the pork-bolter
March 2001

EXPOSED: THE SHAM THAT IS BRITAIN’S SO-CALLED DEMOCRACY

BUSINESS MAFIA RULE THE ROOST VITAL decisions about the future of Sussex are now being taken by a little-known but powerful Quango stuffed with businessmen. This is the shocking reality exposed by campaigners battling against the threat of a new bypass across countryside near Hastings in East Sussex. This highly destructive and expensive scheme was recently approved by the South East England Regional Assembly, which is advising John Prescott to go ahead with it. Not a lot of people have heard of the Assembly. Indeed, our researcher was told in no uncertain terms by "information" staff at one West Sussex library that it did not exist and there was no regional tier of government in this country! And if you are racking your memory trying to remember when you voted for your local representative on the democratic-sounding Assembly, then spare your efforts. The Assembly, which likes to call itself a "voice for the south-east", is not elected by the public at all. Its decisions are instead made by an elite of party hacks from various local authorities across the region, working hand-in-hand with "social and economic partners". While one or two of these are token trade union representatives and tame environmentalists, these are easily overshadowed by a rather sinister array of business lobbyists. A list of its members, which we tracked down via the internet at http:www.southeast-ra.gov.uk, shows that these include the likes of Hamish Munro of the East Sussex Economic Partnership, John Gregory of Hampshire Economic Partnership, Anne Marie Nelson of the Kent Economic Forum and so on and so forth. Often, the only clue as to these individuals’ allegiances comes from the address shown next to their name - for instance, Richard Farmer of the Thames Valley Economic Partnership turns out to be be based at The Equitable Life Assurance Society in Aylesbury, Tim Lockwood of the West Sussex Economic Partnership is revealed as none other than the Director of Planning and Environment for Gatwick Airport and David Wilson of the Confederation of British Industry gives it all away by citing his address as Eurotunnel Developments, PO Box 2000, Folkestone. Some observers might suggest that certain of these individuals have a commercial interest in building new road links over the Sussex countryside and it would be useful to be able to put the record straight with regard to who voted for what. But unfortunately, we are unable to provide this information. An enquiry was met with the news that not even the numbers voting for and against the controversial bypass scheme were available, let alone a breakdown of how the various party bigwigs and "economic partners" actually voted. There also seemed to be some confusion among local members. West Sussex County Council leader Graham Forshaw, who likes to paint himself as a defender of green spaces like the Goring Gap, forgot all about his countryside-loving image and expressed his support for the road. And Brian Lynn, Tory leader of Worthing Borough Council told the Worthing Herald on February 22 that "there was overwhelming support from all three political parties", making no reference to the "economic partners" who form such an important part of Britain’s privatised quangocracy. Perhaps he has difficulty spotting the difference between representatives of the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem parties and professional lobbyists for Big Business interests. We certainly do!

* Opponents of the new road can contact SCAR (South Coast Against Roadbuilding) via e-mail (info@scar-uk.freeserve.co.uk) or by writing to SCAR c/o PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ.


None of their business?

DID you stupidly think that a "council" was something you have the chance to vote for? If so, you clearly haven’t heard about the new organisation taking over education and training for everyone aged over 16 in Worthing? The Worthing Guardian on February 16 contained a small piece about the new Sussex Learning+Skills Council. Described as "a top team of business leaders and educationists", this prime example of privatised quangocracy will apparently control a budget of no less than £100 million. Said the report "The body takes up its responsibilities in April, with the sixth forms of secondary schools coming under its wing a year later." And it revealed it is working on "far-reaching proposals to improve the education and skills of adults throughout the county". Sounds ominous. Very ominous...

What’s the point in voting?

ELECTIONS - What Do They Achieve? That’s the title of a talk to be given in Worthing on Tuesday April 3 by well-known local historian and ex-county councillor Chris Hare. Four years ago, he actually stood as Lib Dem candidate for Worthing West in the General Election, finishing second to Peter Bottomley. Since then Mr Hare has gone public on his disillusionment with the party political game and, with another election looming, his experience and historical perspective should make for a fascinating talk. The event is being hosted by worthing.eco-action at 42 Marine Parade, Worthing seafront (in the meeting room above Paiges bar) from 7.45pm. Get there early for a seat!

