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Issue 15 - Mar 1999

GM food scandal, threat to countryside, education cuts, cancer masts ... DEMOCRACY? DON'T MAKE US LAUGH!

PROBABLY the biggest lie ever sold to the public is that we live in a democracy. The word is trundled out every time our rulers find themselves in a sticky situation and want the population to shut up and step in line. We go to war to protect democracy, we have new laws imposed on us to preserve democracy, we are told to be eternally grateful that we are allowed to live in a democracy. But what if there is no such thing as democracy in this country? What if it is all just a con? Where does that leave us all and our relationship with the Government, its decisions and its laws? Some people have suspected for a long time that this might be the case. But it is now becoming blindingly obvious to more and more citizens that they are entirely powerless to influence the machinations of power. Public opinion is seen not as something to be respected and acted upon but something to be contained, managed, manipulated, spin-doctored and ultimately discarded. Supporters of direct action are always being told that they should not take the law into their own hands (whose porkin' hands should it be in then?) until the democratic process has been exhausted. The examples here illustrate that, on every level, the democratic process has not only been exhausted, but knackered beyond the point of revival. So we now in effect have permission to turn to direct action! What are we waiting for?
WE were highlighting the dangers and dodgy dealings surrounding GM foods a year before the mainstream press took it on. So there! And on Saturday February 27 The Pork-Bolter took part in a Worthing town centre protest against the GM menace (part 2 on March 13). Here is a prime example of how democracy really works. Even if pressure of public opinion is so great as to force real action from the Government, US GM firm Monsanto reckons it has the international "legal" power, plus US backing, to force Britain to buy its dangerous wares. Money is power. Big Business now rules the whole world.
THOSE nice respectable Worthing residents up in Hill Barn Lane must have thought they lived in a democracy. Otherwise they wouldn't have been surprised when the borough council gave permission for a cancer-beaming 65ft Orange mobile phone mast despite their massive opposition and a 250-name petition. One disillusioned resident, Fiona Lade, told the Worthing Herald after the decision: "The councillors are spineless, completely spineless. They have failed us." This is democracy in England today. Spineless councillors obeying spineless Governments obeying the dictates of profit-greedy big business. But what about us? Are we also so spineless that we are not going to stand up against them?
WELL what a surprise! West Sussex County Council has lost its attempt to stop our countryside being desecrated by the construction industry and their friends in high places. Judges in London ruled that the Government has the legal power to impose the 12,800 extra homes on the county's green fields if it wants to, regardless of the views of the vast majority of the public and all the local councils, political parties and newspapers! So what was the point of all those planning meetings, consultation exercises, letter-writing campaigns and mass petition-signings? And why don't our local councils defy this dictatorship? What could London do if they did? Send the tanks down the A24 and massacre the lot of us
EVER been tempted to stand for election to the local council, to take part in democracy and change things from the inside? Learn a lesson from Steyning's Lib Dem county councillor Jack Campbell, who stood for election, won a seat, got top posts - and then found the only thing he could do about pernicious education cuts was to resign in protest! He told the press he had "exhausted the democratic process within the council". Back to square one, Jack! That's a bitter lesson to learn at the age of 68. Kids - do not waste your life the way this man has!

and if you think that's funny ...

THE biggest joke of all is what the Government is doing while the illusion of democracy is rapidly losing its hypnotic power and more and more people are seeing that we are going to have to act outside the establishment's so-called legitimate channels in order to stand a chance of stopping this mad rush to planetary oblivion. And no, it isn't working on ways of giving people more power over their own lives and communities, it isn't thinking about reining in the powers of global money-monsters that are destroying all that is good and worthwhile in the world. No, of course not. Whose side do you think its on? Oh no, our democratic Government is working on ways of stopping ordinary people from standing up for their rights and their heritage, even if the "proper approach" has been shown to have led nowhere, by absurdly redefining them as "terrorists" (see issue 14). The message is simple and age-old. Do as you're told or we'll bang you up in jail.

