the pork-bolter
No 58, Yule 2003/2004

Council tax rebellion!

WHEN they said Council Tax was the new Poll Tax, they weren’t joking. With bills soaring out of control, angry resistance to this punitive charge is growing all over the country. The Great Council Tax Rebellion could do the same for Tony Blair’s future career prospects as the poll tax revolt did for Margaret Thatcher’s some 13 years ago. Pensioners and those on lower incomes are being hit harder than anyone else, which means that thousands of people in Worthing are suffering.

And our seasonal message to Worthing’s very own council tax victims is: don’t take it lying down! It’s time for people to get together with their friends and neighbours and decide what they are going to do about it.

The council tax bill in West Sussex went up by more than 18% in April and another hefty rise is being predicted for 2004 - much more than the rate of inflation. The obvious response is one that is already surfacing from groups across the country: insist on paying only what you think is a fair amount - maybe the same as last year or an inflation increase.

Taking this on as an individual is a brave and scary thing to do in the face of authority. But if you are part of a group of rebels all backing each other up, suddenly the boot is on the other foot and it is the authorities who are breaking out in a cold sweat. There’s nothing that frightens the powers-that-be more than the thought that the public will simply say ‘enough is enough’ and refuse to do what they are told! At the end of the day, they simply cannot enforce any laws or impose any taxes that large numbers of people are not prepared to go along with - that was the clear message of the successful anti-Poll Tax campaigns.

Make no mistake, right is on our side. The local councils will try to confuse the issue by talking about diminishing grants from central government and so on. It is certainly true that it suits the Government to have local councils take the rap for increased taxes that really stem from Whitehall. But from the people’s point of view, the various layers of government are all really the same thing. It’s the same blood-sucking octopus that taxes us on what we earn, taxes us on what we spend and taxes us even for having a home to live in!

And what do they do with all that money? They pay their own fat salaries and employ armies of useless bureaucrats. They chuck billions of pounds at wars that nobody wants, lining the pockets of their friends in the arms industry. They divert even more of our money into rich businessmen’s pockets through the privatisation scams that are now running amok, despite public opposition.

And, of course, they spend our money on ways to stop us taking control of the way it’s spent. Millions are splurged on media propaganda campaigns to convince us that everything is just fine and we’re not all being sold down the river. Even more millions are spent in making sure nobody asks too many awkward questions, nobody gets away with defying the word of our rulers.

The politicians all know that the future is not bright for us in this country. Under globalisation, we are in a race to the bottom of the cheap labour market - witness the sudden popularity of moving call centres to India, like Norwich Union in Worthing have just done, where workers are cheaper, more compliant and don’t have all the rights our ancestors have fought for and won over the centuries. They know that at some point people here are going to crack and start rebelling against what is being done to them by the global forces of greed.

The current flood of draconian police state measures being rushed onto the statute books (see below and past issues) are not really aimed at terrorists at all. Neither are they ultimately aimed at the relatively small numbers of political activists. They’re aimed at ordinary people who the authorities know one day will simply not take it any more.

There’s no point in waiting and putting up with all of this until we’re all on our knees. If you’re ready to stand up to the Great Rip-Off then go ahead and do it! Let’s make 2004 the year when the people of Worthing finally stood up to be counted!


Have you had enough?

WANT TO stand up to the council tax rises? All you have to do is:

* Get together with a few like-minded friends, neighbours or relatives.

* Start your own local Council Tax Rebellion group and let other people know about it.

* Decide how you are going to make your stand and how you are going to support each other in doing so.

* Just do it!

THE PORKBOLTER will do anything it can to help local residents who stand up to the council tax. We can:

* Put people in touch with others in their area

* Publish details of new groups or meetings

* Include local group details in a section here on our website

* Keep campaigning against the taxation rip-off

But at the end of the day we’re only a newsletter. The rest is up to YOU!


State steals Christmas

"A GROUP of nurses who saved £900 in tips from patients throughout the year have had their money seized by the Inland Revenue," reported The Guardian (December 5). One nurse told the newspaper: "Instead of giving flowers and chocolates, the patients say they want to give us some money so we can have a Christmas drink or party. We are absolutely livid. They have given us money... and it’s been stolen by the government."

Eye spy a dodgy helmet

SUSSEX Police are to install hidden cameras in their helmets, reported the BBC News website on December 5. It revealed: "The lens of the tiny camera will be hidden behind the badge of the helmet. Inside a transmitter will send the pictures back to a recorder in the officer’s belt or in a nearby van." Maybe, in the interests of accountability, the footage could be streamed live on the internet for anyone to see and record - before the cops get a chance to edit it back at the station. After all, officers, if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear...

