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Issue 32 - November 2000

FLOODS FUELLED BY GREED

THERE is something deliciously poetic about the image of flood waters bubbling up through cracks in the A27 at Lancing, closing the road for days. For it is the greed of industrial capitalism, and the roads built across our countryside to service it, that has caused the climate change that led to the freak rainfall that filled the aquifers on the Downs that burst out onto the dual carriageway and reclaimed the street on behalf of nature. Nobody knows whether the floods are going to strike again tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. But everybody from the Government’s Environment Agency to the Worthing Herald is agreed that they will be coming back, time and time again. Climate change was not the alarmist invention of a bunch of cranks, after all. It is real and it is coming to a town near you. Nobody is safe. If a swollen river doesn’t get you, or a storm-driven high tide, then an underground river might spring up under your house, or a typhoon sweep in and blow your roof off. In the light of all this, the concerns of the fuel protesters are looking utterly irrelevant. Yes, it is outrageous that the Government gets away with raking in billions of pounds of indirect taxes on products like fuel, extracting no more from the millionaire than from the millionaire’s gardener. Yes, the state is hiding behind the excuse of helping the environment when it is really only interested in the money. But all except the very dim can now see that there are more urgent things to worry about than prices at the petrol pumps. It is becoming increasingly clear that the whole industrial capitalist system is cracking up. It’s not just climate change. Don’t forget about the steady stream of people dying from CJD/BSE because of our polluted food chain. And the threat of genetically modified food. And air pollution. And the ozone layer. And river pollution. And acid rain. And nuclear dumping. And more accidents like Chernobyl waiting to happen. And the destruction of the rainforests. And the Sussex countryside disappearing under concrete. And intensive farming killing the soil that feeds us (as well as helping cause floods...) The list goes on. What we have all got to get to grips with is the fact that industrial society cannot continue indefinitely its mad rush towards more and more growth, profits and so-called progress. The warning signs are there and it is up to us to respond. Are we going to sit back and wait for the symptoms to get worse and worse? Or are we going to tackle the disease head-on and start now to dismantle capitalism and industrialism while we have the chance? If the latter is what you want, don’t expect any help from the Government. As they have proved time and time again, this and every Government are nothing but puppets of Big Business, the people who got us into this mess. The Government’s task is to hide the truth (as with the BSE crisis), manipulate public opinion (as with its pro-GM food propaganda), persecute dissidents (as with the new 'Terrorism' Act) and generally prevaricate and protect the status quo. It’s up to us to save ourselves and close down the foul machineries of greed that are destroying our world.

Climate change - talks not enough

WANT to know more about climate change? Volume 29 No 2 of The Ecologist focused on the issue in a big way (tel 01403 786726 to order). We also have a couple of copies left (£1.50) of the Dutch (English-language) mag green pepper, dedicated to the protests due this month against the useless UN Climate Talks being held in The Hague. Contact Climate Action Network on 010 32 2 231 0180 or www.climnet.org

Justice for Christmas?

POLICE are still strangely inactive in the case of Steve Christmas, a hunt opponent deliberately run over by a hunt supporter from the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt. The man then reversed over him, leaving Steve on a life support machine with multiple injuries for nearly a month. Happily, Steve is now home, walking on crutches and making a slow recovery with his partner and baby. But despite there being witnesses, no charges have yet been made. Contrast this with the cops’ reaction to a demo held at the hunt’s kennels in which a small amount of damage was done. The aftermath of this was that on October 11, no fewer than 18 opponents of hunting, several in the Worthing and Shoreham area, had their homes raided and their property taken away, with another four homes subsequently raided. They have all been bailed to appear on December 20/21 to see if charges will be laid. All those concerned were arrested on suspicion of breaching Section 2 of the Public Order Act, a very serious charge that can land you in prison for many years if found guilty. Obviously so much more serious than trying to kill someone! On Saturday October 28 200 people gathered at the Old Surrey and Burstow kennels and all four Sussex hunts were unable to hunt on this day due to the large turn-out of protesters. Pledged one hunt sab: "We will not be bullied out of the killing fields by these scum and their police friends."

Rich will jump the queues

REVEALED a report in The Sunday Times on October 22: "Supermarkets are planning to give high-spending customers preferential treatment, enabling them to jump check-out queues, save on certain products and get free deliveries. The stores are expected to give gold loyalty cards to about 5% of their customers, mostly upper and middle-class customers who spend the most." Of course, people who can afford to buy in bulk (and stash food in huge freezers) have always been able to get it cheaper than the hard-up, who struggle along to buy one can of beans at a time. But this new idea really is elitism with the gloves off. So much for Tony Blair’s classless Britain!

