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Issue 14 - February 99

LONG LIVE KING, ROBIN!

MANY, many, many, many, many, many, many congratulations to our old chum Robin King! He has been chosen as the new Chief Executive of our gloriously privatised council housing organisation, Worthing Homes Ltd. What a turn-up for the books and how valiantly he must have struggled, against the odds, to secure the top post against such stiff competition (Porky Pie would himself have applied for the role, but stupidly failed to spot any of the public advertisements ...) How little can Our Robin have imagined, while he was a humble lowly-paid council officer drawing up noble plans to make life better for Worthing tenants, that he would himself end up being Top Cat of the private company he coincidentally helped to inherit Worthing's entire council housing stock. And how genuinely we believe that he fully deserves whatever salary and any other benefits he is now being paid by the charitable-status body. We can't wait for our hero's coronation ceremony, complete with special-issue stamps, commemorative mugs and a triumphant Grand Procession through the ex-council estates of the borough, with cheering, flag waving tenants gratefully offering up babies to be blessed by King, Robin.

QUESTION: What is the difference between cartoon character Simba and Robin King of Worthing Homes Ltd? ANSWER: One of them is the Lion King but the other ALWAYS tells the truth.


GREED AT THE GATE - Exclusive:
We Expose Big Business Forces Behind Cinema Project

HOW is it that nobody ever seems to want to tell the people of Worthing what is really going on in our town? The political parties and press have been falling over themselves to be the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the proposed Multiplex cinema at Teville Gate. Good for tourism, good for trade, good for the residents, etc. etc. - never before, it would seem, has there been a piece of property development more worthy of our complete and unconditional support. One small detail, however, has miraculously escaped attention amidst all the frothy hype - who is actually behind this porkin' planning application? Since nobody apparently wants to tell us, we thought we'd better find out for ourselves! And what a fascinating journey of discovery this turned out to be. Starting point was Farrho Developments Ltd, the firm behind the application passed by Worthing Borough Council. Not a high-profile company by any means, but we tracked them down in the end to 88 Park Street in London W1. The next step was to investigate the other interests of members of Farrho's board of directors. Strangely enough, we discovered that three of them have something in common. Company Secretary Robert E Codling and colleagues Messrs A G Dillnut and N J Linstead also happen to comprise the entire listed board of another company, Sunley Turiff Holdings Ltd based in Tolpits Lane, Watford. But that's not the end of the trail, for our research then revealed that Sunley Turiff is owned by none other than Lonrho plc! This massive multinational firm, with its HQ in Grosvenor Place, London SW1, was built up by famous tycoon Tiny Rowland, the man who sparked former Tory PM Ted Heath's famous remark about the "unacceptable face of capitalism" (a concept which does not appear to be in the vocabulary of business-worshipping Worthing council). And what sort of company is this? According to The Guardian's Guide to Top Companies "Lonrho does not disappoint expectations that it would not be interested in policies on equal opportunities or environmental protection. Nor does it have a distinguished record as a caring employer - or caring very much about any other issue of conscience, either." Hmmm ... Let's take a look at Worthing council's agenda papers and discover what harmless little Farrho Developments says it wants to build - ah yes, a cinema facility of sufficient size to enable a profitable commercial activity to be established and maintained within the town". It's all starting to fit together now. And what, pray, did Worthing council's own Economic Development Officer have to say about the jobs bonanza the multipox is supposed to bring? "The planning application indicated that 180 jobs will be created as part of the proposal, although it is not clear what the full-time equivalent figure is. The majority of these jobs will not be high salary positions." No surprise there, because massive profits for huge, greedy multinational firms don't tend to go hand in hand with decent wages for people like us. But don't expect Worthing Borough Council or any politician to care about that, because to them, and their Big Business chums, ordinary people are nothing but gullible consumers and a source of cheap "flexible" labour.
THE FRONT PAGE story in the Worthing Herald on January 14 underlined nicely what Big Business bosses really think about the staff whose work makes them rich. Insurance firm London & Edinburgh was taken over by Norwich Union, which is now busily cutting its wage bill. And how does it think it will make 140 staff at Worthing feel happy about landing on the dole? It hands out fun-size Mars bars while breaking the news. Talk about taking the piss.
THE COUNCIL KEEPS insisting there is no link between the multipox and the future of the historic Dome. Funny then that Dome bidder Chris Chapman told the Worthing Herald (Jan 21): "If we did get the Dome we would not keep it as a cinema. Within the next couple of years there will be a multiplex built somewhere in Worthing and I can't see people visiting the Dome when there is a cinema showing nine films not far away."

