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The Pontins blacklist

“Secret Pontins blacklist prevented people with Irish surnames from booking”, reports the Guardian.

For the benefit of readers not from either the UK or Ireland, Pontins is a company that runs holiday camps, and 90% of British or Irish adults who read that headline understood without reading another word that it was not the Irish in general that Pontins wanted to blacklist, it was Irish Travellers. (The Travellers, or Mincéiri as the current term is, are a separate ethnic group to the Gypsies or Romani but are often grouped together due to their similar way of life.) Reports of this incident from several sources, such as this later Guardian article by Séamas O’Reilly that I saw after most of this post had been written, confirm that people with those names were not banned from Pontins outright, it was rather that Pontins staff were told to check their addresses against the postcodes of Traveller sites before allowing them entry.

The Guardian continues,

Outrage over anti-Traveller list of ‘undesirable guests’ that was sent to booking operators

A blacklist circulated by the holiday park operator Pontins telling its staff not to book accommodation for people with Irish surnames has been described as “completely unacceptable” by Downing Street.

The list of “undesirable guests” was sent to booking operators, who were told: “We do not want these guests on our parks.” It said: “Please watch out for the following names for ANY future bookings.”

The list, which included names such as Carney, Boylan, McGuinness and O’Mahoney, was an example of “anti-Traveller discrimination”, a spokesperson for Boris Johnson said. The document had a picture of a wizard holding up a wand and staff declaring: “You shall not pass.”

The Guardian did not open comments for that story. As I said in 2011, that is because it knows perfectly well that Guardian readers hate gypsies and travellers.

However the Times did allow readers to comment on its report of the same events, “Pontins had blacklist of Irish surnames”. The comments, as I knew they would, consisted almost entirely of personal accounts of being the victims of theft, violence and intimidation at the hands of Travellers. This outpouring reminded me of something, but I could not put my finger on what. Then it came to me: the #MeToo movement. That came about when women compared notes about their bad treatment by predatory men. Exchanging their “Me, Too” experiences gave these women the knowledge that they were not alone and brought forth a demand that men in general should examine and change their behavioural norms. The #MeToo movement for women was celebrated by modern society, even when it degenerated into condemning men as a group without trial or investigation. Take note of both halves of that sentence. To forbid people to speak of their bitterness only embitters them more. But the historical record of “Speak Bitterness” movements should terrify anyone who cares about justice.

One of the most highly recommended comments to the Times article came from Patrick Joseph Maloney, who said,

As an Irishman with a name that might have made the list, I sympathise with companies that have to walk this tightrope of exclusion and inclusion.

Not all Irish Travellers are guilty of bad behaviour but a sufficiently large enough minority are.

I understand that the Chinese government recently introduced classes for their tourists on how to behave abroad?

Perhaps Traveller rights groups might consider similar moves as an alternative to simply waving the race and discrimination card? The problem is not one of race….. but behaviour.

The government says it wants to end prejudice against Travellers and passes laws to forbid discrimination against them. Mr Maloney’s comment illustrates how spectacularly that effort to bring about goodwill by law has failed.

Some readers, particularly those new to libertarian ideas, will find it hard to believe that anyone could have any other motive than hatred of Travellers for saying that it would be better for all parties, including the Travellers themselves, if there were no such laws. I can only beg such readers to ask themselves if our current policy is working. People who have done nothing wrong being turned away merely for appearing to belong to a certain ethnic group is clearly unjust. But that is not a description of the bad old days before the Race Relations Act 1965 and the many anti-discrimination laws that followed, it is a description of life in Britain in 2021 with all the laws in place. All that has been achieved by more than half a century of ever-increasing punishments and social pressure is to ensure that these days the “undesirables” are usually excluded by means of a nod and a wink. Whichever Pontins employee wrote that list was unusually careless to put it on paper. But the fact that they did put it on paper, complete with jokey reference to The Lord of the Rings, shows how accepted anti-Traveller hostility is. You don’t put Gandalf clip art on top of an announcement that is likely to be met with outrage. The writer assumed that the staff would accept what he or she saw as the obvious need to keep Travellers out. Evidently most of them did accept it: the blacklist operated for quite some time before someone blew the whistle. I do not consider it wicked to ask what experiences brought the Pontins staff to this state of mind. I assume that there was an implied “after what happened last time” there.