Porky Pie’s Top Tip of the Month!

HOW TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM THE FACT THAT INDUSTRIAL "CIVILISATION" IS FALLING APART AT THE SEAMS!
  1. MAKE OUT A HUGE METEOR IS GOING TO HIT THE EARTH AND KILL US ALL.
  2. RENUMBER THE YEARS AND HAVE ANOTHER MILLENNIUM KNEES-UP.
  3. START NUDE LOTTERY DRAWS.
  4. CALL AN ELECTION.

Belly Laughs With Tory Bigwigs!

WE were heavily amused to note that Worthing Slimming Clinic is now a regular fixture at Haversfield House in Union Place - otherwise known as the Worthing Conservative Association HQ! The advert in The Worthing Guardian (October 13) promised lessons in "Appetite Control", which could prove useful for many a Tory Fat Cat. We reckon big names like East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and larger-than-life Tory councillor Nick John should weigh in and measure the scale of potential gross benefits to the Conservative Party’s profile. But do they have the stomach?

School sells parents to Big Business

RAMPANT privatisation of just about everything has been the sinister agenda of all British Governments since Mrs Thatcher came to power in 1979. Public money has been used to create all kinds of dodgy schemes and quangos from the Private Finance Initiative to the insidious Business in the Community, with the result that hardly any aspect of our lives is now left untainted by the corrupt stench of Big Business involvement. Not even education has escaped this affliction and one particularly shocking example has come to our attention right here in Worthing. A few weeks ago, parents of children at Thomas A’Becket First School in Tarring received a letter from headmaster Andrew O’Neill informing them of a "talk evening" on November 15. Wrote the head: "We have an opportunity to receive sponsorship from Sports Match (Government Department) and Allied Dunbar for buying new football posts and netball/basketball posts. In order to secure this sum, and to repeat the exercise in future, I need as many parents as I can muster to attend an informative and entertaining talk entitled 'Getting our children into life without going Bankrupt' by Ray Gaydon of Allied Dunbar." Pressuring parents into sitting through an insurance sales pitch is bad enough, but worse was to come. Added Mr O’Neill: "Our commitment is to give Ray the opportunity to contact the parents who attend with a telephone call subsequent to the presentation." In other words, the school is prepared to sell parents’ time and privacy for the £1,000 sponsorship/bribe. Outrageous or what? Incidentally, chairman of Allied Dunbar, now owned by Zurich Allied AG of Switzerland, is one Alexander 'Sandy' Leitch, aged 53. A former director of controversial multinational BAT (British American Tobacco) Industries, which used to own Allied Dunbar, he also has a finger in another pie. He happens to be deputy chairman of our old friends, Business in the Community. What a coincidence!

McFilth

ANOTHER example of the Big Business state comes in an unholy alliance between McDonald’s burger chain and Sussex Police, as revealed in The Worthing Guardian on November 10. As part of the SNAP (Say No And Phone) campaign "multi-coloured business-style McSnap 2000 cards will be issued to children and young people, urging them to reject drugs and call Crimestoppers anonymously with information." The super news is that the cards will also entitle youngsters to a "free regular hot or cold soft drink every time they buy something else at McDonald's". Assistant Chief McConstable Nigel Yeo was quoted as saying: "I really welcome this concept to help children not become the next victims." Well, not victims of drugs, maybe, but what about BSE?

Firm to profit from crime

PRIVATISED police cells have been given the go-ahead in Worthing, reported The Worthing Guardian on October 20. Reliance Security Group plc are being allowed, even encouraged, to profit from crime - though normally that sort of thing is strictly against the law. And of course the profit they make out of the cells will not be coming from the prisoners they incarcerate (you don’t have to pay for that - yet!) but from the good old tax payer. Like other Private Finance Initiative schemes, the whole thing is a scam to transfer public money into private hands. When you strip away the bullshit, it is clear that we are all in effect being taxed by businesses, who merely use governments, councils and the courts as free collectors and enforcers.

