the pork-bolter
No 68, June 2005

Tesconspiracy of the greedy

ONE of Britain’s greediest businesses wants to get its grasping hands on a precious piece of Worthing green space.

Tesco, as its latest results revealed, coins in a gobsmacking £65 profit every single second of every minute of every day. But that clearly is not enough for this fat monster of a company and it is trying to build an enormous new supermarket on fields behind its current store in Durrington.

The so-called ‘district centre’ would include a Tesco bigger than the one at Holmbush in Shoreham, plus other shops and a massive new car park where the store now sits. Hundreds of local people had already objected to an original plan, but with a typical sleight of hand, Tesco withdrew the original application so that any letters and petitions sent in would become invalid and protesters would have to start again.

Now people only have until early June to get in their objections. Objections, which need only be a few words long, should be sent to Worthing Borough Council Planning Services at Portland House, Richmond Road, Worthing BN11 1LF, quoting the reference number WB/05/0245/OUT

The new megastore would completely fill in the pleasant field behind Varey Road in Durrington. It will mean a huge increase in the numbers of cars and nosy, polluting delivery lorries in the neighbourhood. It sits right next to the land earmarked by the equally greedy property developers who want to build more than 900 homes off Titnore Lane. We are supposed to live in a democracy. Did anyone ask the people of Durrington or Worthing if they wanted their countryside to be handed over to these big business vandals? Did anyone stand for election stating that they would roll over and allow these fat cats to walk all over our quality of life and environment?

The Protect Our Woodland! campaign group told The Porkbolter it would be voicing its opposition to the plan. But it stressed: "We need more people to stand up on this. If the council are going to be made to listen, local people have got to get together with their friends and neighbours and make it clear in no uncertain terms that they will not put up with Tesco trampling all over them."


Every little helps

IN ITS push to maximise profit, Tesco is busy destroying local communities across the UK. In its ‘Ghost Town Britain’ report, the New Economics Foundation revealed that between 1995 and 2000 we lost about a fifth of our local shops and services including post-offices, banks, butchers and grocers.

Between 1997 and 2002, around 50 specialist stores closed every week. In October 2002, Tesco bought 870 One Stop, Day & Night or Dillons shops across the UK, almost half of which contained a sub post office. Tesco is now busily converting these shops into Tesco Express, closing 100 post offices, often in the smallest communities, in the process.


Council admits expense claims rip-off

WORTHING Borough Council found out that one of its senior officers had cheated the borough’s taxpayers with a string of dodgy expense claims - and never even bothered to prosecute him!

That’s the startling revelation to be unearthed under the Freedom of Information Act by dogged investigator and Porkbolter reader Roy Cremer.

You may recall we reported an incident in which the council’s former chief executive Michael Ball was ‘mistakenly overpaid’ election expenses. The matter was complicated by a mention at the Sherylgate tribunal of an issue involving Mr Ball and assistant chief executive Keith Eales in which police were called in to investigate. Why, asked Mr Cremer, were police involved if this was a question of a simple ‘mistake’.

The latest reply from the council’s Corporate Lawyer Julie Watson, dated May 4, states that Mr Ball’s payment had been incorrectly calculated, unbeknown to him. "When the calculation was later checked and the overpayment identified he immediately repaid the sum involved." However, she adds: "The Tribunal reported in its Judgment at paragraph 12.5 that ‘the police were briefly consulted about the issue of the overclaims for election expenses’. Taken in the context of the rest of the paragraph and the oral evidence given at the Tribunal, it is clear that the police were consulted in respect of Mr Eales, whom it transpired had consistently claimed overpayments of election expenses for himself on several occasions over [a] period of time and who had made no repayment."

Commented investigator Mr Cremer: "This really beggars belief. The council is admitting that its assistant chief executive was known to have ripped off the taxpayer and nothing was ever done about it! Everyone knows that single mums overclaiming a few quids’ worth of benefits always get hauled off before the courts. "How come the council bigwigs get away with it? It really is one law for us and one law for them!"


Six questions for Councillor Donald Lissenburg

TONY BLAIR is not the only politician facing a rather tricky period following a successful re-election campaign. We have contacted Worthing Lib Dem county councillor Donald Lissenburg as a matter of some urgency, following some alarming material made available to The Porkbolter. We have the following six questions to ask:

1. Is it true that in 2003/2004 you attended only nine council meetings and in 2004/5, to March 1 2005, you attended only six?

2. Is it true that you attended no meetings from June to November 2004 and were told that unless you attended a meeting during December 2004 you would be disqualified as a county councillor?

3. Can you confirm that you were paid £8,538 as a county councillor in 2003/2004 - that is £946.66 for each meeting attended - and £7,115 up to March 1 this year, representing £1,185.83 per meeting?

