the pork-bolter
No 59, February 2004

‘Threat’ to pool, theatres, museum is all a ploy

Town hall’s huge con

A MASSIVE con trick has been inflicted on the Worthing public by the borough council over so-called threats to the town’s facilities.

Worried citizens have been up in arms over suggestions that Worthing’s museum, theatres and Aquarena pool could all be closed down. Petitions have been circulating, letters flooding in to the local press and a series of protests staged. But the reality is that it is all just a cynical trick to stop people complaining about another massive rise in council tax. The council is hoping that by callously playing on ordinary people’s fears, it can sneak past them another huge hike in council tax - 14% on top of last year’s total 18.5%.

Of course, we couldn’t possibly suggest that council leader Sheila Player has been in any way personally involved in perpetrating this huge and deceitful hoax on the Worthing public. But it is interesting to note how pleased she seemed about protests aimed at her own council - even joining in the 1,000 strong march to save the Aquarena! She told the Worthing Herald on January 8 that she was "delighted" with the public’s opposition to the cuts. The report added: "Ms Player said she wished for all the facilities to be retained and that the consultation document replies would agree with this." She then moved on to what is clearly the crux of the matter - the council’s proposed 14% increase in its council tax charge. Sheila insisted: "I think it is worth it and I hope the residents do, too." Oops, what a giveaway!

Meanwhile, the notion that Worthing Borough Council is suddenly committed to "democracy" by launching a "consultation" process is rather unconvincing. Why don’t they carry out the public’s clear wishes over the proposed Titnore Lane development, for instance? So far, they haven’t even held the new public meeting they promised months ago. And the idea that we have a simple choice between coughing up more and more council tax every year or losing everything worth having in town is nothing more than a sick joke. Think of all the money that is wasted, locally and nationally, by the parasitical ‘authorities’ that control our lives. Whether it’s palm trees on the seafront or occupations of foreign countries; fat salaries and pensions for bureaucrats or harassment of cannabis cafes; expensive sham consultation exercises or protecting visiting war criminals - OUR money always seems to be there when THEY need it. But if we dare to raise a small voice in protest, they threaten to take away the small number of items that actually give us some pleasure or benefit - like little children being punished for answering back to mummy and daddy.

There was a revealing quote from Worthing Borough Council Lib Dem politician John Lovell in the Worthing Herald on January 15. Commenting on the council elections coming up in June, he said: "Whatever the result, I hope more people will turn out to vote. It is very soul-destroying when only 27 or 28 per cent of the electorate bother to vote. Even if they vote for someone else, at least you know someone cares." What he is saying, in other words, is that all the political parties are essentially the same and it isn’t going to change anything whoever you vote for. The only way to really get at them is if we all refuse to play their stupid little political power games and ignore the lot of them. So if you want to stand up to the liars and con merchants that hold the power and the purse strings, the message is clear:

* Keep resisting all cuts in the services you actually appreciate.

* Don’t stop protesting about your council tax bills. Ignore the spin and take another look at your bank balance. Are you going to let them get away with daylight robbery year after year?

* Don’t take part in their phoney elections in the sham democracy they use to take real power away from ordinary people. Let’s let them know what we really think of them!


Guess who’s footing the bill?

LOCAL councils are blaming central government cuts for increases in council tax. And UK central government is spending £5m a DAY on the war on Iraq and continuing occupation. Any connection, do you think?

Planetary destruction? It’s not the end of the world!

HERE at The Porkbolter we were really scratching our heads over this one. What’s more important? The destruction of the planet or Worthing Borough Council’s budget for 2004-2005? The mainstream corporate media certainly don’t seem too bothered by the scientific verdict that global warming is expected to kill off one million species by 2050, with one in ten of our animals and plants becoming extinct (Guardian, January 8). After the initial news stories, there has been complete silence on the issue. None of the follow-ups, features, "what are we are going to do about it" type of hand-wringing coverage that always follows everything from the latest murder trial to the state of English cricket. It was the same story with a second scientific report that said the effect on ocean currents from global warming will plunge Britain into a new ice age "within decades" (Independent, January 25). The powers-that-be (and that includes the media, in case you hadn’t noticed!) simply don’t want us to think about what is happening and whose fault it is. They want to be able to carry on pumping greenhouse gases and all manner of pollutants into the atmosphere to keep the global gravy train rolling.

