Yesterday, my friend Ellen was at Dale Farm. Throughout the day, I got texts from her, texts denoting worry, fear and most of all a fundamental sadness and anger at the injustice of the eviction. “I don’t feel like I’m doing enough to help them,” she kept saying. Later in the day, the news broke that the eviction would be put off till Friday at the very earliest, and she phoned me. She told me there was a sense of relief in the air, and she seemed much happier. She told me that her visit to the site had been a profound experience, but she still didn’t feel like she’d done enough to help all of the people. She cares deeply. She is planning on going back when she can.
It is curious, then, that this porky pie appeared in the Daily Mail today. In a quote attributed to Ellen, she allegedly said “I’m here for the protest, I don’t give a shit about the travellers”. Here is a screencap of the offending quote; I will not link to the Mail.
Ellen doesn’t remember talking to a journalist and certainly didn’t–and wouldn’t–say anything of the sort. The quote appears to have been conjured entirely from the imagination of the journalist, Arthur Martin, whose journalistic oeuvre seems to be writing misleading articles about anarchists and travellers. It is hardly surprising that he fabricated a quote, then. The Mail seem to keep him on the books as the one who defames marginalised people and those with political opinions that differ from their own.
Martin made up the quote to suit the Mail’s agenda. It hardly needs saying that the Mail has a history of racism that skims the line just below overt. It suits the Mail to paint travellers as people who are not actually supported by anyone, their only friends being people who fancy a bit of a fight with the bailiffs. The quote Arthur Martin made up smacks of the prejudice that swirls within his own head, that prejudice that makes the Mail salivate for more articles.
It is also telling that he only named Ellen in relation to her boyfriend. The Mail aren’t exactly keen on her boyfriend, either, and relish at the opportunity to defame by proxy. Perhaps the quote was not attributed to Jonnie himself as due to his profile, they would be smacked down far more quickly? It may be an attempt to cover their arses when Ellen complains. Or, perhaps, it speaks volumes on how the Mail view women: girlfriends, without their own merits.
They sell Ellen short, they really do. Ellen is one of the smartest people I know. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Genocide Studies, and was very concerned that the Dale Farm eviction looked a lot like ethnic cleansing. She has talked a lot about this; perhaps the Mail didn’t fancy quoting something she actually said because it clashed so hard with their own agenda?
The Daily Mail is a vile rag full of vile lies. It is dangerous. For every lie they print we must kick up a stink. They cannot get away with this.