What the AIS has been doing during the Pandemic
Over the last twelve months the AIS along with other travelling associations have spent thousands
of hours meeting, discussing and fighting for the right of Showmen to earn a living in the only way you know how; as Showmen.
To be honest, the result of this hasn’t been that great, but it’s not through the want of trying. The inconsistency of understanding and interpretation by local authorities of the information and guidance coming out of central government has, and is, the main reason for the overall lack of success by the associations, and unfortunately that is in part because local government has the power to do that; legally. The biggest mistake however, that we as representatives of the community have made, is assuming that those outside of this community understand these businesses you provide as well as you do. They don’t. Given below is a list of some of the things the AIS have been doing to try and rectify this problem.
The AIS’s contribution to raising awareness of the travelling Showmen community
In no particular order of importance, the Association of Independent Showmen’s (AIS’s) contribution to this increase for purposes of lobbying is as follows (UK only) 1. Two submissions to the HM Treasury 2. One Submission to the DCMS 3. One submission to the consultation on Red diesel 4. One submission to the Home Office in regards to unauthorised encampments 5. One submission to an independent consultation by Newcastle University on the Human Rights Act 6. Consultation with Barristers on the High Court Appeal over the definitions of ‘Travellers’ as a whole 7. Partook in two (2) All Party Parliamentary Group meetings for Fairs and Showgrounds 8. Submitted a White Paper to the Government as supplemental information for the Westminster Hall Debate regarding travelling Showmen 9. Wrote letters regarding the governments duty to protect a cultural travelling community – Showmen - to the following: (i) The Prime Minster – twice (ii) The Deputy Prime Minister (iii) The Chancellor of the Exchequer (iv) The Leader of the House of Commons (v) The Secretary of State, and Ministers of the Department for Culture Media and Sport – five times (vi) The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy, and Ministers – two times (vii) The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Ministers – twice (viii) The First Secretary to Scotland (ix) The First Secretary to Wales (x) The First Secretary to Northern Ireland (xi) The Leader of the House of Lords (xii) Letters to various MP’s – twelve (xiii) Partook in meetings with Policy researchers from the above Ministries (xiv) Took part in meetings with the Visitor Economy section of the Local Government Association (xv) Consulted and advised the CORRA foundation regarding the Travelling Showpeople Grant in Scotland
The effect of the lobbying to Central government of all travelling associations, showmen/ women for the period of the COVID-19 pandemic taken from the 14th February, 2020 onwards
1. The period start date is based on the Director of Policy of the Association of Independent Showmen (Mr. R. Wilkinson) raising a concern on this date over what was happening in Wuhan, China. 2. In this period to date, terms relating to Showmen as a community/ business have been mentioned 433 times in Westminster. 3. Since 1800 to the present date this equates to 221 (two hundred and twenty one) years. 4. On average therefore these terms relating to the community up until the 14th February, 2020 have been mentioned in Westminster 75 times a year. 5. For the period of 14th February to the current date, these same terms have been mentioned 433 times as part of the lobbying effort of this community, a 577 (five hundred and seventy seven) percent increase on average.
10. Partook in Executive level discussions with the following Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) and officials – (UK Only) (i) The Equalities and Human Rights Commission - CEO (ii) Liberty - CEO (iii) Equally Ours - CEO (iv) The Runnymede Trust - CEO (v) Minority Rights International – twice - CEO (vi) British Institute of Human Rights (vii) Equality Trust (viii) Law Centres Network (ix) Dr Carol Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Education, Buckinghamshire New University (x) Professor Margaret Greenfields, Professor of Social Policy & Community Engagement, Buckinghamshire New University (xi) Baroness Janet Whitaker (xii) Baroness Bull 11. Consulted and conversed with legal actors: (i) Garden Chambers (ii) Cloisters Chambers (iii) Marc Willers QC (iv) Chris Johnson LLP (v) Equality Rights QC’s
Internationally – to bring pressure on the UK government from Human Rights Organisations
1. Submission to the UN on Cultural Rights of Showmen 2. Attended: (i) Two General Assemblies of the UN as a recognised Cultural Rights Defender for Showmen (ii) Took part in two meetings with the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights (iii) Consulted with the former High Commissioner of the Human Rights Council, Mary Robinson (iv) Partook in a meeting with the International Development Law Organization (v) Had meetings with the United Nations Population Fund (vi) Liaised with the Peace Research Institute Oslo
Qualifications and memberships in order to strengthen the position of the Association of Independent Showmen on a National and International level
1. Certificate in Preparedness for Public Health for mass gathering events (WHO) 2. Certificate on Lobbying and Advocacy (International Training Centre of the UN International Labour Organization) 3. Membership to the Chartered Governance Institute