the pork-bolter
No 61, June 2004

Totally rotten borough

PURE contempt for the people and the environment of Worthing - that’s what Worthing Borough Council is displaying in the Titnore scandal.

Having come to power on the back of a pledge to oppose this massive development and given us a lot of flannel about "listening" to the public’s views, they have now made it quite clear that they intend steamrolling the scheme through - like we always thought they would. At a very revealing public meeting at the Pavilion Theatre on April 19, they even had the cheek to try and make out that those opposed to the scheme did not actually represent local opinion. But when quizzed by alert and persistent members of the public, they were forced to admit the stunning truth. Over a thousand objections to the West Durrington project had already been received - with the sum total of those backing the desecration of our countryside amounting to an impressive zero!

The council is trying to pretend it is no big deal that a gang of greedy property developers are going to be allowed to tarmac over the last green lung in Worthing borough and cut down "only" 200 trees to widen Titnore Lane for access to the 900-home estate. They also claim that they are powerless to act, when what they really mean is they lack the guts to take up a fight against powerful vested interests on behalf of the people they claim to represent. Council leader Sheila Player claimed she did not like the development, "not one jot", but admitted she would not vote against it when it comes before planners - probably in July. If the council rejected the development, "the Government would surely march on here and do what it likes to Worthing", she claimed. When a member of the public made a comment about people getting their own back through the ballot box, she rather smugly pointed out that the Tories’ policy on Titnore was exactly the same as her own Lib Dem party’s!

No meaningful choice in elections, local politicians with apparently no power at all, a central London government bent on imposing its Big Business-funded agenda on Sussex - what a pretty picture of our English "democracy" this paints!

Once again, by ducking out of the responsibilities they willingly took on by standing for office, our councillors are leaving the rest of us - ordinary Worthing residents - to defend our town. Of course they don’t like people who stand up for themselves - witness the scaremongering in the press and the heavy police intimidation of Titnore protesters over the last few years (see endless Porkbolter back issues), which even involved the venue of the April meeting moved from Durrington "on police advice" and security guards protecting Worthing Pier from people coming to the public meeting called by the council itself! Campaigners are determined to take on the fight in whatever way they can. One group ("STOP Durrington’s Over-Development. Save Titnore’s Trees") are putting up a candidate in the Northbrook ward in Durrington in the local elections and others are inviting people to a big protest in Worthing town centre on July 10 - meeting at 2pm in Montague Place, near Woolworth’s.

Worthing’s councillors have now made it perfectly clear they won’t so much as lift a finger to save our precious ancient woodland at West Durrington. It is time for the people of Worthing to step up and do it for them!


Badgers blocked

POLICE are investigating the illegal blocking of a badger sett on the site of the proposed Titnore Woods desecration, it has been revealed (The Argus, April 17). Coincidentally, the presence of badgers on a piece of countryside can be a key factor in whether developments are allowed to go ahead. The land is owned by the Somerset family, who stand to make millions by flogging off the land to property developers, but the report did not say whether they or their employees are being questioned about the identity of the mystery offenders. Tony Slow of the West and Mid Sussex Badger Protections Groups, which spotted the crime, said: "This is a critical time of the year for badgers and they are particularly vulnerable."


One of them was wrong!

THE relationship between Worthing Borough Council and the truth has been cast into even greater doubt by the row over April 19’s public meeting about Titnore Woods. An article in the Worthing Herald (April 15) reported council leader Sheila Player as insisting "the time of the meeting had not been changed" - from a 6pm to a 7.30pm start. How, then, does she account for the email below sent to a Titnore Lane resident by the chairman of the council’s planning committee back on February 20? It read: (reproduced in the form in which it was received!) "I now have a date for the Public Meeting to discuss the West Durrington Development it is to be Monday April 19th between 6 & 9pm at the Pier Pavilion the meeting is to be chaired by the Leader of the Council and also on hand will be Senior Officers and many Councillors to answer questions. Please could you pass this on to anyone who would be interested. Many Thanks Bob Smytherman"

SAVE TITNORE WOODS!

Meet 2pm, Saturday July 10

Montague Place

(near Woolworth’s)

Worthing

BRING BANNERS, WHISTLES,

FANCY DRESS

Council’s decision due in July!


Curfews herald new police state

THE MORE that ordinary people see through the spin and lies of governments, the more heavy-handed their approach to controlling us will become. Yet again, we seem to have taken another large step towards a police state even since the last issue of The Porkbolter.