Chunky book with a cool cover

THE LATEST issue of our favourite journal has just been published and we’re just dying to do it justice here. Unfortunately, though, Do or Die - Voices from the Ecological Resistance is just far too big for us to even list all the contents properly, let alone make any useful comments. Issue Nine boasts an astonishing 232 pages and a rather cool colour cover, all at the highly reasonable cost of £5 including postage (think chunky book here, rather than flimsy mag) It's cheaper if you buy it from Brighton Peace Centre. There are reports on the anti-capitalist protests in Prague, a handy A-Z of planning direct action, a low-down on the repressive new Terrorism Act, a radical history of football, plus loads more top stuff, all presented with a wry sense of humour. To get a copy, send your fiver as cheque, postal order or well-hidden cash to Do or Die, c/o Prior House, 6 Tilbury Place, Brighton, BN2 2GY.

Porky Pie’s Top Tip of the Month!

HOW TO ERADICATE FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE ONCE AND FOR ALL!
  1. COVER EVERY INCH OF THE COUNTRYSIDE WITH NEW MOTORWAYS!

Act against the mast menace!

PEOPLE in Worthing and across the country are rebelling against the invasion of dangerous mobile phone masts. Children’s (and adults’) health is being put at risk, landscapes spoiled and townscapes disfigured, all in the interest of bigger profits for the phone firm fat cats. And the Government is doing nothing to halt this menace - in fact it has even banned local councils from stopping the masts being put up!

* Outraged residents in Seamill Park Crescent, East Worthing, are battling to have a mobile phone mast removed from council land. It was put up without advance notice, but the council says the BT mast is a "permitted development" and cannot be halted. (Worthing Guardian, February 2)

* Massive anger has greeted plans for a new mast at Lancing Manor, which the Shoreham, Lancing and Steyning Guardian (March 9) called "a threat to people’s health through radiation emissions, particularly to children".

* In January, Worthing Borough Council planning committee refused Dolphin Telecommunications Ltd permission to put transmitting equipment on the roof of Arundel Lodge in Shelley Road, Worthing, after 86 people signed a petition opposing it (Worthing Herald, January 11).

* Broadwater residents are furious after Orange Personal Communications Ltd was given permission by Worthing council to put a mast on the roof of 37-49 Broadwater Street West, above occupied flats (Worthing Herald, February 15).

Nationwide, there are now 22,000 mobile phone masts beaming dangerous microwaves around the place. Another 40,000 are already planned for the next three years and the phone firms reckon 100,000 more are needed. In its traditional patronising way, the Government thinks we are all going to meekly accept its assurances that microwaves do not cook your brains in the same way that they cook your dinner, that mobile emissions are nothing to do with brain tumours and that recorded links to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss are all just an unfortunate coincidence. But, once again, ordinary people are turning out to be not half as stupid as the powers-that-be would like to think. For instance, Hove resident Peter Sims told the Evening Argus on February 27: "The Government says there is no evidence of a health risk posed by masts, but they said that 20 years ago about asbestos and look what has happened since then. We are taking too great a risk, particularly with vulnerable children, to say what won’t hurt us." And a Broadwater resident quoted by the Worthing Herald (Feb 15) was thinking along very much the same lines when he said: "The government is denying there are any problems with mobile phone masts, however they said that about BSE." Public anger has reached the point where there are now some 200 anti-mast campaigns across the country, and they are increasingly co-ordinating their efforts and inspiring each other to action. In Hackney, London, residents and protesters have stopped masts being erected. In rural areas of Ireland locals have dismantled or damaged aerials erected by Orange. The message is clear. If the Government and the councils are too weak or corrupt to protect our health from the mast menace then we will do it ourselves - in any way we have to!

CONTACTS: Mast Action UK (PO Box 312, Herts EN7 5ZE, website http://freespace.virginet.co.uk/mast.action) Powerwatch (www.powerwatch.org.uk)


Council’s fraudian slip

AN interesting statement of intent from Worthing Borough Council client services manager Terry Cutler in the Worthing Guardian on February 16. Following a benefit fraud case, he said: "The council has a duty to protect council taxpayers. We will continue to prosecute those people attempting to defraud the system. We hope this policy will deter anyone who is considering trying to rob the community." So that’s businesses, banks, loan companies, supermarkets, the Government, the council itself... Meanwhile, the authorities have set up a special website inviting the public to give details of anyone they suspect of cheating the rest of us. It turns out they are referring to benefit fraud rather than anything big league, so please don’t get all confused and find yourself popping down to the library or some other anonymous terminal, calling up http://www.targetingfraud.gov.uk/pages/intro.html and entering in the name and address of a greedy landlord, businessman, politician or other authorised crook.

