Saturday, 17 January 2009

Roma Roma Crap Jobs In Lincolnshire Yes?

This article in the Lincolnshire Echo caught my eye:
Gypsies 'could fill county's job vacancies'

Thursday, January 15, 2009, 07:30

Romany gypsies from countries including Romania and Bulgaria could be invited to Lincolnshire to take jobs previously filled by Eastern Europeans.

Gypsies and travellers currently suffering from persecution in their countries of origin could be persuaded to flee their "squalor" and step into jobs left by Poles returning home.

In Lincolnshire they have predominantly filled jobs in agriculture.

Peter Robinson, portfolio holder for social cohesion at Lincolnshire County Council, told colleagues this week: "If, because of the downturn, we start to see fewer Eastern European migrant workers from Poland and so forth, it's my personal view we could get replacements from Romania and Bulgaria."

He said Lincolnshire could extend a friendly hand to them saying "come to us and get a better deal".

"The main problem of course, whether we like it or not, is that gypsies and travellers are extremely unpopular people to have in the county," he added.

Coun Robinson was speaking during a meeting of the council's local community development and partnerships policy development group, which held talks on a new pilot project to deliver extra housing-related support to gypsy and traveller communities already living here.

But in a written response issued via the council's press office after the meeting, Coun Robinson said it only "might be the case that gypsies and travellers could take up the jobs that Eastern European migrants used to hold".

(Note to councillors: Poles are from Central, not Eastern Europe; and the majority of other European migrant works in Lincolnshire tend to be from Portugal.)

There's something distinctly suspicious about this. Why should a County Council think of 'inviting' in another tranche of European migrant workers to fill vacancies when it should be encouraging local unemployed to take them up - especially now we're in recession?

Not just that, but why choose Roma in particular, a group of people not usually (or stereotypically) noted for their employability? A group also badly treated in their own countries and, like their gypsy ('traveller') counterparts in the UK, often a cause (whether justified or not) of strong local antipathy?

I'm not sure, but I think I have the answer: the European Union's Decade of Roma Inclusion (2005 - 2015).

Presumably the County Council is in receipt of EU funding for the project and has to be seen to be doing something, including a Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month last year.

The first 'summit' of the scheme in Brussels in September, was not without its excitement and disappointments.

Truly, there is nothing the EU (like New Labour) doesn't want to regulate and control (for eveyone's good, of course).

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