Gypsies and Travellers look for more political clout

New guest blogger, Mike Glover, reports on how the communities are seeking to gain more autonomy over their lives through politics
 A new pressure group that represents the views of Gypsies and the travelling community is hoping to lobby the main political parties at Westminster.
Representatives from a number of existing organisations are getting together to try to mobilise their community to use its votes at local and national elections, above all to protect their way of life.
Historically, the percentage of people within the community - which estimates its own size at a million or more - who register to vote and engage in the democratic process has been low. This has various causes but the prime one is that their nomadic lifestyle has made it difficult to register a permanent home address with electoral officers.
Now, as more travellers live on designated caravan sites and others have permanent addresses, the barriers to engaging in the democratic process are coming down. Community leaders have taken note, and are working to make their voice heard and to prevent discrimination and laws that interfere with their way of life.