Priti Patel’s demonisation of Gypsies is an attack on the vulnerable for political gain

This is how it begins: with a theatrical attack on a vulnerable minority. It’s a Conservative tradition, during election campaigns, to vilify Romany Gypsies and Travellers: it tends to play well on the doorsteps of middle England. But what the home secretary, Priti Patel, proposed last week is something else. It amounts to legislative cleansing.