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Issue 19 - August 1999

Eco-festival is back with a vengeance - and not a Rotarian in sight!

DEFYING RON'S WRECKERS!

ROTARIAN wreckers are not going to have the chance to spoil this year's big alternative event in Worthing. Last year, busybody ex-copper Ron Noakes and his mates tried to get the Eco-Festival banned at the last minute, as we reported back in Issue 11. His clownish antics included setting the health and safety people on the Brighton Anarchist Teapot stall (they promptly issued it with a certificate to say they could carry on!), and accusing Friends of the Earth of stealing wheelie bins from his part of the fair (in fact they had been donated by a council Rotarian). He also famously claimed to work 24 hours a day, reckoned all FOE-type people were on the dole and, most entertainingly of all, physically ran away from an irate female organiser he had woken too early in the morning, thus earning the nickname Rocket Ron.
Worthing Green Fair
Saturday 4 September
12 noon to 11pm
Field of Hope (next to the Aquarena)

Fun though all this was, the organisers didn't fancy a re-Ron of all that this year and have arranged a date and venue completely separate from the Rotarian's bash at Homefield Park. Understandable enough, but it does mean the Green Fair, as it is now being called, will not be able to draw on the crowds turning up for the more established event. So do your best to spread the word near and far to make sure that everyone knows it's on and turns up. And why not add to the merriment and contribute something yourself - a stall, a workshop, some music, dancing ... it's down to you!

STOP PRESS: A sponsored 12-mile walk in the South Downs is to be held in aid of Worthing FOE on Sunday August 22. A £5 entry fee will include bus transport, drinks and bbq! To ensure a place send a cheque NOW to "Worthing Friends of the Earth" PO Box 4144, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 7NZ. Don't miss it!


UP TO DATE WITH THE RONETTES

BIG news from the Rotarians (Worthing Herald, July 8) is that they have finally decided to allow females to join their hallowed ranks (though why any self-respecting woman should want to is beyond us). Congratulations must be in order to Ron's gang for finally entering the 20th century - less than six months before it comes to an end!

LODGE-ICAL STEP

GIVEN all the hassle the government has been having trying to draw up a register of Freemasons in public life, we have had a much better idea. We are going to draw up a REGISTER OF NON-MASONS for Worthing. All round worthy Neville Pressley has set the ball rolling (see below) and we'll be inviting others to follow suit. We'll let you know if they agree to join the Register, in which case they are not a Mason, or if they decline/don't even reply, in which case you can draw your own coonclusions. And the August invitation goes to ... 1998-99 Worthing Mayor, David Chapman!

BOTTOMLEY'S UP FOR DIRECT ACTION

PETER Bottomley, our favourite West Worthing MP, has been in the media spotlight again. Fresh from being described in The Times (June 29) as "endearingly strange", he appeared in The Worthing Herald (July 15) complaining that the Suffragettes deserved better than "second class" 19p status in a recently released set of stamps. We didn't realise that Botters was such a keen fan of direct action. Suffragettes went as far as burning down buildings to get their way - a lot more destructive than trashing GM crops, for instance. We're all for it, of course - given that our so-called "democracy" is a sham - but don't normally expect Tory MPs to see things the same way. We are writing to Botters at once with a checklist of which modern manifestations of direct action he considers in the same first-class league as the Suffragettes!

NOW IT'S OFFICIAL: CCTV JUST DOESN'T WORK!

BIG Brother spy cameras do NOT reduce crime or even make people feel safer in the streets. That was the finding of "one of the most comprehensive investigations carried out on the subject" as reported in The Guardian on July 15. The paper explained: "A report prepared for the Scottish Office concludes that CCTV has not succeeded in making the streets safer or in making people feel safer. The results follow similar conclusions by researchers in Wales last week and cast doubt on the government's decision to spend £170m extending CCTV across Britain." In-depth research in Glasgow showed that in the first year after CCTV was introduced, crime actually ROSE in the city by 9% and the crime clear-up rate DROPPED by 4% over the same period! This is, of course, no surprise to us! Sussex Police figures showed that exactly the same thing happened in Worthing over the first two years of CCTV surveillance, as we pointed out last year. It is also no surprise to us that the Government is completely ignoring the results of all this research and ploughing ahead regarless with its massive spy camera network. Even quiet little Steyning has now got CCTV and Storrington is next in line. Meanwhile, there are particularly dodgy goings-on in Littlehampton where Tesco is apparently offering £100,000 towards a town CCTV system as a legalised bribe to get planning permission for an extension to its Wick Farm superstore.

