A POLICE spy pretending to be an environmental campaigner targeted the Save Titnore Woods! campaign in its early years, The Porkbolter can exclusively reveal. After the woman, who called herself Lynn Watson, was outed on the Indymedia website and in The Guardian, a Durrington resident contacted us to reveal the Worthing link.
She recalled how she had met ‘Watson’ on a protest march in Titnore Lane, which we have worked out would have been the one on May 26 2002. Watson introduced herself as a ‘care worker from Bournemouth’ and expressed an interest in attending future protests, if her shiftwork allowed, handing over a slip of paper with her contact details (which has now been passed to us). Our reader got on well enough with her on the day and did send her details of future protests, though she never met her again. But when she saw Watson’s name in the paper, and recognised her photo, she realised she had been conned by a cop. She told us: "It sent a shiver down my spine when I read it. I thought - no, it can’t be! But it was. Why were they doing that for something like Titnore? It’s totally disproportionate."
Our research reveals that the email on the paper is the same as one given to environmentalists targeted by Watson in Leeds and elsewhere - she is thought to only recently have been forced to withdraw from her shady activities, which will remind many of the sinister secret police tactics of the Soviet KGB or the Nazi Gestapo. It’s interesting to note that it seems Watson’s 2002 spying in Worthing is her first recorded mission - The Guardian reported (January 19) that she "first surfaced in 2003 at a protest at Aldermaston, Britain's nuclear weapons centre". The 350-strong Durrington protest was the start of a long-running campaign and was a reflection of a widely-held local view that Titnore Woods should not be destroyed to make way for a massive housing estate - an opinion ultimately shared by Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee (see below for latest news).
There was no excuse at all for the police to be taking an interest in the campaign, although over-aggressive filming and policing on the day did succeed in scaring off some supporters - as was presumably the aim - and cops’ lies about campaigners were only revealed thanks to video evidence produced in court (see issue 50). Watson didn’t even work for Sussex Police, but for a shadowy outfit called the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. This begs a whole load of questions. What the pork was she doing there? Was she or her unit linked with subsequent dirty tricks used against campaigners, such as the lying copper who pretended to be from a local radio station? (issue 49). What other police interference and fibbing has been undermining our local democracy in Worthing?
On a wider level, why exactly is taxpayers’ money spent spying on and attacking local campaigns to protect our countryside? Why does the British state act in the interests of property developers and huge corporations rather than the public it is supposed to serve? Could it just be that that is in fact simply what the state is and what it does? While pretending to be some kind of practical voluntary arrangement set up to protect and look after us, it is in fact nothing but a tool used by an arrogant ultra-rich mafia to keep the rest of us in our subservient place.
We believe it is utterly crucial to oppose the poisonous agenda of cuts and privatisation being imposed on us by the ConDem coalition. It is the local version of the neoliberal Blitzkrieg being waged on ordinary people around the world, with the aim of reducing them to virtual slavery in order to make the ultra-rich even richer. That’s why we have supported, and continue to support, the hard-working Worthing Solidarity Network (www.worthingsolidaritynetwork.blogspot.com) in their local efforts to muster opposition.
However, there are some worrying trends within this opposition, typified by the TUC. Not only did it put off staging a protest until March this year – leaving the students to fight the Coalition on their own – but it also has some peculiar ideas as to what it wants this demonstration on Saturday March 26th* to look like. For a start, it is promising Cameron, Clegg et al that it will be heavily stewarded and tightly controlled – meaning that it wants to see the sort of uninspiring mass trudge through London that so famously failed to stop the Iraq War. Also, it is billing the march as being in favour of "growth". Growth?? That’s fine if we’re talking about vegetables, trees or children, but the TUC means economic "growth", the touchstone of the very capitalist system that got us into this mess.
For all their talk of presenting an "alternative", this sounds very much to us like more of the same pigswill we’ve been drowning in for far too long. It was the worship of "growth" that led John Prescott to allow property developers to concrete over our countryside for profit – and so nearly led to the destruction of Worthing’s own Titnore Woods.
It is the worship of "growth" that leads to the horror of war, as states grab resources (like oil!) to keep the greedy wheels of their industry turning. It is the worship of "growth" that will, logically and inevitably, result in every last tree and blade of grass on the planet being ripped up to feed the insatiable industrial death-machine.
