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Issue 9 - Aug 98

STANDING UP TO BIG BROTHER

ON SATURDAY June 27th The Pork-Bolter staged a somewhat unusual event in Worthing town centre. We gathered in South Street to celebrate Big Brother's Birthday, an event combining the 95th anniversary of the birth of the great George Orwell and the second anniversary of Worthing's town centre spy cameras. Armed with DIY CCTV camera helmets and various masks, both piggy and pork-free, we laid gifts at the feet of the great CCTV God and event brought along a (suitably cheap and tasteless) birthday cake in His honour. We handed out hundreds upon hundreds of special leaflets and copies of the July issue of The Pork-Bolter, made quite a few new friends and discussed what we were doing with loads of Worthing people. All in all a great success, and needless to say we will be continuing to cock a snoop at Big Brother and his cronies in Worthing in the months to come.

But in the meantime the powers-that-be continue to quietly put into place an infrastructure of total control. Don't expect to see this announced on the front page of your newspaper or on the Nine O'Clock News. It's all happening in dribs and drabs and those behind it hope nobody will notice or object. But keep your eyes peeled and you may begin to understand what is happening ...

PORKY PIE book tip: Big Brother:Britain's Web of Surveillance and the New Technological Order by Simon Davies (Pan Books). Ask for it in the library.


"Tyrannies are not always announced with trumpets and drums. Tyrannies do not necessarily march in jackboots down the High Street. Tyrannies sometimes creep up on us, wearing a smile."

Chris Sargent, Worthing Borough Council (1996)


COUNCIL RENT PLOYS

ANOTHER blow has been struck to the credibility of Worthing Borough Council's plan to privatise our council housing.
Borough bosses were already reeling with shock when even the Tories, usually so keen on sell-offs, smelled a rat with the Worthing Homes scheme and all voted against it. and as opposition to the plan increases in the town, the council has even moved the goalposts in the tenants' ballot. Before it said privatisation would not go ahead without the support of a majority of tenants - now it is just going to count those who actuallly vot in September. In other works, they are happy to go ahead with this highly controversial and irreversible move with the backing of a minority of tenants and without even consulting the rest of the town's people.
the latest development blows a giant hole in the council's attempts to pretend rents won't go up if Worthing Homes goes private. An expert analysis in The Guardian on July 15 by the research head of the National Housing Federation and the assistant head of housing at the Local Government Association, shows this to be fantasy. It reveals: "In 1996-97 the average housing association rent was £47.83, some £7 higher than the national average council rent of £40.39. This, however, understates the scale of the difference because, unlike councils, housing associations do not generally include their service charges within the rent. With service charges included, the difference widens to nearly £15." It adds: "Housing association rents have risen sharply due to reductions in government grants and increased reliance on private finance." (exactly how a private Worthing Homes intends raising cash!) "Many associations have taken steps to limit increases and all are now required to keep average rent increases down to inflation plus one per cent. But even at this modest rate of increase, with council rents only growing at inflation, the gap between them will continue to widen." Are you listening, Worthing tenants?

CHIP IN ALDERMAN'S BRAIN?

ON JULY 23 at Worthing Town Hall former councillor Bert Dockerty was awarded the title of honorary alderman of the borough. The Pork-Bolter heartily congratulates him and his fellow council cronies on their much-deserved exalted status, a just reward for all those years of struggle and self-sacrifice in the name of democracy. But how many people knew that Mr Dockerty has achieved celebrity staus through a mention in a new book, Get A Life (Bloomsbury Publishing, £12.99). this reveals: "Worthing Councillor Albert Dockerty is still annoyed that his West Sussex town did not invest in CCTV a few years ago, when he came back from a fact-finding trip to Bournemouth, the first town in England to have it. Dockerty would like to have a CCTV camera on every street corner. He also likes the idea of having one in his living room, so police could look out for burglars and, if he was hurt, an operator would be there to help him. (His wife doesn't want one.) We also asked him about those microchips they put into dogs and cats. What did he think about putting them into convicted criminals? "I wouldn't mind having one myself," he replied. "I could never get lost, fall in a ditch." Hmmm...

