the pork-bolter
No 55, August 2003

Victory on the A27!

A FAMOUS victory has been won by dedicated local campaigners over the road lobby’s threat to ruin what is left of the countryside in these parts. Not only has the disastrous project for a bypass of the Arundel bypass been rejected, but so has the nightmare of an A27 motorway crossing the precious and unspoilt South Downs north of Cissbury Ring, Worthing. All of this was supposed to be getting protection from the new South Downs National Park anyway. But with the Tory county council fighting the park every inch of the way - at the behest of powerful business interests and against the wishes of the large majority of the population - there was still a chink in the armour.

When word hit the streets in June that the schemes were set to get the go-ahead, campaigners wasted no time in taking to the woods. Braving torrential thunder storms and a lack of fresh water supplies, they established a camp deep in the woods on Tortington Common which soon attracted national media attention - hardly anyone can have missed it. Then at the last minute, and against all expectations, the Government dropped its support for the Arundel and Worthing bypass schemes. What a pleasure to see the boot on the other foot for a change and the road lobby freaks left frothing at the mouth in dismay!

Arundel and South Downs MP Howard Flight was certainly caught by surprise, having sent out a statement to local press a couple of days before the announcement welcoming ‘the Government announcement to proceed with a bypass for Arundel’. Mr Flight, as a convicted speeding offender, was no doubt gutted that he couldn’t look forward to racing up and down the new road at 100mph on flying visits to his adoring constituents. A hint as to the reasons why the Government backed down in West Sussex, while ploughing ahead with road plans elsewhere in the country, came in a report on the Evening Standard website on the morning of the announcement (July 9). Written before the decision was revealed, and seemingly expecting the Arundel road to be given the green light, it commented: "The Government will be desperate to avoid clashes with committed activists such as ‘Swampy’ - so-called ‘king of the eco-warriors’. It is still nervous of provoking the kind of confrontations that created ugly scenes at Twyford Down and the Newbury bypass in the late nineties." We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: direct action works!

Those brave few who took to the woods at Arundel for the sake of the watermeadows and the woodlands deserve the thanks of all of us who value Sussex and want it to be remain something other than a vast grey desert of ring roads, superstores and ugly commuter housing estates. And if these road schemes aren’t sneaked back onto the agenda at a later date, as the campaigners fear (but don’t worry, they’re ready to take up the fight again!), the plucky Arundel road protesters could well be the toast of Sussex country lovers for generations to come!

* On Saturday August 9 a celebration walk will be held on the route of the now-rejected Arundel bypass. This will also serve to urge the area’s re-inclusion in the National Park proposed area and declare the intention to fight any future resurrection of the scheme as a result of pressure from road lobby interests. Meet outside Ford railway station at 1.15pm (direct trains from Worthing, Brighton, London and elsewhere). Warning: this may well end up in a pub!

More info:

www.freewebs.com/arundelbypass

www.scar-uk.fsnet.co.uk

our july 2003 updates


On the road to illness

SMALL rises in air pollution can trigger an increased number of potentially fatal heart attacks, an international study has discovered (Independent on Sunday, April 27). Just thought we’d mention it, in case anyone out there still thinks an endless supply of more "wealth-creating" roads and airports is good for anything except disease, misery and death.

Council’s rubbish ideas

WONDERFUL Worthing council has come up with plans to make the rubbish collection service EVEN better than it already is after the recent changes. And residents are being asked to chose between two exciting new options:

Option 1) Householders ensure maximum collection efficiency by, on their allocated day, taking all rubbish to a new special pick-up point at the civic amenity site in Dominion Way, between 1.30am and 4.30am. From there it will be collected and taken to the civic amenity site in Dominion Way.

Option 2) Householders take all rubbish out into the street in front of their homes and tip it out on to the roadway. Passing traffic will scatter the refuse and it will be harmlessly absorbed into the urban environment! The great thing about both these options is that they involve no cost whatsoever to the council, leaving it free to spend money on more pressing issues such as Sheila Player’s expense account and £32,000 a year pensions for life for ex chief executives. And all for a council tax increase of just 18%. Unbeatable value!