The Porkbolter was set up in 1997, just after Tony Blair became Prime Minister. The timing was not coincidental, as we rightly suspected that the usual suspects on the so-called ‘left’ would stop protesting quite as hard when their beloved Labour Party was in power.
It would be disastrous if the opposition to the ConDem cuts started to look like some sort of backdoor support for Labour, the people who brought us wars and lies in Afghanistan and Iraq, draconian police state legislation amidst fabricated hysteria about terrorism, large-scale cronyism and corruption – well, all the stuff we were on about for the first 13 years of our existence. Labour has been totally discredited, no matter how bad the ConDems are. It is now clear to most people that the whole political system is rotten to the core and Labour and Conservative are just two cheeks of the same backside (we’ll leave it to you to position the Lib Dems…)
The time has clearly come for a major change. Not a tinkering, a reform or a rebranding, but a whole-scale revolution in the way we run our society. We need to completely ditch a civilization based on quantity (TUC-style "growth" in production, consumerism, population, dead things made out of the flesh of our living planet) and start again with a culture founded on quality (of life, of environment, of relationships, of food, of health, of understanding).
Halting the sinister slide towards slavery threatened by the ConDems and their neo-liberal Shock Doctrine is an important battle in itself. But it also presents us with an opportunity to push things further, to strike while the iron is hot and take down the whole wretched capitalist system which makes existence a misery for so many and risks wiping out life on the planet. It is important that myopic and self-important elements on the ‘left’ are not allowed to channel the energy of opposition into a miserable dead-end of Labour/TUC style Capitalism Lite. Their dreary bureaucratic dreams of tightly controlled protester-sheep listening to tedious speeches, while signing endless pointless petitions, actually risk killing off the vibrant spirit of exuberant revolt that has ignited the likes of Tunisia and Egypt.
So our message to Porkbolter readers is to join the opposition but not to be kettled by the TUC and its feebly narrow agenda. Break free! Stop the cuts and start the insurrection!
* We do still encourage people to turn up in London on March 26th (see www.tuc.org.uk). If you want to go by coach (at £5/£2) phone/text 07733151116 or get a (fairly) cheap £15 train ticket and check out http://meltdown.uk.net or http://networkxuk.wordpress.com for some more creative ideas around protesting.
Existing overseas twinning arrangements are being scrapped and instead Worthing will be proudly twinned with a major Tesco distribution centre off the M6 near Dudley in the West Midlands.
Worthing Town Hall, the Connaught and the Pavilion Theatre are to be repainted in jaunty blue and white stripes to tie in with the classic and iconic Tesco carrier bags.
In honour of Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, Chapel Road will be renamed Leahy Road, while Montague Street will become Leahy Avenue, Warwick Street will be Leahy Boulevard and South Street will be known as Leahy Parade.
An innovative water feature will be installed in front of the pier. Drawing on the famous European legends of the Pied Piper and the Manneken Pis, this will show Sir Terry urinating over a heap of filthy diseased rats representing Worthing’s small shopkeepers, while members of the council stand by to hand him the sackfuls of gold he so richly deserves.
Oh, and Somerfield’s in the Guildbourne Centre will be closed* to clear the way towards a total Tesco monopoly.
* One small part of this report is actually true. Can you guess which?
For some reason he doesn’t want people to know that he left the West Sussex health authority under, errr, something of a cloud. The Health Service Journal of April 6 2000 reported that "West Sussex health authority's controversial chief executive Peter Catchpole is to leave for a new career, having failed to clear the HA's historic deficit." The key words here are "controversial" and "failed" for those not paying proper attention.
Such was the extent of Mr Catchpole’s controversy and failure that he was personally criticised by the then health minister Edwina Currie in the House of Commons in 1988. Hansard reports that she told the House of Commons she had been trying to find out how much Mr Catchpole’s much-criticised authority was spending on agency staff.
Said Mrs Currie: "I wish to put on record my dissatisfaction that senior officers of the authority did not have this information easily to hand when I asked them for it this afternoon. They did not know how many agency staff they employed or how much they spent on agency staff and were not able to give me the figures... "I met Mrs. Tovey, the district nurse adviser, and Mr. Peter Catchpole, the district general manager, today. I asked them a string of questions to which they should have had the answers, but they did not. I put that on record because it is appropriate for those managers to be asking those questions and to have those answers."