Open prejudice is less cruel than secret prejudice. The sign in the boarding-house window saying “No blacks, No Irish” can be argued against. The quiet word to a member of staff about those people cannot be. A company that openly refuses the custom of members of certain groups purely on account of their race can be challenged – and they lose the custom. But turn them away with a smile and a lie and it can go on forever.

For some, that outcome is fine. What they object to in the anti-racism laws is not that the laws make racism worse but the laws put them to the inconvenience of having to lie. To be clear I object to these laws in principle (people should be free to associate with whom they please) and because I want to see a world where people are judged on what they have done as individuals, not on what someone else with the same surname did. True, there is evidence that the crime rate among Travellers is statistically high, and it is no more wrong to suggest that they need to ask themselves what they should do to change those parts of their subculture that are harmful than it is to urge that males or whites should do the same. But before you condemn the Travellers as a group remember that, like all of us, they have been moulded by their history. Ach, why repeat myself? I said it in my post of 2011 as well as I ever will:

“Welfare” has continued its steady work of ruin. I read a very fine article in the Telegraph about a decade ago which I cannot now find. It described with sadness rather than hostility how, although gypsies had lived half outside the law since time immemorial, there had at one time been countervailing incentives to build relationships of trust with settled people. The gypsies had regular circuits and seasonal work. They needed pitches, employment and customers. They needed people to remember them from last time as good workers and fair dealers. Welfare has eroded that, and their former means of making a living have gone the way of the cart horse and the tin bucket. Nor is the difficulty just that technology has moved on, it is also that the bureaucratic net of form-filling and taxes has tightened so that the casual jobs they once could do within the law must now be done outside it. As in the drugs trade, in illegal trade in labour where there can be no redress for swindling on either side, such swindling is commonplace.

In that post I also said much more hated Travellers and Gypsies had become in my village since I first came to live there. Since then it has only got worse. But, as I also said back then, “I really don’t think it is the gypsies themselves who have changed so much. What has changed in the last few years is that they have become a state-protected group. God help them. State protection is better than state persecution as cancer is better than a knife in the ribs.”

Nine years later the cancer is further advanced. For all that, I do not think it is incurable. Human nature is immutable, but laws are not. For now reversing the spread of “equalities” legislation seems politically impossible, but as the years go by and ever-multiplying laws against hate never seem to reduce it, people of goodwill will start to wonder if it might be time to try another strategy.

33 comments to The Pontins blacklist

  • When poor Irish came to America in numbers after the potato blight, certain of their living habits (e.g. keeping animals and humans in the same shanty) caused problems for the cities they congregated in – Boston had its first cholera outbreak, for example. The US catholic church took the approach that Natalie suggests: Bishops and priests (for Christian reasons and also conscious that locals’ anger at e.g. deaths from cholera could reflect on catholics) worked hard to educate these Irish in US mores.

    As the 1800s wore on, people began to distinguish between the ‘shanty’ Irish and the ‘lace-curtain Irish’ as a shorthand for noting evolving behaviour probabilities. As the behaviour ratios changed, others’ approach to the Irish changed. In 1890, you could still see occasional “No Irish need apply” signs in the US but they they vanished over the next decade or so – by choice not legal compulsion, which is to say, the attitudes that caused them to be posted also vanished.

    Thus it’s not like the anti-PC approach lacks examples of success – or the PC approach examples of failure. During the Weimar republic, both German state authorities and the Central Union of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith (Central-Verein Deutscher Staatsbürger Jüdischen Glaubens) prosecuted (often successfully) many, many hundreds of criminal and civil cases of anti-semitic remarks under Weimar’s extensive anti-speech-discrimination laws, which had much in common with modern ones. They were still winning cases and presenting others in January 1933.

    At that time, the British state and British Jewish groups did not do the same because the UK did not have such laws. The rare anti-semitism-involving libel case (e.g. the two between Churchill and Lord Alfred Douglas in 1923 over Douglas’ claim that Churchill manipulated battle of Jutland news in WWI to enable Jewish speculator profit) merely underscores how far more free-speech-oriented the UK was in such areas at that time.

  • Maureen S. OBrien

    That’s the Oscar Wilde guy? That Lord Alfred Douglas?

    He had a political career, seriously?