Caught up in Seroxat nightmare

THERE was an immediate response on several fronts to our article in the last Porkbolter about Seroxat, the drug made by Worthing firm GlaxoSmithKline that has been linked with nightmare battles against addiction and both attempted and successful suicides. Within days of our publication, on June 10, drug regulators banned its use for under-18s because, reported The Guardian, "it can cause young people to become suicidal" (is there a magical change in the human body once you reach your 18th birthday which means you are no longer affected this way?)

Also, a number of readers contacted us to report bad experiences of the drug within their families. Wrote one woman: "I had my own nightmare experience when I was prescribed these for some months a couple of years or so ago - the side effects were absolutely awful and trying to come off them was even worse. I went cold turkey in the end (exactly what you’re not meant to do) and came off them, thank god."

Another reader told us: "My daughter was a victim of Seroxat - starting off two years ago with an average case of post-natal depression - and against my fervent advice she went to her GP who prescribed Seroxat and within days she was seriously suicidal. Every time she went back to the doctors and later psychiatrists they prescribed more of it and she and baby finally finished up in a ‘clinic’ where she was for 18 weeks completely mad - suicidal most of the time - sometimes so seriously that she had to be incarcerated and on one-to-one watch.

"During all of her time under psychiatrists and in the clinic it was only I who said ‘she’s reacting to the drug’ to which they said: ‘Nonsense it’s quite safe and it makes people well - it’s her illness that’s making her suicidal so she needs more of it’. They finally put her up to the highest dose a psychiatrist can legally prescribe and when she went completely screaming smash-up-your-room crazy they said that it ‘wasn’t working’ - not that she was having an adverse reaction, which was my claim. They then withdrew her from it in five days!

"My daughter’s anxiety went off the planet and she nearly did kill herself. It has also taken her a very long time to recover from having her mind taken over by something completely foreign to her own nature. I have finally persuaded her to take legal action against GlaxoSmithKline."

* If you have been affected by Seroxat and would like to join in a group legal action against GlaxoSmith Kline, contact solicitors Hugh James on 0800 1383178 or go to www.hughjames.info There is a time limit, so get in touch as soon as you can.


Big Brother Grows Up

Our regular series of updates on how Orwell’s nightmare is coming true:

* IDENTITY cards will be compulsory for everyone and it will cost nearly £40 each to get one, the Government has decided (Sunday Times, July 6). "Each card will contain biometric data, such as an image of a person’s iris or fingerprint" and "the government will hold information on the population on a central computer database". Home Sec David Blunkett was quoted as saying: "There is a highly organised minority who will campaign vocally against a scheme". Not as highly organised and not so much of a minority as the people who are bringing it in, though...

* REGIONAL states of emergency with special draconian police powers will be possible for very little reason if the government’s draft civil contingencies bill goes ahead (The Guardian, June 20). The frightening state powers would include "allowing police to order evacuations, confiscate property and animals without compensation, ban demonstrations and travel and impose curfews". Meanwhile the definition of what constitutes an emergency "is to be extended to deal with crises ranging from environmental spillages to an attack on the internet. It also covers those which ‘affect national security, human welfare, and political, administrative or economic stability’." Not without reason, the Guardian’s editorial described this as "potentially the greatest threat to civil liberty that any parliament is ever likely to consider." Then in the next breath the oh-so-liberal newspaper added: "That does not necessarily mean that it should not be passed." Errr.... Doesn’t it?

* THE Pentagon is developing a radar-based device that can identify people by the way they walk, for use in a new "anti-terrorist" surveillance system (Associated Press, May 19). It has financed a research project at the Georgia Institute of Technology that is claimed to have been 80 to 95 per cent successful in identifying people. Said the internet newswire report: "If the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, orders a prototype, the individual ‘gait signatures’ of people could become part of the data to be linked together in a vast surveillance system the Pentagon agency calls Total Information Awareness."

* SUPERMARKETS are experimenting with RFID (radio frequency identification) chips in products, whose unique codes allow the items to be permanently tracked. Boast the people behind it: "The Auto-ID Centre is designing, building, testing and deploying a global infrastructure... that will make it possible for computers to identify any object anywhere in the world." These chips have already been implanted into people... (from July 18's SchNEWS See also www.nocards.org)


Peace de Resistance

ANOTHER cracking SchNEWS annual has hit the streets. The Brighton direct action weekly has called its latest 300-page book "Peace de Resistance" and it is packed full of images and accounts of the anti-war resistance in Britain and abroad, as well as all the usual info, cartoons, contacts and humour. £10 inc post from "justice?" c/o on-the-fiddle, PO Box 2600 Brighton BN2 0EF. Or we can order one for you.