Take, for instance, the astonishing police behaviour in Durrington. As the Worthing Herald explained (April 29), a father who arrived at his home in Varey Road to find it on fire "was pushed to the ground by police and subdued with CS spray as he tried to save his family"! It was only then that "an angry mob of youths turned on the police". You might have imagined the "thugs" theme to the Herald’s report applied to those who attacked Mr White and thus started the "riot". But of course, it didn’t. It referred to the fact that, in the face of the police’s increasing unpopularity (what a mystery! why should that be?), they have brought in what the Herald reckons is "the legal muscle they need to tackle the rising tide of yob crime" and we would call something like Nazi police state conditions. Using Herr Blunkett’s Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, they have defined an area of Durrington where they can break up groups of "two or more persons", force people to leave the area if they are not residents and order them not to return for 24 hours! They are also imposing a curfew on under 16 year olds after 9pm - so much for the long summer evenings hanging out with your mates we all enjoyed when we were younger. Chief Inspector Russ Whitfield admitted to the Herald that "there are human rights implications" - but obviously that’s not enough to stop the police jackboot stamping down on a whole community.

Meanwhile, the Neo-Labour Gestapo will not be stopped in its rush to impose ID cards on every one of us. It will not just have your name and mugshot, but "biometric" data including your fingerprint and iris pattern - the sort of treatment that in the past has been reserved for dangerous criminals. There will be a £2,500 fine for "failure to attend an appointment for a biometrics scan" (The Guardian, April 27) and "students will be required to carry ID cards before they can obtain loans for university" (Independent, April 27).

Campaign group Privacy International estimates the cost of the scheme to the taxpayer at an incredible £6 billion and has suggested a few other better uses for that sort of cash - like building 600 new schools at £10m each (education, education, education!), 30 new hospitals at £200m each or giving each of Britain’s poorest six million pensioners and families a £1,000 windfall gift. It is vital that people voice their opposition to this wasteful and totalitarian scheme. Info: Privacy International 2nd Floor, Lancaster House, 33 Islington High St, London N1 9LH, 07949 778247 or Defy-ID

* FAMILIES and young people protested in London on May 11 about the Government’s Big Brother database on children. Alison Preuss, vice-chair of Action on Rights for Children said: "Although the Government claims that the Children Bill is about child protection, we know perfectly well that it is part of the e-government plan to put the records of everyone in the UK on to a central database. We are disgusted that they are relying on ‘child protection’ to deflect criticism, and using Victoria Climbie as cover for sweeping in a policy that was being framed before the Laming Inquiry into her death even opened."


Selfish minority

A WORRYING and dangerous voting trend has been identified by expert Cyril Porridge, who claims a small hardcore minority are continuing to cast a vote and refusing to ignore the corrupt electoral process like most conscientious citizens. Fumed Mr Porridge, a lifelong 72 year old from Ferring: "These thoughtless people really are spoiling it for the rest of us - not just today but for future generations. At the Euro and local elections in Worthing as many as 29% of the electorate may still turn out. What on earth is the matter with them?"

Never mind the ballots!

ELECTION time traditionally throws up a load of strange coincidences. Such as the bizarre fact that three of the big controversial decisions affecting Worthing Borough Council - on Titnore, Asda and the "Sherlygate" dispute - are all taking place AFTER councillors face the voters’ verdict on June 10. How strange!

Nobody listens. Nobody cares. Nobody will act in your interests. Vote Nobody. (anti-election leaflet)

"A shock poll for The Sun today reveals a devastating collapse in support for Labour and the Tories as bored voters turn to No Party. By voting for no party, millions will be raising a two-fingered salute to politicians who set their taxes or take the nation to war... They are fed up - not because they are uninterested in politics, but because nobody at Westminster or in Brussels takes a blind bit of notice of their views." (The Sun, April 19).

"If voting changed anything they’d have banned it by now." Ancient anarchist proverb.

"Britain will be in danger of riots and civil disobedience if the number voting continues to fall dramatically, the election supremo said yesterday. Politicians across the spectrum have said that the next government will have to struggle to assert its authority if less than 50% of the electorate turns out to vote." (Guardian, March 29). We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

Michael Howard wants you to vote. He says (in the Tories’ Newsline leaflet): "This is the one opportunity people have to make their voice heard." One opportunity, eh? Sort of sums up our so-called democracy!