  • suburbanbanshee

    Oh, and there was recently an episode of American Detective (hosted by Joe Kenda) which featured a Romani serial burglar/rapist who killed at least one person. He was a real piece of work, who managed to commit crimes in Arizona and in Florida on successive days. When they caught him, they found out he’d taken over an abandoned house and had filled it with ill-gotten goods, including all the wedding rings he’d stolen from women he raped. He had also been part of various scam operations, but his scam friends apparently had no knowledge of the burglaries he committed on the side. (And I think they really didn’t, because it endangered them and because he kept pretty much everything that was stolen, except for shoes and stuff he used for himself.)

    But most people don’t really encounter Romani or Travellers, in the US, or not to know about them. We have so many different ethnic groups that it doesn’t really come up, unless you’re in law enforcement or social work.

  • Phil B

    readers may recall the “Traveller” family that caused such disruption in New Zealand and were a crime wave in themselves:

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/unruly-tourists-traveller-family-back-in-the-united-kingdom-after-new-zealand-holiday-from-hell/7HQL3FJTTXYIXJLDD47SUCERPU/

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8282613/traveller-family-sue-new-zealand-mayor/

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6636919/Traveller-family-caused-havoc-New-Zealand-lands-UK-moaning-holiday-hell.html

    Googling the story will bring up many more hits. But if you read their account, it is all a conspiracy against them and they did not do ANYTHING wrong.

    Pontins are quite right in seeking to avoid people like these from disrupting the holidays of all the rest of their clients and damaging the place. But you are not allowed to protect the interests of your business and your clients from such behaviour.

    Years ago, Britain used to lock the criminals up and allow the law abiding to walk the streets. Nowadays, the criminals roam the streets with impunity and the honest cower in their homes, defenceless against their predation.

  • McGuinness

    WOW!! Surprised to see my surname included in the list of Traveller surnames! And I’ve been around for quite a while!

    But that just lends weight to the point I would make which is that the Irish Travellers are NOT a distinct ethnic group. They are as Irish as the rest of us. We may perhaps consider they may be a separate tribe (or a group of tribes) due to their nomadic lifestyle, but no more than that.

    Their recent ethnic designation is a triumph of activism over common sense and will only restrain, not promote, the necessary cultural adjustment to the modern world as described by Niall Kilmartin above.

  • Bobby b

    Substitute “USA” and “black” into the appropriate spots in this article. Then tell me how it differs.

  • Snorri Godhi

    A very insightful series of articles: this post, the 2011 post with a link here, and the 2004 post with a link in the 2011 post.

  • Stonyground

    Apologies for being OT but I thought that today’s Dilbert cartoon might be of interest.

  • Tim Worstall

    “Exchanging their “Me, Too” experiences gave these women the knowledge that they were not alone”

    I think it was you, Natalie, who pointed out two decades ago that this is exactly what blogs and the internet provided to us all more generally. No longer were we isolated misanthropes but networked libertarians. Or something of that ilk…..

  • Paul Marks

    The modern world, or rather those with POWER in the modern world, insists that people ignore their own experiences.

    If, for example, people repeatedly get robbed or their property damaged by members of a certain group the natural response is to draw conclusions about that group, but to do that is now forbidden. People must, by law, hold to theory – and reject experience. It is quite TRUE that not every member of a group will act in the same way, we are all individuals with free will (the soul – in the Aristotelian sense), but over human history learned experience of how X group of people behave has informed conduct. This is now forbidden – we may not take account of past experience when making decisions. That is prejudice – to “pre judge” a present situation, based on past experience, and prejudice is held to be a very bad thing indeed.

    This is indeed a bold experiment in human life. It is not liberalism as such liberals as Gladstone would have understood the term, it is part of the New Liberalism (the rejection of all practical human experience in life) that now dominates social matters.

    For example, it is very unwise now to ask people, including Irish people, the question “how do Tinkers generally behave?” – if people are blunt they are going to give replies that would get themselves into trouble, and get you into trouble if you repeat what they say.

    So it is safer to be SILENT – again this is not liberalism as the term was traditionally used (liberals were not known for being silent rather than upsetting some people with their opinions), but it is what liberalism has come to be.

    And even silence is not perfect safety – as Frankfurt School Marxism, which increasingly dominates the Western World, holds that “silence is violence”.

    In short one must not just avoid expressing opinions that are considered prejudiced or “bigoted”, one must actively express the opposite opinion. One must express, and strongly express, opinions that one believes to be FALSE.

    The modern world, or rather the powerful within the modern world, hold that we must all express (and strongly express) opinions that are the opposite of what our experience of life teaches us.