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

A DYING man was left unconscious and handcuffed on the floor in the back of a police van for 35 minutes while two greedy Sussex cops made a detour to a late-night garage for snacks, an inquest heard. Ron Nicholls had been found behind flats in Hollingdean, Brighton, explained The Argus (July 9). "It was believed he was drunk or drugged but in fact blood vessels in his brain had burst". Despite being told to take him straight to hospital, PC Stephen Boyes and PC Chris Kenny opted to head the other way for some nosh. When Mr Nicholls eventually reached hospital, it was too late to save him and he died. The constables have been "disciplined" but amazingly enough have not been charged with any criminal offences and are still in their jobs! Meanwhile, the police investigation into last year’s Titnore Lane protest in Worthing, where protesters’ video evidence showed police to be lying in court, is still said to be continuing. What hopes of justice when the police consider themselves above the law they are so keen to uphold?
* * *

WITH the bypass struggle won (for now), the next battle is again Titnore Woods and the West Durrington housing threat. The next worthing eco-action meeting, on that theme, is at 7.45pm Tuesday August 5, Downview, opp West Worthing station. The one after that will be on Tuesday September 2. More info from worthing@eco-action.org
* * *

CONGRATULATIONS to Sheila Player, the svelte, popular and understated leader of the Lib Dems on Worthing council (you have to be careful with these libel laws, you know). She has come top of the whole council - in claiming expenses, that is, having notched up an impressive £7,919 in the last financial year (Worthing Herald, June 26).
* * *

NEWS of our old chum Michael Ball, former chief executive of Worthing Borough Council. Loyal readers may recall that three years back (Porkbolter, July 2000) we noted how he had received a £100,000 lump sum on his early retirement from his post, plus a £32,000 a year pension for life. How the poor man has managed to live on a such a pittance is beyond us! Clearly unable to scrape by on such a heartless remuneration from the ungrateful tax payers of Worthing, the wretched Mr Ball has now been driven to planning to knock down his own home in Pembury Road in a desperate attempt to raise a few meagre pence for a crust of bread or a cup of tea by having a load of flats built on the site. We trust when the application comes up before the council, his old chums will not allow their impartial decision to be swayed by any personal considerations...
* * *

WORTHING Against War is holding an anti-war day at the Friends Meeting House in Mill Road, Worthing, on Saturday August 30. For the full run-down on WAW activities, send email, phone 01903 206588 or visit its website
* * *

SO presumably famously animal-loving West Worthing MP Peter Bottomley will have voted for a ban on fox hunting in the House of Commons? Nope, he voted against it. Now there’s a surprise!

Warning: Are you ‘ordinary’?

ORDINARY people may be stripped of their title if they fail to confirm to models of ordinary thinking authorised by the Government, it emerged this week. Said the Minister for Unquestioning Conformity: "It has long been a mainstay of our Great British Society that ordinary people are happy to swallow any old tosh we dole out to them and parrot any number of views useful to our agendas. ‘Ordinary’ people who refuse to accept the word of the Government on any major issue or, for instance, fail to live up to their role as an ‘ordinary motorist’ by championing the destruction of the environment, have no right to pass themselves off under this description and will be forced to desist using civil proceedings and also possible criminal prosecution for Fraud Endangering the Economic Productivity of the UK Labour Unit Pool."

Pig-hearted newsletter

The Pork-Bolter is a totally independent local newsletter put together by very ordinary Worthing people in their own time. Unlike certain major political parties, it has no secret funding from the road lobby (no, honestly!) or from anyone else for that matter, apart from its readers. To get the next six issues through the post send a donation of at least £3 payable to The Porkbolter. Drop us a line at PO Box 4144, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 7NZ. Send e-mail to porkbolter@eco-action.org. e-mail subscriptions are also available.

Printed and published by The Pork-Bolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no more porkin’ roads!


and finally ...
Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!

back to main index

main index