would call them gypsies – has taken over the parking lot of the Royal Gwent Hospital. They bring with them their families and a “fleet of luxury cars including two Mercedes”.
They also bring attitude. They will stay until it suits them to leave.
While the hospital is right in saying it could not have prevented the vehicles moving in, it has to ask its attorney what it may do under law. The hospital fears that if it takes punitive action (as it has the right to) it will be seen as discriminatory, as anti-multiculturalism, as at fault. Despite that fact that it owns the land and uses it for the hospital staff.
This is a desperately puzzling situation. Even though the “travelers” claim to be a nomadic people, they also claim the right to live where they like for however long they like. Where in past years the people whose property rights they trampled would have shifted them off by force, these days landowners feel they must take a softly-softly approach.
So medical staff may run late to their work because they cannot find a space to park? Who cares? Who cares if people with no right to stay hijack the parking lot – as others have hijacked other pieces of land, sometimes for months.
“Travelers” are also known in Europe as the Roma, and these days their activities, always suspect, have taken a more sinister tone as a little girl in Greece – cared for and trained in begging and thievery by a Roma family – was recently discovered to be not the couple’s biological child. It was her hair that rescued her: pale blond, she did not match the parents, whose stories shift as their lies change. First, she was theirs. Then she was a relative, and after that, a child of an indigent mother. Today, spilling blame on his wife, the “father” says he never wanted the child in his home. An international search has begun for her genetic parents, a search that gives hope to other parents of missing children.
Meanwhile, the couple who claimed to be the child’s parents are being investigated for obtaining child benefits by fraud.
And now other Roma have moved into a parking lot, all frowns and entitlement.
At the very least, a nation must allow people to enforce its own laws against trespass. Beyond that, the Roma lifestyle – which results in a population of ill-educated children often beaten by their elders – is bad for kids. For their sake, and for the rest of society, bright lights ought to shine on travelers. If their society can stand scrutiny, so much the better, but a social network as secretive as theirs generally has a great deal it wishes to hide.