Wednesday, 6 November 2013

No Place To Call Home

Just finished reading Katharine Quarmby's No Place To Call Home which has a lot  of interviews on the Dale Farm gypsy evictions — which ultimately seem to have achieved little at great expense, as many families are still living by the site in worse conditions. She looks at the history of persecution against gypsies and travellers and the book is eye-opening about society's fear of travellers and how in 18th century Britain you could be executed simply for being a gypsy (men by hanging, women by drowning). And how many people realise that half a million gypsies were killed by the Nazis?

Nor is No Place To Call Home a woolly liberal romantic apology for anti-social behaviour. The book makes it clear that some of the crusties at the Dale Farm eviction made things things worse. And that in any community there can be some bad people,while in a self-policing community arguments can sometimes be settled by the strongest fists. But statistically gypsies are not involved in crime any more than any other group and incidents of racism against them are rarely reported because they are not taken seriously.

At times the book is reminiscent of John Pilger writing about Australia's hidden racism against the Aborigines. It makes a moving appeal for decent sites for gypsies and travellers, respect and tolerance rather than relying on rumour and suspicion. 


  1. It's got a very striking cover too. Nicola

  2. Well worth reading a` real eye-opener…

  3. Thank you both for the comments and for the blog, Pete!

  4. No problem, really well-researched book and something to be proud of.