the pork-bolter
ISSUE 84, FEBRUARY 2008

325 an hour for being a smug git!

THE SPIN doctor who tried to silence the public at the big meetings over local hospitals was being paid 325 an hour by the NHS, we can exclusively reveal.

The shocking figure was unearthed by our Freedom of Information Act request to the West Sussex Primary Care Trust, based in offices next to Durrington station.

Anyone who went to the 'Fit for the Future' meetings will remember that they were chaired by a smug so-and-so in a smart suit who was quick to try and shut up criticisms from the public and made sure the health chiefs got away without having to give a proper answer to pointed questions about their plans to downgrade Worthing and other hospitals.

This was Gavin Grey and, as we revealed in our last issue, he is in fact a professional spin-doctor, being an account director of Paul Smith Associates.

We had a lot of questions to put to the PCT about Mr Grey and the most shocking answer was about his rates of pay. Replied Sandra Peloquin for the Trust: "Gavin Grey was paid 650.00 per meeting plus VAT." Since the meetings lasted two hours, this is 325 (plus VAT) per hour - just a tiny bit more than the health trust is prepared to pay its nurses!

The PCT said it had not dealt with Mr Grey via Paul Smith Associates (PSA). It added: "Mr Grey did not declare his directorship of PSA". Interesting!

But it did admit it had hired him via the London Communications Agency. This is another PR firm, specialising in putting a spin on things for its clients. So rather than hire some retired respectable character with a neutral attitude to chair its meetings (for a nominal fee), the PCT went out of its way to pay big bucks for someone to pull the wool over the public's eyes!

* If anyone else wants to ask some awkward questions of the PCT under the Freedom of Information Act, the email address is FOI@westsussexpct.nhs.uk


Worthing councillor in court over alleged sex assault on young boy

WORTHING borough councillor Mark McCarthy has been charged with indecently assaulting a boy under 14 years of age (The Argus, January 9).

Added the report: "The charges are said to be related to incidents between February 27 2002 and December 31 2002."

McCarthy, an independent Tory, was said to be due to appear at Reading Crown Court on February 12 - about the time this newsletter will hit the streets.

So we obviously have no idea whether or not he will be found guilty of these rather serious and disturbing charges and what the implications are for his future on the council.

Given that he may yet be proven innocecent of any offence, it would also be wrong for us to try and make some sort of cheap political point out of this unfortunate brush with the law.

For instance, it would be quite out of order for us, or anyone else, to suggest that the case reflected in any way the general qualities of our elected representatives here in Worthing or that anything deeply telling about the state of local democracy could be read into the whole affair.

It is therefore important to stress that whatever the outcome of the trial, our opinion of Worthing council will remain unchanged - because frankly it just couldn't get any lower!


Quiz time

Fact 1. The Labour government has announced it is going to abolish the green belt and push ahead with massive property development all over our countryside.

Fact 2. It has emerged that the Labour Party has been given millions of pounds in secret donations from a controversial property developer.

Question. Can you see any possible link between the two statements above?

*** If you love quizzes and want to entertain your friends and family, why not dream up your own quiz along the same lines? All you have to do is think of something massively bad the Government is up to (shouldn't be difficult!) then match it up to the financial interests of their wealthy mates and hey presto - hours of brain fun!


Worthing rallies against ID cards and police state

OPPOSITION to the threat of ID cards and a Big Brother database is growing in Worthing. Worthing N02ID, part of a national campaign, is stepping up its activities in the town and inviting more people to join in and help.

It held a successful stall in the town centre on Saturday January 26, handing out hundreds of leaflets and asking people to sign the NO2ID pledge not to co-operate with the ID card scheme.

The leaflet pointed out that the National Identity Scheme will:

* Store 50 categories of information about you in one place.

* Be the key to cross-referencing every single government database.

* Set us all up for lifelong surveillance, creating a permanent record of every occasion when the ID card is used.

* Cost each of us 93 for a card.

* Be of little or no use in the government's much-heralded 'fight' against terrorism, benefit fraud or illegal immigration.

Worthing NO2ID has made contact with councillors in the hope that Worthing Borough Council will pass a motion against the ID card scheme and also plans to hold a big public meeting in the near future. We will provide details of this event at www.eco-action.org/porkbolter and you can also, of course, go direct to the campaign website at www.no2id-worthing.net

A planned screening by No2ID of documentary Taking Liberties at The Rest had to be cancelled at the last minute on January 31. The popular bar, facing mysterious licensing objections from Sussex Police, had a fire inspection an hour before the showing, which barred the use of the upstairs room.