A question of foot and mouth

HERE’S one for puzzle lovers. Given that the foot and mouth outbreak was caused by capitalism (intensive farming, long-distance transport of livestock etc) and the over-reaction to it was also caused by capitalism (the disease is the animal equivalent of a bad cold and not in the least fatal, but slightly lowers meat and milk yields and thus profit margins) how are we ever going to get rid of foot and mouth disease (or BSE or pollution or global warming etc) without dismantling capitalism? Rhetorical answers only, please.

The answer’s so obvious

"ONE way of dealing with graffiti is to stop manufacturing aerosol paint," declared a readers’ letter in the Worthing Guardian on February 2. What a lovely concept and, we feel, worth adapting. One way of dealing with road deaths is to stop manufacturing motor cars. One way of dealing with war is to stop manufacturing weapons. One way of dealing with theft is to stop manufacturing money. Need we go on?

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

SPOKES-PERSONS and other wheely useful people are wanted by Worthing Cycle Campaign. Said organiser Anthony Cartmell: "We could do with people who are willing to go to meetings, write letters, read and digest council publications and help with organising events. To get anything done for cyclists in Worthing we need to raise our profile!" Things are certainly not happening fast at present, with the last Urban Transport Plan meeting for Worthing revealing that West Sussex County Council’s budget for cycling schemes in Worthing for 2001/2002 is the generous sum of £0.00! A Cycle Campaign meeting is being held on Wednesday March 28 from 8pm to 9.30pm in Sompting. If you’d like to attend phone Anthony on 01903 761162 or e-mail AJCartmell@fonant.co.uk
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WHILE we have not been slow to criticise local council services, where they deserve it, we have never had cause to complain about the Trading Standards people, who provide an invaluable service to the public who pop into their highly accessible office in Chapel Road, near Blockbusters. Too accessible, apparently - their bosses at West Sussex County Council are shunting them off to Durrington.
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GOOD news for friends and comrades of Bob Baines, the eco-activist and Pork-Bolter contributor from Goring who tragically died just before Christmas. The fund in his memory raised enough cash to buy no fewer than 12 saplings, which have now been planted as part of community woodland near Bognor and a commemorative certificate sent to Bob’s family. Many thanks to all those who contributed. Bob’s spirit lives on in the Sussex countryside he fought to defend.
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FOLLOWING the talk by Chris Hare at April 3’s worthing.eco-action meeting (see above), the next meeting will be on Tuesday May 8, not May 1 (the usual first Tuesday of the month), as that happens to be the date of big anti-capitalist protests in London, which local activists aim to attend. The meeting will again be at 42 Marine Parade, Worthing seafront (above Paiges), 7.45pm.
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STOP PRESS: On March 6, Euromin Ltd and its manager, Richard Martell, were sent for trial at the Old Bailey on manslaughter charges relating to the 1998 death of Simon Jones, a 24-year-old casual worker at Shoreham docks.

Official warning: it’s not allowed!

THE PUBLIC is reminded that the countryside is now declared out of bounds under emergency powers arising from the Protection of Meat Industry Profits Act (1706). All streets are closed to pedestrians until further notice because of the risk of crime. Music is banned. Sex is no longer legal for anyone with an income under £40,000 per annum. Unauthorised breathing is prohibited. Shopping and voting are still permitted, so long as you vote Coke and drink Blairghh.

Don’t get boared - subscribe!

THE PORK-BOLTER is an independent newsletter for Worthing which takes its piggy name from an ancient nickname for Worthing folk. Its aim is to promote human values in the face of the ever-tightening dictatorship of money. If you want to ensure a copy of issue 36, simply send us a stamped self-addressed envelope. To get the next six issues send a donation of at least £2 to cover costs. Copies of back issues are still available. You can get issues 1 to 30 under one cover in The Whole Hog, our special compilation, for a £2 donation. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to The Pork-Bolter. Drop us a line at PO Box 4144, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 7NZ. You can also pay a visit to our website at http://www.eco-action.org/porkbolter or send e-mail 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 mobiles. No brain tumours.


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

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