  • Paul Marks

    As for drawing conclusions from the experience of OTHER people (say one’s parents or grandparents) as cultures have done throughout human history, this is even more forbidden.

    It is just possible (although not likely) that a person will be forgiven for expressing a “prejudice” if they personally have suffered from an attack – but certainly not if they are expressing the experiences of other people over time (a culture).

    Conservativism, acting upon the basis of the experience previous generations (the historical culture), is forbidden now.

    Conservatism is treated as “Crime Think” – criminal thoughts.

  • TDK

    Under the rules of identity politics, the only explanation for disparate outcomes is racism (or another identity-ism). Therefore your assertion, that there is evidence that the crime rate among Travellers is statistically high must be, logically, false. The refutation may take the form of blaming racist crime recording or racist law enforcement, but either way the racism can be taken as axiomatic.

    I don’t believe the Guardian’s paying readers are actually as unwoke as you imagine – viz: it knows perfectly well that Guardian readers hate gypsies and travellers. It’s more likely that, being a non-paywall site, it’s comments provide one of the few means to push back against identity politics without outing oneself in middle class circles, risking career and social outcast status. I doubt those critics pay for content.

  • John Tee

    Around the UK you will find a lot of car parks that will not allow caravans, motor caravans or even camper vans to park. It is not because anyone is against caravans, motor caravans and camper vans per se …

    To be fair, size can be an issue too, but in tourist areas a lot of potential custom arrives by motor caravan, and generally authorities would much rather be able to accommodate them.

  • Paul Marks

    As for anti discrimination laws…. logically they should be applied to OPINIONS.

    Why, for example, should a manager in a company be dismissed because many years before he has expressed (and not in work time) opposition to “Gay Marriage”? And why should someone be denied financial services because the banks (which act as a cartel) and the payment processers (there are few of them) do not like the religious, political or cultural opinions of that person?

    If the state has the right to declare to private companies “you must do business with members of X group” why should this not apply to all groups, not just to certain groups that the state happens to like?

    If people can be denied service or fired from their jobs simply because of their opinions (and not even for expressing their opinions during work time) this does rather make a nonsense of legal concepts such as “common carriers”, “public accommodations” or “anti discrimination” – either these doctrines apply to members of all groups, or they apply to members of no group.

    Both Poland and Texas are already seeking to apply Civil Rights principles against Social Media companies who discriminate on the basis of political and cultural stance – which contradicts the claim of these companies to be “Neutral Public Platforms”, but this anti discrimination doctrine could be applied generally.

    “The company dismissed this person because we disagree with their stance on abortion [or some other political or cultural matter]”, could be treated the same way as “the company dismissed this person because we found out that they had BLACK ancestry”.

    The Milton Friedman view of Corporations, that they were just interested in making money – not in pushing political and cultural agendas, is (sadly) not in line with real-world experience. Perhaps it is time that the law took account of the world as it (sadly) is, rather than holding to an illusion of what the world is like. After all the position of the modern left on Social Media companies (and other Corporations) “they are private companies – so they can anything they like” would logically apply to the position “the company dismissed this person, because we found out they had black ancestry” or “we denied this person a bank account – because we do not approve of their religion, or their political beliefs”.

    There is no consistency – some people are protected, but other people are not. Either all people should be protected from discrimination – or none.

    As for the argument that we choose our beliefs, but we do not choose our physical bodies – that is not in line with the fashionable philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham or even J.S. Mill (yes even Mill) all of whom denied free will and said that we do NOT choose what we believe.

    In short that I have no more free will over my beliefs than I do over the colour of my eyes or my SKIN.

  • DP

    Dear Miss Solent

    Gift select groups a lifetime’s supply of get-out-of-jail-free cards and they will use them.

    Colour me surprised.

    DP

  • Equally, incentives matter as Pontins (no doubt) knows too well. I doubt this policy of Pontins arose from bigotry so much as from experience of multiple incidents of Irish traveller misbehaviour over many years.

    If you make “reasonable discrimination” unlawful then you’ll get super secret hidden discrimination such as this, not because Pontins are bigots, but because they recognise that there is a cost to allowing Irish travellers access to their sites which is significantly greater than the value of their custom.

    In truth, Pontins are no more bigoted against Irish travellers than the rest of the settled community. It is not Pontins who are at odds with reality, it is the law providing them with protections for their unlawful and anti-social behaviour against the rest of the law-abiding majority.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    What an insightful, well-judged article this is, Natalie. The point about it being better if prejudice is in the open rather than hidden is a good one. Better the Devil you know, etc.