PORKY POET'S RASHER OF RHYME

I spy in the sky,
A lofty lens does shine,
Its sacred role, complete control
Of us ungrateful swine

I spy on a pole,
Big Brother's beady eye,
We have no say, we must obey
And never question why

I spy in this town,
A loss of liberty,
There's surveillance on the pavements
In Old Sussex by the Sea


PORKY poet came up with this little verse to celebrate Big Brother's Birthday. If you're not averse to verse yourself, why not drop us a line (or even a couplet) and if we like it we'll bung it in. Anonymous contributions welcome.

THE REAL WORLD CUP WALLIES

FOR certain members of the Worthing community the world Cup was predictably treated as a good excuse to pick a fight and throw their weight about a bit. that's right, we're talking about the police! They admitted themselves they were out to stir up trouble. How else can one explain the combination of statements put out by Insp Russell ternet via the Worthing Guardian (June 18)? One moment he was saying "Restrained police action took the sting out of the situation. If we had acted in a heavy-handed manner it would have exacerbated the matter and made the situation worse." Then, amazingly, he announced a few lines later: "We are going to be tougher on Monday night. We intend to employ tougher tactics and people who get out of order can expect to be arrested." Presumably this was code-named Operation Make It Worse.
Meanwhile, pub landlords were treated to a bizarre threatening letter from RD Cole "Chief Inspector, Operations Manager" of Sussex Police, dated June 16. Complaining about the minor incidents outside one or two pubs following the lunchtime Tunisia game, he added: "For those people trying to go about their businesses on a working day, this behaviour is intolerable. I would say to those licensees who are planning to continue showing the matches that they should think very carefully about their arrangements for the future. I appreciate that many licensees have put effort into pre-planning for these occasions, but the landlords run the risk of being dealt with for any offences committed and ultimately revocation of their license."
In fact, of course, the police have no power to revoke any pub's license. They can merely make representations when a license comes up for renewal before the licensing court. but since when has the small print of the law bothered our brave fun-busting boys in blue?

PORK SCRATCHINGS

REMEMBER all that fuss about Ilex Way in Goring and how snotty residents didn't want a nasty common cycle lane along it? Well, pro-cycle campaigners have now discovered that the Way is classified as a bridlepath anyway, meaning cyclists can go up and down it as many times as they fancy. So ha, ha, ha.
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WELL done to Worthing Herald editor Mick Plumb for incurring the wrath of Worthing Borough Council by publishing a list of councillors' expense payments (not the sort of thing our elected representatives like the public to know about, apparently. Wonder why?)
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BIG news for environmentally-amiable music fans! A benefit gig is being staged on Saturday August 8 in aid of the bank holiday Eco-festival in Homefield Park (on August 31). The wonderful Tipsy Tunes and Legacy are already confirmed bookings, and a special headline act was being lined up as we went to press. The gig is at the Inn on the Prom on the seafront and tickets are £5 on the door or £4 in advance from the pub. See you there! And don't forget to go to the bank holiday eco-festival itself. You can also be involved in the planning, as the organising team meets most Sundays from 3pm at the Homefield Road end of Homefield Park. They're pretty spontaneous sort of folks, though, so if you're thinking of strolling along best give a ring first and make sure they haven't rearranged it!
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EVER wondered why there is apparently so much benefit fraud, as constantly revealed in the media? could it be partly because councils who classify a houseing benefit overpayment as "fraud" get a 95% reimbursement from the government, as well as the right to get the money back in court. So the figures are distorted and the councils rake in the dosh!
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DON'T MISS THE PIG ONE-OH If you want to make sure of getting a copy of issue 10, simply send us a stamped, self-addressed envelope. To get the next six issues send a donation of at least £2 to cover costs. Any extras always needed and gratefully received. Back issues 1-8 still available. Cheques/postal orders made payable to The Pork-Bolter. email subscriptions also available. Drop us a line: porkbolter@eco-action.org or PO Box 4144, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 7NZ. website: http://www.eco-action.org/porkbolter
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OFFICIAL WARNING Although our name may sound a little bit like "Pork Balti", this newsletter is not designed primarily to be eaten with plain rice and nan bread. Readers are actively encouraged to digest the written contents, but not the newsletter itself as it probably doesn't even taste as nice as the cheapo birthday cake we rustled up for Big Brother's Birthday. Having said that, if you really want to eat this bulletin, go ahead. It's a free country. (Only joking).

and finally ... DON'T GET ANGRY, GET ACTIVE!