Meanwhile, spy cameras are being inserted into every porkin' nook and cranny available, from school playgrounds to train carriages and now even policemen's helmets! Yes, The Big Issue revealed (July 12-18) that Cleveland Police is to present footage from the pin-hole cameras as evidence in court for the first time. Meanwhile "a new model featuring an ndetectable lens" was unveiled at the hightly sinister "International Police and Security Expo 99" in Manchester. Do you think people who attended that sort of event give a rasher of bacon whether or not CCTV reduces crime? Don't you think they maybe just love the gadgetry of control, the voyeuristic buzz of watching over us all the time, the sadistic thrill of exercising what is rapidly becoming totalitarian power?

A couple more steps towards a police state in the UK:

  1. Babies are to be allocated national insurance numbers at birth "in an attempt to stamp out welfare fraud" (The Guardian, July 3). Why not just brand their foreheads with a barcode?
  2. Supermarket staff are being told to stop and question children seen in their stores during school hours - even if they are with their parents! What gives them the right to interfere in this way? Are schools centres of education or open prisons? It is perfectly legal to educate your child at home, in your own way (and take them out to the shops when you fancy!). Contact Education Otherwise (0870 7300074) or Choice in Education (0171 8135907).

MYSTERY MEN BEHIND THE MONSTER

NEVILLE PRESSLEY is only a front man for shadowy figures scheming to build over one of Worthing's last open spaces. That is the main revelation to emerge from the questions put to him by The Pork-Bolter, as public opinion hardens against the Monster-gue Place project, which would see shops and offices block off most of the open area between Montague St and the seafront. Asked about his role in the unpopular scheme, Mr Pressley told us in an e-mail interview: "I confirm that my brother and I were the applicants but were so as trustees and professional ethics prevents me from disclosing the true ownership. We put forward the Montague Place plan as the trust has an interest in the land. You described it as a bizzarre land row but it is not unusual for there to be different interests and I am sure that they will be sorted out between the parties." More mysterious happenings are also afoot around Montague Place, with some businesses initially unhappy about the plan suddenly becoming rather enthusiastic - could it be because their interests in the earmarked land have been bought off them by the would-be developers?

In his helpful reply to our queries, Mr Pressley was also able to confirm that he is not personally a Freemason ("You must be joking! If your research was any good you would know I am not the freemason type") thus kicking off our new Register of Non-Masons (see above). He also confirmed to us that he is the one and same Neville Pressley who is chairman of the board of privatised Worthing Homes Ltd, a partner in Spofforths Chartered Accountants, finance director of Pressley's the jewellers, chair of the management committee of Worthing MIND and vice-chair of the board of governors at Northbrook College! And that's not all! He adds: "You do not have a full list of all my good works. I have been a trustee of Guild Care (formerly Worthing Area Guild) for 25 years and a former chairman, and a director of West Sussex Area Enterprise Co Ltd. So I try to spread my superhuman talents around housing, employment, education, mental health and social and residential care." Mr Pressley said he has time for all his "good works" because his partners allow him time in his working day, he gets to work very early, takes no lunch break and doesn't play golf or go to pubs. "I can assure you that I spend no time at re-designing Worthing - I'm an accountant, not an architect." He added: "I used to be a Liberal councillor in Shoreham and was a member of CND National Executive in the 80s. Does this make me more politically acceptable to you?" (Now YOU must be joking Mr P! What has all this erstwhile liberal nicey-niceness got to do with what you're up to these days?)

Mr Pressley also reckons that "the development will be for the good of the town", because of the "unattractive wall" on one side of Montague Place. Perhaps if Mr Pressley was an architect, rather than an accountant, he would have the imagination and taste to think of "commission a mural" as the obvious solution to this particular aesthetic problem, rather than "cram in yet another whopping great mega-bucks shopping complex that nobody wants".


IT WOULDN'T HAPPEN TO A RHINO!

THE recent debacle over housing the homeless in George V Avenue was packed full of nauseating social snobbery - on both sides of the debate. On the one side was certain residents' poisonous conviction that perfectly ordinary people having problems sorting out somewhere to live were some kind of criminal leper-class not fit to breathe the refined air of their own smug little world. (Imagine for a moment we were talking about homeless cats, dogs, rabbits or rhinos* - they would have been falling over backwards to welcome them into the neighbourhood. Other humans is a different matter!) On the other side, councillors were persuaded to support the scheme by the threat that "the most undesirable tenants" from places like "Hackney and Lewisham" might instead be landed on the site if Worthing didn't take it up. You can almost hear the cogs in their Daily Mail minds whirring round - Hackney, nasty rough types, black people, oh my god ... YARDIES!!!
*Worthing's fictitious links with rhinos were documented here last month. In other words this is a sort of in-joke, all right?