Local Tories on speed!

NOW we know why local Tory MPs are so keen on big new roads being built all over the countryside - because they want to be able to drive down them at breakneck speeds! West Worthing MP Peter Bottomley has now joined South Downs and Arundel colleague Howard Flight as a convicted speeding offender. Bumley, former Minister of Roads and Traffic and a proud member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, was banned for six months after being caught by four speed cameras - one of which was the well known Broadwater Bridge camera in Worthing. Now exploring the delights of two wheels, he told the Worthing Herald (November 27): "I hadn't a clue this was coming, I'm the sort of person who looks forward, not back." He clearly wasn’t looking forward carefully enough to spot the bright yellow cameras... Meanwhile, East Worthing MP Tim Loughton must be feeling left out. He hasn’t been convicted yet. Smarten up, Loughton! Put your foot down, man. For the party’s sake!

Can this really be happening?

IT DOES not look like 2004 is going to be a good year for liberty, to put it mildly. A series of unbelievably authoritarian measures are being brought in by Tony Bliar and his Neo-Labour gestapo. By far the most disturbing is the Civil Contingencies Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech, which sets out all sorts of occasions when the state could bring in "emergency powers" (such as supposed threats to "political, administrative or economic stability"), under which it could act like some kind of sci-fi totalitarian military regime.

Warned Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch (www.statewatch.org PO Box 1516, London N16 OEW): "Cities could be sealed off, travel bans introduced and all telecommunications cut off. Demonstrations could be banned and the news media be made subject to censorship. New offences against the state could be ‘created’ by government decree. At a stroke democracy could be replaced by totalitarianism." Even MPs are up in arms. A joint committee set up to look into the proposals says they have "potentially dangerous flaws" (BBC website, November 28). Added chairman Dr Lewis Moonie: "Our democracy and civil liberties could be in danger."

Also very worrying is the new Anti-social Behaviour Bill, which attacks the right to protest or to party. Currently there must be 20 or more people gathered together to legally qualify as an "assembly" (Public Order Act 1986). But the new legislation will reduce this to two!

Looking a little further ahead, a new threat to our freedom comes from the radio tagging of goods - not just in shops, but when we take them home or wear them around. The Independent on Sunday reported (November 23) that the European Commission has patented the tags, which may first be embedded into luxury items like Rolex watches - ostensibly to fight theft. But others warn that the real reason behind tagging could be to monitor human beings and once accepted in principle, the tags could be appearing in all sort of items.

The ultimate nightmare for our freedom was exposed in a science report in The Guardian on November 20. This explained how brain scans are being used to see what is going on inside people’s heads: "As well as brand loyalty and consumer choice, neuroscientists are probing violent tendencies, moral reasoning, feelings of love and trust and notions of justice." Presumably the long term aim will be to conduct brain scans of foetuses in the womb so any of them likely to reason morally or hold notions of justice can immediately be aborted, before they have the chance to be born into a brave new world where their very existence would make them guilty of Thought Crime.


Integrity optional for cops

A TOTALLY meaningless police PR gesture has been unveiled by the Sussex force. Local cops are being asked to sign a "declaration" saying they are "dedicated to the values which underpin police service: integrity, fairness, equity, justice and courage". Why meaningless? Well, for a start it’s voluntary, which is strange since it’s pretty basic stuff - or maybe a commitment to integrity is a step too far for many of our wonderful boys in blue? Secondly, chief constable Ken Jones rather gave the game away by admitting "this declaration is largely symbolic", while bizarrely maintaining "it is not just words". Talk about having it both ways!

Meanwhile, in an incident totally unrelated to police integrity, Sussex Police inspector Christopher Wratten (ex-inspector now - he resigned after his sick hobby came to light) has been jailed for six months for downloading disgusting paedophile porn off the internet (Argus, November 28).

* Even though they’re getting a bigger Home Office grant than expected, Sussex Police still want a hefty above-inflation increase in its part of the council tax - partly to fund "counter-terrorism” work, reported The Worthing Advertiser (November 26). And how richly they deserve it.