4. Were you aware that a complaint against you has been lodged with the Standards Board for England?

5. Is it true that you and your wife Geraldine, a Worthing borough councillor, are close personal friends of former council leader Sheila Player?

6. Is it true that when you were also a Worthing borough councillor both you and your wife took part and voted in a meeting authorising £2,000 be spent on independent legal advice for Sheila Player in connection with Sheryl Grady’s employment tribunal case and that neither of you declared a personal and prejudicial interest?

We have sent a copy of these questions to Mr Lissenburg at the county council offices and also to his home address in Upper Brighton Road - just in case the member for Gaisford does not happen to drop in at County Hall over the next few days... We eagerly await his reply to these enquiries and we will, of course, be delighted to carry them in our next issue.


Arresting warning over central state database

"EVEN more alarming and draconian legislation" is on the way from the Government, our correspondent from the other side of the thin blue line has warned.

In our last issue, we printed his comments stating that as a serving police officer he was concerned at the prospect of a privatised police state being brought in by Tony Blair. Now he has got back in touch with more information about a move that he says "is considerably worse than the latest terrorism bill that so many people and politicians stood up against".

He warns: "This legislation has not been publicised negatively by the press, but in fact the BBC thinks it’s a good idea. I have heard no politicians condemn it, and no top Police officers denounce it. The Labour spin has won again against people that care more about what they buy from Tesco’s than what their children will inherit.

"The new legislation is to make every offence 'arrestable'. Labour tell us the reason for this is that Police Officers have to learn far too much legislation to know all the law. Utter Rubbish is the answer from a Police Officer that actually uses the law every day. The real reason for the change is quite literally so that they can have anyone working for them as a privatised Police Officer. They won’t have to teach them the law and they won’t have to have people who are intelligent enough to learn the law. On top of this they can arrest any person for any offence at any time.

"At the moment not all offences are arrestable, in fact a large majority of what we call summary offences are not. These are offences like speeding, dropping litter, parking on double yellow lines etc. Most of these offences are dealt with by way of verbal warning or a ticket. Now all that will end. Park your car on a yellow line - ‘Arrested!’ Drop your wrapper from your 99 cone on the beach - ‘Arrested!’ Light a fire in your garden before the right time ‘Arrested!’ Have an argument with your wife - ‘Arrested!’

"Also along with these new powers of arrest will be an automatic right for the new private police officer to enter your home without a warrant. As most arrestable offences have a power of entry to the offender’s home address or where they are staying at the time, I can only see that all the new ones will have the same power as well.

"Now we get onto the even more interesting bit. As every offence is arrestable, that means the Government has the power to take your fingerprints, DNA, and photograph. What a great way to log everyone in this country on their database! They will know everyone’s DNA make up and where they originate from."

Our correspondent warns: "The sad thing is most people will wake up to the fact their rights have been taken away before they have the gumption to speak out. This unfortunately is like moaning about your fire alarms after your house has burnt down. This legislation needs to be fought against at every level as if indeed it makes it through as law a new dark cloud will descend on our country."

* To get involved in the local battle against ID cards go to www.no2id-worthing.net or email worthing@no2id.net


Cyclist’s police ordeal

A RUSTINGTON man was arrested and locked up by police for some 16 hours - for the heinous crime of cycling in a pedestrian precinct! In the end a medical condition led to Joby Akira collapsing in massive pain and being taken to Worthing Hospital for treatment.

The shocking events began at 6.50pm on May Day, Sunday May 1, in Church Street Littlehampton, when Joby was stopped by police. He recalled: "I specifically informed the arresting officer that to handcuff my hands behind my back and sit me in a police car for the journey would exacerbate a chronic medical condition causing my spinal nerves to go into spasm. She ignored this and the result was my being hospitalised the following day.

"During the incarceration period in the night I was in extreme pain and repeatedly attempted hourly to exercise my legal entitlements via an intercom which was often switched to ‘off’. Each time my requests for someone to be informed of my detention, to gain medical attention, speak to a duty solicitor and be provided with writing materials were denied.

"Apart from certain exceptions, such as anti-terrorism laws, these are fundamental legal rights in English Law and certainly not applicable to pedal-cycling offences." Joby has now, unsurprisingly, made a complaint to the police and is taking legal advice on suing.


