Letter: A country too 'small' to support minorities

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: In line with a number of letter writers (20 August) who view the Government's proposals to curtail the activities of 'travellers' with disdain, may I add my own profound feelings of disgrace and shame.

I am ashamed that our nation's leaders cannot see the relevance of supporting the culture and contribution of an ethnic group that has its origins in an India of several thousand years ago; who admittedly may not always lead the 'tidiest' of life-styles - although our constant discouragement of their activities has never assisted - but who all the same add a facet to our national identity that broadens its foundations.

I feel we disgrace ourselves as a nation because we fail to recognise the gypsies as first-class citizens and in doing so present ourselves as a second-rate nation because of our lack of tolerance and humanity.

Is Britain now so small a nation that we cannot 'accommodate' a minority? Certainly illegal and deliberately organised mass gatherings by 'travellers' should be controlled, but my guess is that many people are sympathetic to the gypsies and probably to other travellers. Those who do possess the means to help and the generosity of spirit to respond could be assembled into a network of support which could be spun round our islands and to which the gypsies, especially, could be linked in order that this culture and all its potential could be nurtured and made to flourish rather than decay.

Yours sincerely,

BRIAN JEPSON

Snaiton, North Yorkshire

20 August

Comments