Sum total of council thrills

IS there nothing we wouldn’t do to inform the Great Worthing Public? While you lot were settling down for a night at the pub or a relaxing evening in front of the telly the other week, we were busy perusing the 1999/2000 Audit Commission Performance Indicators for Worthing Borough Council. They were fascinating - in parts! Such as the number of public toilets with baby-changing facilities (0), the percentage of benefit claimants satisfied with the way they were dealt with by the authority (figure not available), the astonishing five ‘No’ answers in the are-you-doing-something-to-promote-equal-opportunities section and the number of homeless people in hostel accommodation (0 - the council has no hostels!) But you’ll all be pleased to know that the council is very good at collecting taxes, with a 97.9% success rate. Only trouble is, it cost them £11.69 per household to do so, slightly overshadowing the princely £1.98 per head of population it spent on public transport during the year! Incidentally, you may like to know that we averaged 1.89 bottles of lager and 36ml of whisky per head while extracting these useful facts for you.

Police resisting DNA theft

THREE policemen have emerged as the frontline warriors in the battle against a Big Brother state! The Guardian reported (October 27) that three detective sergeants who refused to give "voluntary" DNA samples "have been forced to take desk jobs with Gloucestershire police force. They claim the decision to move them to desk jobs was a breach of their human rights." The detectives are being supported in their battle by the Gloucestershire Police Federation. Coppers Against the Police State. Go for it, sergeants!

You have been Vaughaned

UNMISSABLE highlight of the autumn comedy season in the Worthing Guardian have been the mad, reactionary letters pouring in from one John A.M. Vaughan of Brook Barn Way, Goring. As well as calling for a six-lane motorway from Folkestone to Plymouth (across the South Downs, presumably), he has urged prosecution of ten year olds and the abolition of Human Rights. Other gems include - Oct 20: "I was amused by the recent anti-capitalism protests at the WTO meetings. It occurred to me that the protesters all had one thing in common; they had no capital! (Ho, ho, ho, Mr Vaughan. You’ve seen through us there, haven’t you?) Oct 27: "The fact is that every one of these countries which has been given independence would be FAR better off as colonies with an ordered society. Just look at a map of Africa to see the turmoil which exists. They are incapable of governing themselves." Yeah, right. Keep a look out for Mr Vaughan’s future zany letters to see if he next proposes bringing back the slave trade!

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

A VERY timely article appeared in The Worthing Guardian on October 20 about Connex South Central announcing a new publicity campaign called "It Will Happen". The piece explained: "The theme is that it is not a question of whether fare cheats will be caught - the only question is when!. And the answer was just four days later - when the arrogant, over-charging and under-performing rail firm tragically lost its franchise!
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BEST wishes for a speedy recovery for our friend Bob, a stalwart campaigner for environmental and radical causes who is currently languishing in hospital after suffering from a stroke. Get better soon, Bob - Worthing needs you!
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READERS of The Worthing Herald may have spotted us making its front page on October 27, pouring some cold water on the council’s latest wasteful idea - a £230,000 water spout in the sea near the pier. Anyone who has been down on the prom in the stormy weather will know you don’t need stupid gimmicks to make the sea interesting! Meanwhile, the suggestion that the spout could be financed by private firms merely raises another question. Why, if they are prepared to pay for that white elephant, are they not prepared to cough up a similar amount for something more worthwhile - like improved sea defences, for a start?
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THE next meeting hosted by Worthing.eco-action will be on Tuesday December 5, at 7.45pm, at 42 Marine Parade, Worthing, (above Paiges bar).

Sacred right to make money

REFUSAL to accept business sponsorship will be illegal under the planned Prevention of Economic Terrorism Act, warns the Minister of Prosperity. He explained: "It has become all-too-apparent recently that subversive elements exist in our society who are not prepared to embrace the key partnership of public and private sectors that is building a Better Britain. Acts of sabotage against the generosity of the Business Community cannot be tolerated. For instance, any parent who is not prepared to undergo 20 hours of financial hard-selling in the interests of their child’s education is clearly unfit to play any further part in a forward-looking society and will be jailed for their own good without the costly and outmoded red tape of a trial. Any single mother not prepared to bid for Business Sponsorship by performing various intimate services for supermarket Gold Card holders will be sent to South Korea on a nine-year employment re-education course. And, toughest of all, any other person not prepared to accept the unassailable right of business to make money at any cost to the so-called human race or the planet will be sentenced to read, re-read and memorise the collected letters of John A.M. Vaughan of Goring until they go completely mad.

Flood us out with subscriptions!

THE PORK-BOLTER is an independent newsletter for Worthing, out to scare you silly with our dire warnings of social, economic and ecological disaster. If you want to make sure of getting a copy of issue 33, 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/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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remember folks ... There’s a climate for change and a real storm brewing!