BUREAU-TWATS SPARK OAP IDENTITY CRISIS

A LONG time ago people used to joke that one day we would all have to get permission from 'The Authorities' to breathe the air around us. The Pork-Bolter now has evidence that Worthing Borough Council has reached that very level of insane bureaucratic megalomania, by demanding that an 81 year-old woman, who has lived in the same house for more than 50 years, should prove who she is! The woman, who we have spoken to but are not going to name, got her first taste of what was to come when she received the same eight-page questionnaire to renew her housing benefit on three consecutive days! She had just been discharged from hospital, became understandably confused by it all, tucked them away for later and then forgot about them. Some weeks later, reminders arrived on three consecutive days demanding the forms be completed immediately and sent with proof of identity, savings and income, otherwise all benefit would be stopped. With the help of a friend, one of the identical forms was completed and sent with most of the documents asked for. Days later a council tax demand was received, stating this was because proof of identity hadn't been sent with the form. Apart from the fact that the woman has lived in the same home for half a century, council officers had visited her several times over the years to discuss various matters and knew full well who she was. Nevertheless, collecting together as much identification as possible, she mad the two mile journey on foot to the Town Hall, only to find a room full of other anxious residents - and the prospect of a two-hour wait to see an official. Not able to face that so soon out of hospital, she made her way home. Following a phone call from concerned neighbours a relative was called. Only after they phoned the Town Hall and demanded to speak to chief executive Michael Ball was the matter sorted out. Perhaps it's worth noting that the finance department, which caused all this grief, is now privatised. Following the housing department's similar fate, council tenants can expect an equally exciting time!

TORY TIM, FRIEND OF THE FAT CATS

WHAT is wrong with New Labour's attitude to business? It doesn't stand up to it, do we hear you say? It covers up for it, sucks up to it, puts business interests before those of the public? Nope! Not according to East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton. He reckons Tony and his cronies are not bending over backwards far enough for the business community! Tantrum Tim's outburst rather gives the game away, after all his recent efforts to come across as a caring, environmentally-friendly sort of chap. Just in case we had forgotten what the Tories were like in power, he launched an astonishing attack, in pure Thatcher-speak, on Labour's watered-down fairness at work laws, which cover things like a minimum wage, maternity leave, rights to union membership, etc. The Worthing Herald reported he was concerned that more fairness would be "a recipe for destroying jobs and preventing the creation of wealth." (ie: profits). Tim added: "This further attack on our wealth creators (ie: fat cats) is damaging to all of us (ie: Tim's Tory mates) and is typical of the Blair government's attitude towards business." Oh Tim, where have you been for the last two years?

GOLLY GOSH! CAN THEY REALLY MEAN TIM?

LAST month we ran a competition inviting you to shed some light on a Worthing Guardian headline about Tim Loughton MP, stating "Tory Tim is a PPS". What do (or should) these initials stand for, we asked. We are pleased to report that we received no fewer than 29 suggestions, ranging from the vaguely plausible to the absurdly and obviously inaccurate. For instance there was "Pleasant Person Sometimes" and "Pork-Bolter Paper Subscriber". And, on the other hand, there was "Puppet of Privileged Society", "Promoter of the Police State", "Prozac-Popping Schizo", "Prostitute's Personal Slave", "Personal Playmate of Satan" and "Perfect Person to Shoot". Runner-up was the person who proposed "Piss-Poor Shag" (well done, Mrs. L!). But outright winner, selected for their fine use of gratuitous and uncomplicated abuse, was the reader who thought PPS stood for "Piece of Political Shit".

PORKY PIE'S TIP OF THE MONTH

How to exhaust the democratic process!

THE TOOTH THAT COULD DRIVE YOU DENTAL!