Not only are they not doing anything to address this problem, but they are actively frustrating other people’s efforts to do so, by churning out corporate propaganda pooh-poohing threats to the environment, ignoring serious critics of their system and portraying defenders of nature as either eccentric or dangerous. It is obviously imperative that we do something about all this. We can’t reverse the damage overnight, but we can at least begin the task by collectively stating that we value our world and all its life more than profits and economics and by stating our intent to wind down industrialism, to step back from the edge of the cliff. It is also about time we got seriously angry about this. After all, if you can’t get angry about the destruction of life on the planet, the theft of all our futures, by a bunch of greedy corporate scumheads, you don’t really deserve to call yourself a member of the human race.


Titnore - let battle commence!

THE battle for Titnore is on again! After a long delay, possibly designed to bore away the opposition, the developers have lodged a new planning application for the West Durrington scheme. They want to slap 875 homes "and accompanying facilities" on Worthing borough’s last remaining green lung. Campaigners are urging people to write in and object (one sentence would do!) to the Town Hall. The reference number is WB/04/00040/OUT and the deadline is February 27. They are also asking people to oppose Tesco’s application for outline planning permission to redevelop their Durrington site - coincidentally next to the main housing site - and build a new shopping centre complex. Said one protester: "If the Tesco application slips through then that would mark the beginning of development of this land, so it is vital we all oppose this as well as the main housing application." The planning number for this one is WB/04/00021/OUT.

The main development plan was announced by the developers’ PR firm Green Issues - a slimy yet incompetent bunch, who even managed to get the planning number wrong in their publicity, later blaming it on the council. Their pro-bulldozer drivel makes nauseating claims like: "The development layout has been further refined to keep as many natural features of the site as possible." How many natural features are going to survive the construction of 875 homes? Worthing people are not going to be hoodwinked by the spin and propaganda from property developers. They know full well what is happening here. Our countryside is being destroyed under our noses, against our wishes, in the name of greed and profit. The developers and council may have imagined that by stalling and delaying the Titnore application, people would lose interest in the issue and allow it to go ahead without a struggle. They’d better think again!

* Info: www.protectourwoodland.fsnet.co.uk


Red card for Tetra mast

ANGRY Worthing residents have been up in arms over the arrival of a potentially dangerous Sussex Police Tetra mast at Worthing FC in Woodside Road - without planning permission. As we have reported before, the microwaves emitted by these devices are believed to cause cancer - and yet are springing up everywhere thanks to the unholy power block of the police force, the government and the corporate sector in the shape of 02 Airwave. The Worthing Society has joined in the protest at the Woodside Road mast, calling on the council to act. If our "democracy" fails to protect the public, how long before the masts start being mysteriously vandalised? Illegal of course - but infinitely more moral than standing back and watching our children’s health being destroyed.

STOP PRESS: The Protect Sussex From Tetra campaign will be special guests at worthing eco-action’s meeting on Tuesday March 2, 7.45pm, upstairs at The Downview, opposite West Worthing station.


Court takes the peace

A PAIR of Worthing anti-war pranksters were given ridiculously harsh punishment by a London court on January 2. The couple were arrested during the massive protests in September against the DSEi arms fair in the Docklands - where arms dealers were selling all sorts of innovative devices whose only purpose is to kill and maim. The Worthing duo committed the horrific crime of going there equipped to "cause criminal damage" - armed with stinkbombs and a water-based red dye! For this they were sentenced to 100 hours community service each and ordered to pay £300 costs each. Said one of the duo: "We went there to make people call into question their involvement in the arms fair, by making a stink. We managed to get through the police lines by flashing passes we’d knocked up off the internet. It wasn’t until we got to the security gate that we were stopped." Of the sentence passed by Snaresbrook Crown Court, they commented: "It’s taking the piss, really."

Heil the neo-Labour state

NEO-LABOUR’S nazi-style police state Civil Contingencies Bill is steaming ahead, as we predicted last month - under the cover of the hoax "War on Terror". And anyone who thinks this sort of thing is a short-term measure, and that our liberties will soon be restored, is in for a rude shock. Senior UK intelligence officer Superintendent Stuart Harrison warned at a US Government sponsored conference in Las Vegas that the "War on Terror" could last half a century! (BBC News website, January 12). He said: "We are in this for the long run. It will be 35 to 50 years before we get it cracked." In other words, this is the new Cold War, with the permanent "threat" from an outside enemy justifying paranoia, suppression of dissent, and redirection of billions of pounds of our money into the pockets of the industrial military complex that just happens to be so closely tied in with the political establishment!