    The point about educating people on how to behave – such as with tourists – will outrage those who claim that is never right to try and set people on the right track when outside of their familiar environment, but why? We Brits are often (rightly) chided for being crap at learning foreign languages, and I don’t usually hear people complain when that point is made. During WW2 US airmen and soldiers were given short pamphlets on how to behave in England so as to not annoy the locals; British squaddies were told the same when packed off to West Germany (“don’t try and steal the other guy’s dates”) etc. There is something in that idea of orientating people in how to behave in certain environments, and it is perverse that certain groups are considered so put-upon that it is wrong to spell out a few dos and donts.

  • That’s the Oscar Wilde guy? That Lord Alfred Douglas? Maureen S. OBrien (March 6, 2021 at 11:42 pm)

    Yes.

    He had a political career, seriously?

    More like a public domain career. Douglas launched and won the first libel trial (against Churchill’s counter-accusations Douglas had bigotedly lied about him) because the judge and jury, though both made very clear they thought the accusation against Churchill was utter garbage, decided that malice had not been sufficiently proved – so Douglas ‘won’ on ‘absence of malice’ with a farthing’s damages.

    Foolishly, Douglas then republished the accusations in thousands of leaflets explicitly claiming that if Churchill did not sue him again it would be an admission of its truth – and he sent one to Churchill. The British government then lost patience and decided that, as Churchill had written the Jutland communique as government business, it was proper for the state to spare him the personal expense of a second civil case, so – very unusually in UK practice – they launched a case of criminal libel, forcing Douglas to defend himself on ground of truth, not just absence of malice. Inevitably, he lost and was sentenced to six months, albeit he got to spent most of them in the easier location of the prison hospital. In 1941, Lord Alfred composed a passable poem to Churchill by way of apology. Churchill asked the intermediary to “Tell him from me that time ends all things.”

    Criminal libel cases were incredibly rare – my point about this case being the exception that proves the rule about the UK’s free speech culture in matters political at that time.

  • Fraser Orr

    I’m afraid I’m a little less sympathetic to Pontins than the rest of you. I’m also in favor of free association (or non association) from a legal standpoint, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it is a dreadful thing to refuse to seat African Americans in your restaurant, or refuse to let homosexual couples to enroll their kid at your school, or let women join your golf club. (Or for that matter, allow a white person to translate a black person’s poetry.) Of course if some specific African American or homosexual couple of woman or translator is behaving in a manner that would be disturbing to your other patrons, enrollees, golfers or poetry readers[*] then that is a different matter. But to exclude people based only on their last name, and, come to that, to exclude people simply because they are Travelers is really a pretty scummy thing to do. Unless, as I say, that specific Irish person or Traveler has shown his behavior unsuitable to your facility.

    However, I suspect that the number of people excluded is small enough, and the appeal of a “Traveler free holiday” large enough that this revelation, short of criminal or administrative sanction, will probably be beneficial to Pontins. I’m not sure that is a good thing.

    Hi de hi.

    [*] assuming the one being excluded is being the dick rather than the one being offended.

  • AFT

    If people can be confident that the law will be enforced downstream, then they’ll be less likely to head trouble off at the pass by discriminating upstream. In other words, if the objective is to reduce discrimination and prejudice against Travellers (or any other group), then the best course of action is to make it a priority for the police to respond whenever trouble kicks off and to make sure that troublemakers are (1) promptly removed from the premises where they are causing trouble and (2) dealt with firmly when it gets to court.

  • Snorri Godhi

    In reply to Fraser: my understanding of Natalie’s post, is that it is the government’s fault if it becomes rational for people to discriminate against Travellers.
    (See also AFT’s comment above.)

    Now, if it becomes rational to discriminate against a group, you cannot turn around and say that we should not discriminate anyway, no matter how much it costs to be “tolerant”.

    I say this as someone who sympathizes with Travellers, for 2 reasons:

    * I am somewhat of a traveller myself, having lived in 7 countries (and 8 or 9 cultures, counting Southern and Northern Italy separately; and maybe the mostly-Russian and mostly-Estonian parts of Estonian towns separately :).

    * I am inclined to the view that anybody who has more net worth in real estate than they can afford to lose, is akin to a serf: bound to the land.