Naughty free-spirited voters across the Channel are "making France increasingly difficult to govern," warns The Guardian (March 30). Politicians don’t like "the way, as a matter of course, voters reject whoever is in power". How irresponsible!

The editor of The Argus reckons all good citizens should register to vote. He adds: "Once on the list, they should exercise their right to vote for mainstream candidates of their choice rather than any extremists." Vive the status quo!

"Don’t vote. It only encourages them." Another ancient anarchist proverb.


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

THE fox-hunting Sussex chairman of the Countryside Alliance, Jamie Hawksfield, has been arrested and cautioned for assaulting anti-hunt protester Jaine Wild of Bognor at Shipley. (Argus, April 15).
* * *

WORTHING eco-action's next meeting, upstairs at The Downview, opp West Worthing station, is at 7.45pm on Tuesday June 1. It will feature news of a new local group campaigning against the G8, that arrogant bunch of self-elected world rulers due to meet in the UK next year - in the face of what are expected to be some of the biggest anti-capitalist protests yet seen in this country. Info from Shut The G8
* * *

SUSSEX shoppers got a taste of life in Palestine recently, when protesters set up an Israeli-style checkpoint in Western Road, Brighton. Reports our correspondent who made the trip over to the city: "With the use of the loud hailer it was easy to understand the control and pressure put on ordinary people. It was by far one of the most powerful pieces of street theatre I have ever seen."
* * *

POLICE corruption here in sunny Sussex? Surely not. Then again, you might want to take a peek at www.sac.human-rights.org, a website which reckons there’s plenty of it about... And it’s keen to hear more.
* * *

WE’RE giving you plenty of advance notice of Worthing Animal Aid’s next Cruelty Free Fair. It’s on Saturday September 11 at Heene Rooms Hall, Heene Rd, Worthing, 10am-2.30pm. To book a stall contact Worthing Animal Aid, c/o 56 Cissbury Gardens, Worthing, BN14 0DZ.
* * *

CHILDREN weaned on TV cannot concentrate, scientists have found (Guardian, April 6). They suffer from concentration problems, impulsiveness, restlessness "and being easily confused" - making them the ideal ballot box fodder of the future.
* * *

FREE welfare rights advice is now being offered at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton, on Friday afternoons. Phone 07904 052 168.
* * *

AT the Titnore meeting on April 19, council leader Sheila Player was asked about the £35 million Worthing Homes paid the council for its council housing stock back in 1999 and where it was now. "It’s gone," she said. But where? Maybe we should be told?

Going underground!

YOUNGSTERS in Durrington are literally being forced underground by heavy handed policing methods, reports our award-winning Tunnel Correspondent Teddy Beest. In response to the curfews and anti-social behaviour orders being levelled against the young citizens, sympathetic tunnel denizens, based under Field Place, have been busy opening up a whole new set of openings in and around Durrington to provide easy access to the youths, who in return have offered to put their urban warfare skills to good use by fighting against the authorities alongside the hundreds of eco-protesters now arriving in the tunnels in the run-up to The Battle of Titnore. Meanwhile, badgers whose setts have been blocked up in Titnore Woods (see front) have also found their way into the tunnel network and been welcomed with open arms by the nature-loving tunnel folk. The angry and displaced badger community are also pledging commitment to the ever-growing Durrington Resistance Front against the sinister money men and their thuggish police lackeys...

Warning: Don’t blame us!

BLAME culture has no place in a modern democratic system, warned the Secretary of State for Mindless Compliance this week. He said: "Voters upset at, for example, the loss of countryside to development, should not blame their local council as they only work under guidelines drawn up on a county level. Likewise county councillors are only obeying orders from central government and should not be blamed either. Of course, central government itself cannot be blamed for fulfilling its duty to promote economic growth and the well-being of our wealth-creating business community. And, as we all know, anyone who tries to blame business and capitalism for the destruction of the environment is nothing but a crazed extremist out to destroy democracy!"

No more remote control

THE Porkbolter is a totally independent local newsletter, named after a real historic term for Worthing people. Our aim is to encourage the good folk of this town to take control of their own lives. The aim of elections is to get people to sign over control of their own lives to a bunch of politicians. That’s why we don’t like elections (or politicians). 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 way they’ll get us to vote for any of them. Ever.


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

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