A review of newspaper headlines over several decades indicates strong public interest in Gypsy and Traveller encampments, but very little variation, if any, in the public narratives on the issue. Every single year for decades there has been at least one parliamentary debate and a plethora of written parliamentary questions. All saying exactly the same things!
Perhaps this lack of progress is not really surprising. After all, the whole point about camps is that they are transitory. The camp moves, everyone calms down and some other local issue takes centre stage. We usually see a little flurry at election time but apart from that no single residents group, or MP or ward councillor maintains their interest for long.
But change can happen, we have seen that in Leeds alone where the cost savings from our new ‘negotiated stopping’ approach have been really significant, especially at a time when surely every authority would rather be keeping care homes or libraries open than throwing cash at a never ending merry-go-around.