WATCH out all you Pork-Bolter readers thinking of getting a pair of false gnashers, report our dental affairs team. The Evening Argus reveals that a dodgy dental technician from Hove is setting up a new clinic in The Broadway, Worthing. Ray Parker of Dental Design Studios admitted to the paper that he illegally fitted false teeth to more than 1,000 patients. One disabled man was apparently charged £635 for a set of dentures, even though he could have got them on the NHS, and was then begged to keep quiet about it. But then the words dentist and rip-off seem to go hand-in-hand these days. Getting on an NHS dental register is hassle enough, then many hapless and cashless patients find they aren't sent reminders telling them when it is time for the compulsory regular check-ups. If you don't have these, or miss an appointment for any reason at all, you will be struck off the books and charged £25 to re-register. No exceptions, benefits notwithstanding, if you can't pay your teeth can rot in hell. So much for the National Health Service! And when the pain gets too much and you eventually pay up for a few fillings, you're in even bigger trouble. Because the amalgam fillings used to repair cavities are made from mercury, a toxic heavy metal, which will poison you as you chew for the rest of your abbreviated life. Very scary but completely true. Check it out for yourself if you don't believe us. And keep flossing!

SPRING IN THE STEP OF LAND DEFENDERS!

SPRING is in the air and if you fancy a pleasant stroll in the countryside combined with the defence of your age-old rights we have just the day out for you! The Land is Ours Sussex network is mass trespassing on Sunday March 21 somewhere in West Sussex, not too far from Worthing! We're going and you are invited to join us! Meet Worthing railway station at 10.15am sharp (or 10am at Brighton). Bring lunch and sensible footwear. No dogs please. The event comes just five days before the "Right to Roam" private members bill gets its second reading in the Commons so this is a key symbolic event. Info 01273-685913.

PORK SCRATCHINGS

RUMOURS have reached us that the Happy Eater on the A27 Arundel Road, Worthing, is to be turned into a McBastards drive-in. But we don't know this for sure, so if anyone who does know would like to contact us to confirm or deny this suspicion, we will pass on the information to the Worthing public in our next issue.
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A NEW meeting is being held to plan ahead for this summer's proposed Street Football spectacular in Worthing town centre. It's all about liberating the spirit of the national game from the corporate money-men. Meet at the Litten Tree pub on the seafront at 6.30pm on Tuesday March 16 and help it all kick off!
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WORTHING'S Anarchist Teapot is going from strength to strength at the moment, even gaining national publicity in The Big Issue and holding weekly Saturday lunchtime tea 'n' literature stalls in Montague Street. The Teapotters are still on the look-out for any spare space they can liberate for community use.
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A BIG success also for West Sussex hunt sabs when they successfully defended a fox from the bloodthirsty Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdrey hunt. The poor creature tried to hide down a rabbit hole, but got stuck. Even police were moved by his plight and one placed his helmet over the fox's exposed rear end to protect him. The fox was under enormous stress, thus proving what everyone knows, but the hunts always deny - they are guilty of inflicting untold cruelty on wildlife.
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GM FOOD: AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT. It is being suggested in some quarters that scientists working on genetically engineered foods are in some way irresponsible. HM Government would like to state for the record that this is patently not the case. These brave scientists are responsible for a lot of things. Tampering with nature, contaminating the food chain, endangering wildlife and eco-systems, collaborating with corrupt Big Business, poisoning half the population and fobbing everyone off with a load of carefully-worded half-truths. You can't get much more responsible than that.
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FROM RASHER WITH LOVE - SUBSCRIBE! If you want to make sure of getting a copy of issue 16, simply send us a stamped, self-addressed envelope. To get the next 6 issues send a donation of at least £2 to cover costs. Bigger donations help us print more copies and spread the word even further. 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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A PIG STEP IN HUMAN HISTORY. The Pork-Bolter is an independant newsletter produced by and for ordinary Worthing people, sprinkling a few drops of old-fashioned common-sense into the modern desert of spin-doctored gobbledegook. Our title is an ancient nickname for Worthing people which archaeologists initially dated to either Long, Long Ago or, at a pinch, Days of Yore but thanks to very accurate radio-carbon techniques has now been formally identified as originating in the Dim and Distant Past. By the way, direct descendants of Worthing's porcine founders are thought to include Pinky and Perky, Babe, Sir Francis Bacon, Del-Boy Trotter and Jack Cunningham.
PORKY-PIE'S BOOK OF THE MONTH: The English Pig: A History by Robert Malcomson and Stephanos Mastoris (Hambledon Press, £14.95)
and finally ... STAND UP FOR YOUR OWN RIGHTS - NOBODY ELSE WILL!