RUMOUR - MONGERS BEHAVING BADLY

WE have been unable as yet to confirm rumours of an embarrassing mix-up in Sussex Police's CCTV control room. It has been suggested that duty staff enjoying a Boxing Day tipple became confused as to which television screen was which and sent out six patrol cars, three riot vans and a helicopter to apprehend two drunk men seen on CCTV stealing a giant fish from the Pavilion Theatre Canopy.

COUNCILLORS CAN GO AND STUFF THEMSELVES

THUMBS down to West Sussex County Council. Having won our praise for banning GM foods from school meals, the Tory administration has sadly reverted to type and announced it is planning to axe all hot school dinners completely. Former Lib Dem county councillor from Worthing, Chris Hare, has embarrassingly revealed that in the meantime councillors continue to stuff themselves on lavish food and wine at the council taxpayers' expense before every full council meeting. Mr Hare also laid into the council for selling off the Fairfield old folks' home in Tarring for housing development after telling him it had to be shut because it was urgently needed as a facility for the physically disabled. "Apparently we are supposed to live in a 'representative democracy' - well, you could have fooled me" declared Mr Hare. How very, very cynical of him! We are shocked.

LEGAL IMMUNITY FOR TONY THE TYRANT

DID you vote for Labour in 1997? Did you do so to get rid of those soft Tories and herald in a "harsh and authoritarian" regime? Well, those are the words Tony Blair himself used to describe his latest policies (The Observer, Jan 10). Presumably he means things like the "anti-terrorist" powers in which "terrorism" is redefined to cover anything from damaging a building to computer hacking or the catch-all "serious disruption". Or perhaps Blair was thinking of the Crime and Disorder Act, under which "anti-social behaviour orders" can land people with curfews or bans from specific places for doing "anything which causes alarm, harassment or distress". We feel alarmed, harassed and distressed by Tony Blair. So will it be an "ABSO" for him? Or are heads of state nicely immune?

HOMELESS TEAPOT HITS THE STREETS

WORTHING'S twice-evicted community cafe, The Anarchist Teapot, is without a home at present, though it has started a popular series of regular Saturday lunchtime outdoor stalls offering alternative literature and, of course, free tea and coffee to town centre shoppers. And an exciting evening event is planned for the near future - for details contact them as below or call in at the Saturday stall. The Teapot Team are still on the look-out for any spare space they could use as a cafe for even a very short time. Please get in touch via PO Box 4144, Worthing, BN14 7NZ.

BATTLE AGAINST MUTANT INVASION

THE BATTLE against GM foods comes to Worthing. The Pork-Bolter is joining forces with Worthing Friends of the Earth, The Anarchist Teapot and other concerned groups to inform townsfolk of the dangers. Action is planned for Saturdays February 27 and March 13, 11am to 2pm.

ENTER COMPETITION TO WIN LUXURY HOLIDAY!

YES, you could win a LUXURY HOLIDAY - if you enter somebody else's competition. But with us lot you'll have to settle for a slice of glory and a free mystery gift. We have been inspired by the following headline from the Worthing Guardian on January 14: "Tory Tim is a PPS". What can it mean? What should it mean? Maybe you think Tim Loughton MP is a "Principled Politician and Statesman". Or maybe you have something else in mind. Send us your suggestions and we'll print the best.

PORKY PIE'S TIP OF THE MONTH

How to Finally Get Your Own Back on Margaret Thatcher After all These Years!
  1. Go to Downing Street
  2. Rip off her Tony Blair mask
  3. Pour quick-set cement down her knickers

FUN AND GAMES ON THE ROAD

A WORTHING anti-roadbuilding contingent joined the immensely successful and enjoyable End of the Road Reunion Newbury bypass protest on January 10, marking the third anniversary of construction work beginning. The sun shone down on a charming contest of "British Bulldog" with Thames Valley Police, spread across all four lanes and several miles of one of the most unwanted roads ever built. The bypass was completely shut down for some six hours in a superb example of how effective non-violent direct action by 250 to 300 protesters. Four were arrested and three released without charge. The remaining person has absurdly been charged with throwing stones up at the hovering police helicopter! The phrase "more power to your elbow" takes on a whole new meaning.

