Letter: Middle-aged and New Age face different laws

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The Independent Online
Sir: Today on the M5 I witnessed an example of widespread civil disobedience and defiance of police instructions, as motorists, in the main middle-aged, responsible householders, forced their way to the front of a traffic jam. Needless to say, this dangerous and anti-social conduct went both unremarked and unpunished.

Meanwhile, on the opposite carriageway, a few score young men and women who had the misfortune to look rather different from our middle-aged responsible law-breakers were confronted by several hundred police who obviously regarded it as vital to close an entire motorway to prevent, at worst, the civil wrong of trespass.

This paramilitary operation, the like of which I had only previously seen in my childhood home of Belfast, against New Age travellers appears to have more to do with the obsessions of the Chief Constable for Avon and Somerset than any rational policy. At a time when it is impossible to leave a car or bicycle unattended in Bristol for more than a few minutes with any confidence that it will be there on your return, are there not better uses for his


Yours faithfully,


Grantchester, Cambridge

30 May