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

A PROPER public meeting on the Titnore Lane development plans will be held by Worthing Borough Council. That was the pledge made publicly by leader Sheila Player at a meeting in Durrington on Tuesday October 28. As to when and where, we await an announcement with bated breath.
* * *

YOU can tell that Shoreham Airport is owned by a couple of local councils (Worthing and Brighton) - it is using the sham "consulting the public" trick that is so popular with such authorities. The airport wants to expand, risking loss of greenfield land and more noise and pollution for residents. Pretending to invite opinions, it offers the public two "options" to choose between - leave the runway as it is but increase general flights at the airport, or expand the runway to allow commercial flights to operate from Shoreham. Pointed out Green MEP Caroline Lucas: "The options are flawed, as we are being asked to consider just two possible solutions for the airport’s financial problems."
* * *

SO Worthing Borough Council’s chief executive Sheryl Grady is under internal investigation and they won’t tell the Worthing Herald what it’s all about? We reckon it’s got to be something to do with that hairstyle.
* * *

TOP tips for Xmas prezzies: The Fountain at the Centre of The World by Robert Newman (Verso, £10.99); Web of Deceit - Britain’s Real Role in the World by Mark Curtis (Vintage, £7.99); charity Xmas single Ere’s Your Christmas by Punk Aid, featuring Sussex punk veteran Captain Sensible and mates.
* * *

WORTHING eco-action’s next meeting will be on Tuesday January 6, 7.45pm, upstairs at The Downview, opposite West Worthing station. All welcome.

XMAS ADVERTISEMENTS


Important advice to Worthing public

SPEND, SPEND, SPEND!

DON’T hold back on your seasonal spending. Worthing’s Business Community needs your generous support!

DON’T worry about the cost. Just bung it on your plastic. You know that’s the sensible approach in the long term.

DON’T ever stop to think whether what you are about to buy is useless, unnecessary or unwanted. Just get your wallet out. Now.

DON’T worry about rampant consumerism spoiling the planet for your children or grandchildren. There’s plenty more planets in the universe. And, frankly, who cares about a bunch of stupid kids?

DON’T ever think of repairing anything. It’s just not the modern way. Go out and buy a new one. Go on, it’s Christmas!

DON’T ever borrow things from friends or lend stuff to others so they don’t have to buy their own. Where would that sort of thinking lead us? Eh?

DON’T forget the true meaning of Xmas! Let’s make sure trading figures in town are the highest ever! It’s what Baby Jesus would have wanted!

DON’T forget either that shopping defeats Terrorism. The more you spend, the more tax money the Government gets and the more bombs it can buy to blow up people who don’t share our superior Christian values.

This public information announcement was brought to you by the Worthing Braindead Consumer Campaign

Supported by sussexploit plc and The Institute of Greed


WANTED: Driver with good knowledge of Worthing, Surrey and Westminster areas. Must drive fast. Pay negotiable but don’t get your hopes up.
WANTED: Chief executive officer for leading local authority. No experience or ability required. Man-management skills considered a positive disadvantage. Salary secret (£86,533).
FRIENDS of Worthing Tunnels - Worthing’s very own underground movement. Write to The Mole, the Secret Entrance, near Field Place.
WANTED: Homeless people to make £££s for local Christian organisation. Earn absolutely nothing from the comfort of your own delete that last bit please sandra.
HATE kids and old people? Get your own back - drive faster! Contact the Association of Bigoted Drivers c/o the House of Commons. Affiliated to Roads Against Children (RAC) and Accelerated Accidents (AA).

Terrorism: A warning

A NEW offence of Terrorism Denial is to be introduced by the Ministry of Truth, it was revealed this week. Explained a spokesman: "We have been increasingly concerned at the number of people who are refusing to accept that Britain is undergoing a savage and unprecedented terrorist assault which completely justifies the suspension of traditional liberties, increased military and police spending and anything else we can get away with. "This Terrorism Denial is enormously offensive to victims of terrorism worldwide and to the humanitarian governments involved in the Great War on Terror. Denying the extent of the terrorist threat also plays right into the hands of the terrorists themselves. As from midnight, it will therefore be illegal to challenge, question or mock the Government’s warnings about terrorism and indeed it will be considered an act of terrorism so to do. All arrests will of course then be trumpeted as further proof of the terrorist menace in our midst."

No bolting from the truth

THE Porkbolter is a totally independent local newsletter, named after a genuine historic term for Worthing people and dedicated to rooting out the uncomfortable truth and encouraging people to do something about it. 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. You can go on the email list for free.

Printed and published by The Pork-Bolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no Christmas bonus...


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

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