SEX AND VIOLENCE - AN APPEAL

SEX, sex, sex. I see so much of it on the telly these days, writes our agnostic critic Anthony Anthonies. And then there's violence. My colleague Steve Stevens wrote to the Worthing Herald on January 7 that there were 918 violent assaults on the TV. I myself caught 897 of these, but if anyone has videos of any of the missing 21, I'd love to see 'em. Cheers!

PORK SCRATCHINGS

SOMETIMES we feel that the powers-that-be out there don't listen to a single word we say. So how encouraging to see that Northbrook College must have been reading its monthly Pork-Bolter. A few weeks after we came up with a novel suggestion for the use of their controversial Broadwater site - replacing all those old Nissan huts and building a decent college - they suddenly announced that this was exactly what they were now aiming to do! "We decided to work with the community" declared principal Michael Thrower. Blimey! Whatever next?
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DID MI5 fix the general election in 1992? Why did all traffic cameras in that Parisian tunnel malfunction 20 minutes before Princess Diana's fatal crash? Have microwave weapons been used by the secret state against people in Sussex? All these questions, although not necessarily all the answers, can be found in The Information, £1 from Dream Power Pictures, PO Box 521, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6HY.
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HOW many of us realise that the wonderful new Digital TV is in fact designed to extract, record and then sell information about us, the viewer/consumer? And that's just the start, as you can find out in the booklet Spy TV from Privacy International and White Dot at PO Box 2116, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 3LR.
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ONE programme definitely worth watching on TV at the moment is The Mark Thomas Comedy Product on Channel 4 on Wednesday nights at 10.55pm.
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ZAPATISTAS, East Timor and poetry, all in a very arty package, feature in the magazine blu from the darvell bruderhof, robertsbridge, east sussex, TN32 5DR.
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MORE winter trespasses on the South Downs and Sussex Weald are being staged on Sundays February 28 and March 21. Meet Brighton station at 10am. Have sensible footwear. No dogs please!
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EMIGRATE to Sweden anyone? While West Sussex County Council is closing down old people's homes left, right and centre, it is reported that our Scandinavian cousins are sending their old folk with MS and rheumatic illnesses off to Tenerife for some winter sun therapy. Just thought you'd like to know ...
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A MEETING is being held to plan ahead for the proposed Street Football spectacular in Worthing town centre later this year, which aims to reclaim the game from the fat corporate backsides up which it is currently fast disappearing. This will be at 7pm on Tuesday February 16. Info via the Anarchist Teapot (see above).
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ANYONE who followed the A27 enquiry in the mid-90s may recall that evidence about the deadly dangers of diesel fuel particulates was dismissed as rubbish by the inspector and not taken into account. Funnily enough, it is now accepted at Whitehall that particulates cause 15,000 premature deaths in the UK each year and The Times reports that Japanese university scientists have found that diesel fumes reduce sperm count in mice by 20%.
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LANCING'S Tracy Roberts has eventually had her name cleared, two years after being wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit criminal damage during the campaign to stop live animal exports from Shoreham. The conviction was quashed by London's Court of the Lord Chief Justices on January 14 and she now plans to sue Sussex Police.
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BRING HOME THE BACON - SUBSCRIBE! If you want to make sure of getting a copy of Issue 15, simply send us a stamped, self-addressed envelope. To get the next six issues send a donation of at least £2 to cover costs. Many thanks to readers who have given us extra money. 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
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SNOUTS IN THE TROUGH. The Pork-Bolter is a Ninda Pendant. What?! Oh, sorry. The Pork-Bolter is an independent newsletter produced by and for ordinary Worthing people. It costs you nothing to read but while you're here you may want to buy a Mega-Buck Tub of Tiny Rowland Multipox Popcorn, grab a Robin King-size portion of Hot'n'Juicy Tradytionale Cherrye Pye, invest in a labour-saving multi-pack of Norwich Union fun-sized Mars bars or simply hand over large sums of cash out of servile gratitude to the Great and Good in the public and private sectors who have together forged the enchanted social landscape that is Worthing in 1999.
and finally ... DON'T GET ANGRY, GET ACTIVE!