Porky Pie’s Top Tip of the Month!

HOW TO SPOT PETER BOTTOMLEY, WORTHING'S DIRECT ACTION MP!
  1. Go to the back door of the Houses of Parliament.
  2. Make out you are an arms dealer, American millionnaire or prostitute so that they will let you in on the nod.
  3. Bottomley will be the bloke either D-locked to the Speaker's chair or tunnelling under the back benches!

TENANTS ASSURED OF A DODGY DEAL

NOW Worthing's council housing is privatised, tenants are facing up to the realities of the new regime. They are being asked to sign a new tenancy agreement and many have at last smelled a rat. The Citizen's Advice Bureau column in the Worthing Advertiser (July 14) explained that instead of secure tenants, people were now to be assured tenants under Worthing Homes Ltd, adding: "The landlord needs a court order to evict both types of tenant. However, it is harder to get a court order against a secure tenant than against an assured tenant." Funny how this vital change was not prominent in Worthing Homes propaganda dished out before the tenants' ballot. And even funnier how there was such an apparently high turn-out and approval in that same poll, when Worthing Homes Ltd is now having to use the bribe of a "free draw" for £100-worth of M&S vouchers to get its victims - sorry, tenants - to sign along the dotted line ...

BLOW THE WHISTLE ON YOUR BOSSES!

SOME good news from the Evening Argus: "Sussex employees who expose cases of wrongdoing by their bosses will now be granted protection under a new law. The Public Interest Disclosure Act, which came into force late last week, has been introduced to protect whistleblowers at work in England, Scotland and Wales. It means employers risk heavy penalties and media disclosures if they discourage, ignore or suppress staff warnings of malpractice. The act also means that gagging clauses in employment contracts will have no effect." So what are you all waiting for! Get in touch with us and dish the dirt!

CRACK IN THE PAVEMENT?

RUMOURS have reached us that Worthing Borough Coucnil is refusing to re-open the cycle lane on the prom because it is afraid it will be used as a drugs conduit by Yardies. Meanwhile cyclists not there is to be a Critical Mass ride on Saturday August 28, meet 12 noon in Montpelier Crescent, Brighton.

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

TWO years ago local writier and historian Chris Hare was standing for the Liberal Democrates in the general election against Peter Bottomley in West Worthing. A wave of optimism was sweeping the country as the long years of Tory rule crumbled away and a fresh new caring Government swept into power ... Now he is completely disillusioned with the whole charade and is chucking it all in. He told the Worthing Guardian on July 23: "My own opinion is that party politics is largely discredited. People realise that whoever they vote for, either locally or nationallyk, nothing really changes. 'Democracy' is therefore an illusion rather than a reality." Well said, Sir!
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FED up with eating chemicals on your vegetables? Want to eat locally-grown organic produce and not give all your cash to greedy supermarket chains? You need to be part of the Organic Vegetable Box Scheme from Ashurst Organics in Plumpton, East Sussex. Each box costs £6.50 and is delivered to a local drop-off point on Thursdays. Eggs and bread also available. Contact Don on 01903-217472 or the farm direct on 01273-891219.
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FREE video nights upstairs at Paiges Bar on Worhting seafront are still being held on the first Tuesday of each month, at 7.30pm, by worthing.eco-action, an umbrella group of local campaigners of which The Pork-Bolter forms part. Next dates are September 7 (Viva Zapata!, held over from this month) and October 5.
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A MUST for every free-thinking person's library is the new SchNews Survival Handbook. The features issues 151-200 of the inspirational Brighton newsletter, plus cartoons, handy hints, a Pork-Bolter contribution and a huge database of campaign groups. £7.20 inc p+p from "Justice?" at PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX.

Sow about a subscription?

If you want to make sure of getting a copy of issue , simply send us a stamped self-addressed envelope. To get the next six issues send a donation of at least £2 to cover costs. Copies of back issues are 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

Printed and published by The Pork-Bolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright coz information is freedom, innit?


THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT

PLEASE note that all characters mentioned in this bulletin are completely fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. Please also note that there is no such thing as a "Freemason", that all accountants and businessmen really have the interests of the community at heart and there are no plans whatsoever to restrict your freedom through the introduction of a high-tech police state.
and finally ... DON'T BELIEVE A WORD THEY TELL YOU!