  • Phil B

    @Fraser Orr March 7, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Pontins are not discriminating against those people based solely on their name. They also look up their address and postcode and see where they live. If it turns out that the address/postcode is Pikey Caravan Park, Chav Lane, Somewhere in the Countryside, then they decline the booking.

    If the address is to a residential street in a town then the booking will be accepted.

    Their only mistake was to have a printed instruction which could be uploaded to a website or similar.

  • Paul Marks

    A lot of good comments.

    I would expressly praise the first comment – by Niall. Very well written – and true.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Phil B
    Pontins are not discriminating against those people based solely on their name. They also look up their address and postcode and see where they live. If it turns out that the address/postcode is Pikey Caravan Park, Chav Lane, Somewhere in the Countryside, then they decline the booking.

    Would you be OK with it if they had a filter that checked for “black sounding names” and then they looked up the address to see if it was in a “black” neighborhood. After all crime is, for whatever reason, higher among the black community? I wouldn’t be ok with that at all. I am sure there are some lovely people living, due to unfortunate circumstances down Chav Lane. Shame that you would compound their misfortune by denying them even the relief of a holiday.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri Godhi
    Now, if it becomes rational to discriminate against a group, you cannot turn around and say that we should not discriminate anyway, no matter how much it costs to be “tolerant”.

    I think rational only in a narrow context, since you are only looking at one side of the coin. Free association with people different than yourself (and consequently people with different opinions, skills and experiences) is an intrinsically profitable thing. So you are trading that big benefit for the small benefit of being distanced from a group with a slightly higher crime rate. FWIW, I have never met a traveler, and would probably enjoy the opportunity to buy him a beer in exchange for a bit of understanding of his life.

    After all, men have a quite dramatically higher rate of crime and violence than the rest of society, so perhaps Pontins should not accept bookings from men. However, I hold a view, recently quite controversial, that men actually enrich society and the lives of the women and children who live there. So it is not a good trade off.

    I also think there is another intangible that isn’t factored into your rationality calculation and that is just the raw inhumanity of treating people based on immutable characteristics rather than their behavioral characteristics. I very much agree with the person that says poor enforcement of the law increases our tendency to do this. But it is not a good thing to discriminate in this way. It reduces us to our base animal, our us-verses-them tendency that biology has inserted as a hack into our brain, and which we have tried to civilize out of ourselves for the past three hundred years. And it doesn’t make for a better relationship in society. I guess the final point is the “First they came for…” principle: “first they came for the socialists and I did not speak out”. Many of us here belong to a group, males, who have a lot to answer for were we to accept the idea of collective guilt.

    Again, I’m not saying “there should be a law against that”, but we have ways of pressuring people to conform to decency that doesn’t involve the constable or the judge. I think the newspaper publishing stories like this is one such way, and I think it is good this story came out, though, as I said above, I think it will have the opposite effect than it perhaps should.

  • Phil B

    @Fraser Orr

    OK, put your money where your mouth is and open up a holiday facility expressly stating Travellers welcome and let us know how you get on.

    Your second comment including “distanced from a group with a slightly higher crime rate” and “I have never met a traveller” …

    I have never walked down a street in Baltimore or Detroit or one of the more “vibrant” areas of Chicago but have enough sense to predict that I would not be likely to meet a really nice person that would welcome me into their home, feed me and buy me a beer.

    Perhaps you could do that and let me know how welcoming you find the inhabitants living in places with a “slightly higher” crime rate than elsewhere.

  • @Fraser Orr – Feel free to live next to a Pikey encampment for a couple of years and see how your viewpoint changes.

  • The Jannie

    I’m surprised to learn that there is evidence that the crime rate among “travellers” is relatively high. My experience is that 1. they don’t travel and 2. they are set above laws which are routinely applied with alacrity against the rest of us (favoured religions excepted, of course).

  • Fraser Orr

    @Phil B
    OK, put your money where your mouth is and open up a holiday facility expressly stating Travellers welcome and let us know how you get on.

    You first, build a holiday camp that bans men, or that bans black people. After all men are the most violent and criminal sector of society, and the crime rate among black people, in the US anyway, is significantly higher. You are just picking on the Travelers because there are not too numerous.

  • Phil B

    @Frazer Orr,

    I bow to your greater experience of Travellers, their lifestyle and behaviour, their contribution to society and their effects on the areas that they inhabit.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Fraser: you are completely missing the point.