But The Film They Don't Want You To See (which coincidentally focuses heavily on Sussex Police) is now rescheduled for the same Bath Place venue on Thursday February 28 at 8pm. All welcome, free entry.


Parking fiasco: parasites on the council are to blame

A letter from a reader

SO WORTHING is full of old people, is it, attacking NCP traffic wardens with hedge cutting saws etc? I don't think so.

Worthing is full of working class people who earn money to pay their council tax and all the councillors' expenses. Councillors decided that NCP should be awarded the parking contract simply because none of them have any business acumen, otherwise it would be run in-house by the council with less parking tickets for working people, but just as much money for the council instead of profits being made by the millionaires of NCP and all the animosity and bad reputation it is now causing for Worthing.

It is not the NCP bluebottles that are the parasites, naive as they might be, they are also working for a living. It is the Worthing councillors on the committee who awarded the contract to NCP who are the parasites. They should be named and shamed, living off the backs of the working class and retired council tax payers.

Where are the businessmen who could put their names forward and give us some independent councillors to vote for instead of the rabble of Cons and LIBerty takers?

PS. Poli meaning many + tics meaning parasites = politics.


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

WE CAN'T help a wry smile at the farce over the wood on the beach. The knee-jerk reaction of the authorities is to stop people taking it, with threats of massive fines. Then they decide it's all worthless anyway and can't get rid of the stuff. The obvious solution was to let us all take it in the first place, saving thousands of our pounds on security and clean-up bills. But then allowing ordinary people to sort things out themselves, in a naturally sensible way without any interference from jumped-up control-freak busybodies, would be pure anarchy - and we can't have that, can we?
* * *

A NEW campaigning environmental group is being set up in Worthing. Worthing Rising Tide is part of a network dedicated to action against climate change. Contact worthing@risingtide.org.uk
* * *

THE THREAT of poisoned drinking water is once again rearing its toxix head, with the Government planning to add fluoride (a chemical waste product) to our drinking water. They are promising 'consultation', which of course means they are going to push it through regardless of what anyone thinks. More info: www.npwa.freeserve.co.uk
* * *

Following the government's announcement inviting tenders to build a fleet of new nuclear power stations, the hunt is now on for sites to store for 500,000 years the radioactive waste the stations will produce, writes our science correspondent Dr Strangeloathing.

Apparently the waste could be stored above ground in glass/concrete flasks, buried deep underground in a geologically stable area, or in deep water. Several local sites that meet the criteria come to mind and might be of interest to the dumpers, such as the tunnels reputed to spread out from under Field Place in Worthing and last used for a military purpose.

But the favourite must be the flooded gravel pits around Chichester as those sites are close enough to County Hall's emergency incident room and the nuclear bunker left over from the cold war. Clearly an ideal solution and one so that regional government could continue should a radioactive leak occur. Just keep a look out for those mutant county councillors!


FREE MONEY!!

Unbeatable Porkbolter special offer!!!!

WE are handing out FREE money! Yes, that's right, FREE! We will send you a crisp 10 note in the post in its very own manila presentation envelope if you get back to us by the end of March. And it couldn't be easier! All you have to do is send your name and address, plus a 4.99 registration fee, 2.99 carbon offsetting contribution and 3.99 post and packaging made payable to The Porkbolter at PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. If you send us your email address, we'll even add in a FREE email subscription and for another 2.99 you can have six issues of the luxury genuine printed version of The Porkbolter delivered to your own home by the prestigious Royal Mail. Don't say we're not good to you!


Bigger and better words!

NOW we've been going ten years, our loyal readership is ten years older and some of them are going blind, apparently (although there could be other reasons for this...) We've been told our type is too small, so this time we've made it a bit bigger in the printed edition and given the newsletter a sort of facelift. But if you're worried that as a result there may be slightly fewer words than before, don't fret - we can assure you that each individual word will be of better quality than previously, carefully weighted and selected for your maximum enjoyment and information. You can also join our email list, free of charge, and receive various bits and bobs that don't appear in the newsletter proper. Subscribe at porkbolter@eco-action.org.

Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no pigs were harmed in the making of this newsletter.


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

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