Massed against the G8

WORTHING’S Critical Mass against the G8 and Climate Change on Saturday April 30 saw 60 cyclists and foot followers blocking up the one-way system in Worthing to draw attention to the murder of our planet being carried out by the industrial system and its corrupt rulers. Everyone seemed to have a fun time on a sunny day and there was a great deal of enthusiasm for holding another one in the near future. www.freewebs.com/shuttheg8

Disappointed in the dark

"HOW disappointing to be once again led down the garden path by the local rag’s reports of filth and degradation in a local beauty spot," reports our cultural affairs correspondent and moral crusader Maurice Morrison. "Armed with a stout stick, I set off to Whitebeam Woods to challenge the reported immoral and illicit goings-on. Having searched, in the dark, for 17 nights on the trot, I am disappointed to report that I was not propositioned by a single young prostitute, nor was I offered any intoxicating substances - the only kind of weed I encountered was the kind trampled underfoot as I beat a hasty retreat in response to the arrival of Her Majesty’s Constabulary."

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

THE MASSIVE proposed West Durrington development off Titnore Lane is finally to be discussed by Worthing Borough Council planners on Friday June 10, according to the Worthing Herald (May 12). However, the date was still described as "provisional" so it would be best to check beforehand before turning up at the council chamber with banners and bags of rotten tomatoes!
* * *

ENCOURAGING news from the campaign to preserve Worthing’s 100 year old cinema The Dome. A packed meeting held at The Downview in West Worthing on April 4 saw the reformation of the Save the Worthing Dome campaign. It has now set up its own website at www.savetheworthingdome.cjb.net
* * *

WITH the illusion of British Democracy looking thinner than ever these days, it’s no surprise that 40% of the Worthing electorate declined to vote on May 3 (more than actually voted for the winning candidates!). But for Worthing Herald editor Jon Buss this just wasn’t good enough. He used his election day comment to urge us all to make sure we voted for one of the candidates (even, presumably, if this meant endorsing someone whose views we completely disagreed with!). He added: "Wouldn’t it be excellent if we all woke up tomorrow morning to find that our constituencies down here posted the best turn-outs in the country?" Errrr... why?
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A NATIONAL demo and march in Brighton against controversial local arms manufacturer EDO is being held on Saturday June 11. Meet at the end of The Level near St Peter’s Church at 12 noon. Bring banners and musical instruments of any description.
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REMEMBER those TV extinguishing gadgets we mentioned a few months ago? Well, it proved rather tricky to get hold of one, after the makers’ website crashed out. But now, we are assured, you can get hold of one via www.whitedot.org
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ANYONE who hates Blair, Bush and their global cronies will want the opposition to their G8 meeting in Scotland in July to send them a real message. But protests like that don’t just happen without a lot of effort and the Dissent! network, which has been preparing for months and has now found a Convergence Centre, urgently need funds to pay for the massive amount of resources needed to accommodate the tens of thousands of protesters expected. You can make a donation to the Dissent! via www.dissent.org.uk/donate.html, or by direct deposit into the bank account: Account Name: Dissent. Bank Name: The Cooperative Bank. Sort Code: 08-92-99. Account Number 6515 5518
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ANOTHER giant stride in the March of Progress. "Scientists at a company in California have developed a potentially revolutionary technique to permanently rewrite any gene in the human body," reports The Guardian (April 4). They admit "the technique could target and change genes not involved in disease" but don’t seem overly worried by the prospect. We are.
* * *

BIG spending on new medical equipment to combat osteoporosis was trumpeted by the government just before the election. Meanwhile, however, our schools are still forced to rely on the average £15,000 a year they receive from soft drinks vending machines to help pay teachers’ salaries, thanks to a lack of funding from that same Government. And the connection? Phosphorus in fizzy drinks leaches out the calcium from the bones of teenagers, thus leading to an even bigger and more expensive national osteoporosis problem in years to come!
* * *

A NEW grassroots forum has been launched for people and groups dedicated to standing up for the people of Worthing and their environmental and cultural heritage. The Worthing Alliance will be holding its first meeting at 8pm on Thursday June 23 upstairs at The Rest in Bath Place, Worthing (opposite the side entrance to Woolworth’s in Montague Street). This is a great chance to find out what’s going on around town and meet like-minded spirits. And party politics is completely banned!

Warning: Don’t be alarmed

THE MINISTER for Reassuring Platitudes today refuted alarmist claims of a police state database being compiled on British citizens. He said: "Ordinary law-abiding people, upholding the Dunkirk spirit of spirited compliance and brave obedience, are hereby ordered to ignore these foul rumours. Furthermore, we have conclusive proof that the individuals behind these downright lies all have long and sinister histories of hindering the Forces of Progress and Profitability and they want to watch out because we know where they live."

Seeing the pig picture

THE PORKBOLTER is an independent volunteer-produced newsletter for Worthing and is not available at Tesco.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. If you think you're subscribed by email but aren't getting anything from us then please get in touch - certain addresses seem to be blocked from receiving our mail-outs for some reason.

Printed and published by The Pork-Bolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no profit at all per second.


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

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