Joe’s crow country

PUBLISHED: 13:58 04 November 2010

JOE TYLER

JOE TYLER

Archant

I’M ALL for campaigners standing up for what they believe in, and a couple of particular protests that have made the news recently have caught my eye – both for different reasons.

I’M ALL for campaigners standing up for what they believe in, and a couple of particular protests that have made the news recently have caught my eye – both for different reasons.

The public furore that erupts every time a gypsy site is mooted for an area has always struck me as amazing, and shows a lack of toleration for those who choose to live their lives differently.

In Exeter last week, protesters against a gypsy site gathered to give their views on why they’re against travellers moving into the area.

No doubt that some of the objections would have been on the grounds of cleanliness to the area, the danger they could cause to children, and the bad reputation they could bring – all negative stereotypes that have held back one of the most persecuted against races on the planet.

It is quite rightly deemed racist to stage a public gripe if any other race were to move into your local area. Imagine a crowd gathering outside a new block of flats that was to house a group of Polish families. It would be considered a xenophobic protest.

Why then, is it different when a new gypsy site is mooted?

It is different if a site is protested against for other reasons – blocking emergency access, or if a town is simply not large enough to cater for more people, are two reasonable reasons why anyone should be not allowed to live somewhere.

But I would be certain that most protesters on marches would be victimising a race that has had to deal with stereotypes for centuries.

Maybe if communities were more welcoming, more tolerant and let those different from themselves live their lives how they choose, then protests would be obsolete.

ANOTHER protest which has made news is the riots in France, which is based around changing the retirement age from 61 to 63.

Ok, so from a British perspective, 63 is an early time to retire. In this country most people carry on until 65, and in Germany, shifts are being clocked in at 67.

However, 61 is what the French are used to. New notions that involve doing more work are rarely agreeable, especially when it involves more work, so I fully support the right to protest against working for longer.

If the retirement age in this country was raised by two years, people would be upset, yet the Germans would still look down on us as lazy as many Brits are doing to the French right now.

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