    So you are trading that big benefit for the small benefit of being distanced from a group with a slightly higher crime rate.

    That “slightly” is the first piece of bullshit. How do you know how much higher it is?

    After all, men have a quite dramatically higher rate of crime and violence than the rest of society, so perhaps Pontins should not accept bookings from men.

    This is another piece of bullshit. Most men book holidays for themselves and their wives/partners, and presumably most women book holidays for themselves and their husbands/partners. It would be inane to block bookings from husbands but not from wives.

    But fundamentally, you have completely missed the point, that it is rational to discriminate against people ***when the government discriminates in their favor***.
    The UK government does not discriminate in favor of men.
    (But at least, it does not seem to discriminate against them to the extent that the US government does.)

    I also think there is another intangible that isn’t factored into your rationality calculation and that is just the raw inhumanity of treating people based on immutable characteristics rather than their behavioral characteristics.

    This is the worst bullshit: that people deciding what is in their best interest, should keep in mind vacuous principles.

    Did i mention that i am reading yet another history of the Mongols?

  • Fraser Orr (March 8, 2021 at 4:16 pm), in view of the powerful disincentives today’s culture inflicts on discriminating behaviour (unless to favour woke proteges), I’m surprised you talk of Pontins discriminating to gain

    the small benefit of being distanced from a group with a slightly higher crime rate

    Pontins obviously thought the benefit of the policy was not quite so small and slight that it outweighed the cost of not having it, whatever that was – holidaymakers giving dire reviews because of “the horrible people that also go to Pontins”, or staff threatening to strike because of these unpleasant clients, or slender profit margins destroyed by pretend holidaymakers actually there to pilfer, or all of these.

    It could be that the owner of Pontins is armed so strong in bigotry that the terrors of cancel culture pass him by as an idle wind he respects not 🙂 – or it could be the owner once had an unpleasant experience with a mincéiri. But I suggest it took just a soupcon of unreflecting prejudice on your own part to write the words I bolded without (apparently) reflecting on what frequent undiscourageable visits from ‘holidaymakers’ who are actually looters could do to the profits and long-term solvency of a firm operating in a highly competitive (and currently virus-depressed) market.

    One might compare New York taxi drivers, themselves mostly minority, who, it is reported, still obey only intermittently the now-decades-old law that they must be as ready to pick up a young black male as any other fare. One could truly speak of a (fairly) slight chance that any particular fare will murder them (though not of the small benefit of avoiding that) while recognising the rational, non-racist reasons why the law wins but grudging obedience. By contrast, merely avoiding crushed profits or bankruptcy is small beer – but how anti-discrimination-law-abiding would any of us be, as taxi driver or as holiday camp manager, if it were our firm going bankrupt, our job being lost or our life on the line?

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri Godhi
    Fraser: you are completely missing the point.

    I frequently do 😊

    That “slightly” is the first piece of bullshit. How do you know how much higher it is?

    I don’t, I am going to bet it is very hard to measure too, but I do know the massively higher rate of violence and crime of men verses women. I could look up the number but it probably isn’t worth doing since I don’t imagine you would question this claim.

    This is another piece of bullshit. Most men book holidays for themselves and their wives/partners, and presumably most women book holidays for themselves and their husbands/partners. It would be inane to block bookings from husbands but not from wives.

    Sure, but what about men who don’t book with their families? Should Pontins ban those sorts of bookings too?

    But fundamentally, you have completely missed the point, that it is rational to discriminate against people ***when the government discriminates in their favor***. The UK government does not discriminate in favor of men.

    Respectfully Snorri, I think that is only one of the points. The first question is “is it right to discriminate” the second is “do government anti discrimination laws help or hurt.”. I think you will see that I have agreed with the second point above. Frankly any sentence in the form of “do the government … help or hurt” I’m going to come down on the hurt side nearly always. But, and that is my point, society’s immune system works by more than the constable and the court. In fact, my guess is that the vast majority of decency and management of bad behavior in society works by other mechanisms completely. And it is in this realm that I am talking about. I don’t think there should be a law against stopping black people sit at your lunch counter, but I think that any business owner with that rule is vile, and should be dealt with by society’s other mechanisms.

    This is the worst bullshit: that people deciding what is in their best interest, should keep in mind vacuous principles.

    I don’t think human decency is a vacuous principle, and I think stripping oneself of human decency for a buck is not profitable to the one who does so.

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