The Civil Contingencies Bill includes surreal new powers for government in the case of a very broadly defined "emergency" such as banning the movement of people and vehicles in an area, the destruction of property without compensation, banning "assemblies", shutting down phone lines and websites and, of course, arresting people who fail to co-operate with the emergency powers! But even this is not now enough for Home Secretary Adolf Blunkett, who wants "terrorists" to be put on trial before they even commit a crime! These trials would held without juries, in secret, and judges (vetted for the right attitudes by MI5 and MI6) could convict if they thought the defendant was "probably" guilty (Sky News, February 2). Defendants’ lawyers would also have to be vetted and they would not even be able to hear all the evidence against their client for "security" reasons! * Info:

Statewatch (PO Box 1516, London N16 OEW) and Schnews (PO Box 2600, Brighton BN2 OEF)


News from underground

"FLABBERGASTINGLY extraordinary!" That’s how our somewhat excitable and eccentric self-appointed Tunnel Correspondent Teddy Beest describes what he has discovered about the huge network of wartime tunnels under Field Place in Durrington. His report (sadly edited for lack of space) states: "Titillated by the tale of tunneling traumas for the would-be Asda car-buncle, I took it upon myself to investigate, by way of a malodorous doorway alongside the embankment of the Southern Railway... and so it was that I encountered this tribe of deep-buried denizens, who pledged to show me the remarkable extent of the tunnel network... then in mid-January we walked non-stop for what I calculate was three dreary days, finally emerging at Morden underground station in south London... It seems, remarkably, that the Worthing tunnels were part of a super-secret Anglo-French scheme to link up the London tube with the Paris Metro... Tomorrow I head south, under the Channel, to see just how far this perplexingly perturbing project got and what still survives..." (to be continued, probably).

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

OUR best wishes to Chris Baldwin, Worthing’s cannabis crusader, ironically thrown in jail just as the daft laws on the drug are (slightly) liberalised. Even without a hunger strike (over the jail’s refusal to serve him proper vegan food), the courage of this disabled man in taking on the wrath of the police and courts has been an inspiration to so many in Worthing and beyond. Send letters of support to Chris Baldwin, JC 9521, HMP High Down, Downview Road, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5PJ.
* * *

STOP the new generation of nuclear weapons! That’s the call of a big march being staged by anti-war protesters this Easter - all the way from London to Aldermaston, where the UK/USA devise new weapons of mass destruction. The protest runs from Friday April 9 to Mondway April 12 and Worthing Against War supporters will be taking part. Contact info@aldermaston2004.net, go to www.aldermaston2004.net or get in touch with Worthing Against War on worthingagainstwar@yahoo.co.uk or 01903 206588.
* * *

WARNING! Worthing based Southern Water may be about to poison your tap water - with toxic fluoride. Friends of the Earth are working with the National Pure Water Association (NPWA) on its campaign to stop compulsory water fluoridation. The NPWA have produced a Stop Fluoridation postcard to send to Stuart Derwent, the managing director of Southern Water plc. For copies of the card ring the NPWA on 01226 360909 - or write direct to Mr Derwent at Southern Water, Southern House, Yeoman Road, Worthing BN13 3NX.
* * *

YOU won’t find much about the history of anarchist struggles on the National Curriculum or the TV, but the Kate Sharpley Library (BM Hurricane, London WC1N 3XX) continues to fill the void. Latest informative booklets include "Under the Yoke of the State - selected anarchist responses to prisons and crime, 1886-1929", "Direct Action" by Emile Poget (1907) and "The Anarchist Response to War and Labor Violence in 1914".

Warning - do nothing!

IT IS completely understandable, says a spokesman for the Ministry of Contentment, that citizens occasionally feel frustrated, even in the glorious United Kingdom. He explained: "Brief moments of mental illness may give people strange delusions and they may find themselves imagining that they are constantly being lied to and cheated, that their lives are meaningless drudgery, that the air they breathe and the water they drink is being poisoned, that their freedom is being gradually stolen from them, mass murders are being carried out across the world in their name and at their expense, and so on. While it is acceptable to voice such fears in private, it is, we stress, very unhealthy to do so in public. And most of all, no matter how dreadful a situation they feel they are in, responsible citizens should NEVER EVER attempt to try and do anything about it."

Glimpse behind the whitewash

THE Porkbolter is a totally independent local newsletter, named after a real historic term for Worthing people, which tries to scrub away a bit of the official whitewash hiding the unpleasant reality of a rotten borough in a corrupt state. 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 chance of the council closing down Sheila Player?


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

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