It took numerous hearings, several false starts and enough spewing vitriol to bathe the whole of middle England for a month, but police and bailiffs have moved into the travellers site at Dale Farm, Essex, this morning, to evict those who have refused to abide by the court order.
While reporting on the pushing and shoving, BBC Radio 5live reporter Steven Chittenden was interviewing a sixteen-year-old female resident live. I didn’t catch her name, (doesn’t that just add to the breaking news element of this story? I’m excited) but as she was describing how anxious and frightened she felt about the situation, she used the term ‘scared shitless’.
Reasonably understandable under the circumstances, but the emphasis that 5Live Breakfast host Nicky Campbell put on apologising to listeners for the expletive caught my attention more.
Neither side is without blame in this mess. The travellers at Dale Farm have known for ten years that they were contravening planning laws by setting up camp in that particular location. The local authorities have brought new meaning to the term ‘prevarication’ in their handling of the situation. But really? We’re more worried about radio listeners being offended by the word ‘shitless’ than we are about the venomous, de-humanising comments being offered by them in response to the issue?
Several of them sound like they would applaud the police if they napalmed Dale Farm. Trust me, they’re not going to be offended.
Image: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images.