Mr Catchpole managed to put all that business behind him and has now got his fingers in an astonishing number of pies - he is a non-executive director for NHS Direct, chairing the audit committee, and an associate member of the General Medical Council as a member of the Fitness to Practise Committees and also a chair for the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Conduct Committees. He is on the General Dental Council and is a trustee/board member of Rett Syndrome Association UK.
His most interesting role, though, is what he lists as "business adviser to the independent health sector". His West Sussex County Council declaration of private interests reveals he is a paid consultant to Sussex Health Care, which has a contract with WSCC for adult care home services. In the first three months of this financial year, the council paid nearly a million pounds to Sussex Health Care (Midhurst and Petworth Observer, August 5).
Mr Catchpole’s council role has involved axing day care centres for vulnerable and elderly people across West Sussex. Without that support, many could of course be forced to move into care homes - owned by the likes of, errr, Sussex Health Care, recipients of business advice from the very same Peter Catchpole. "Controversial" doesn’t seem quite a strong enough word...
WHILE one ‘controversial’ right-wing West Sussex Tory called Peter remains very much in place (see above), another one recently lost his post in a shock reshuffle. Peter Bradbury was kicked out the role of Lead Member for Children’s Services on January 19, having only taken over in May, and was switched to the lower profile Public Protection brief.
A statement from his leader Louise Goldsmith declared that "Pete Bradbury has done a fantastic job". This obviously means that we can dismiss as totally unfounded the scurrilous rumours suggesting he was quite incompetent and becoming something of an embarrassing liability with his dogmatic fixation on privatisating everything in sight. But it does seem a little unfair that he was moved on when he was clearly doing so well!
Mr Bradbury is one of those Tories whose views on how things should be run are based on their own experience in the business world. The only trouble is that in his case this involves selling guitars - perhaps not quite the same as running vital public services.
His change of role may leave him more time for his rock band Slight Return, which has unaccountably failed to shoot to global stardom (yet!!!) and whose latest album (only £4.99!!!) boasts a cover (see www.slightreturn.co.uk/4.html) that must surely rank as the one of the saddest and tackiest ever, both in terms of title (Stop It I Like It!!!) and juvenile sex-fantasy artwork.
IS IT just us, or is Worthing MP Tim Loughton looking increasingly eccentric to the point of seeming one share short of a full portfolio? The Guardian revealed on October 29 that in his role as Children’s Minister, Tory Tim suggested that child protection work should be taken on by Big Society "volunteers" with no professional experience, such as "retired City bankers or ex-insurance brokers". Would you trust your kids with people like that?
1. Exposed - council housing sell-off. 2. Development threat to Goring Gap. 3. Blind spot on road to profits. 4. House-building: democracy denied. 5. Porkbolter’s ballot bombshell 6. Dome cinema heritage betrayed. 7. Our victory on election and CCTV. 8. Paddy Nicholls – police in the dock. 9. Standing up to Big Brother. 10. Council sums that don’t add up. 11. Ron’s big ego-festival. 12. Eye spy more big lies. 13. Don’t mess with nature! 14. Exclusive – greed at Teville Gate. 15. Democracy? Don’t make us laugh! 16. It’s all go for the big seven-oh. 17. Face up to the fight for freedom! 18. Monster-gue Place. 19. Defying Ron’s wreckers. 20. Leave them kids alone! 21. Green shoots of hope. 22. Worked to death! 23. Town hall cheats. 24. Well over the cop! 25. Yes, it’s Riot Grrran! 26. Just blame it on the ‘beggars’. 27. Rebellion is crime! 28. Spy TV – we are proved right again. 29. You spineless stooges! 30. Never trust a politician! 31. Businessmen want to ban beer. 32. Floods fuelled by greed. 33. Plot to poison our water. 34. School victory with Mark Thomas. 35. The sham of so-called democracy. 36. Foot in Mouth MPs could be culled. 37. How about some real democracy? 38. Fat cats against beauty. 39. The Great Housing Rip-Off 40. War a load of twaddle! 41. Ready to fight Titnore battle. 42. Worthing Hernia – hoax special. 43. Defying the bulldozers. 44. Town’s hidden shame. 45. Titnore developer is a crook. 46. 350 march on Titnore. 47. Wood you believe it? 48. Operation Hysteria! 49. Cop in phoney call. 50. Plod lose the plot! 51. Worthing needs you! 52. War on democracy! War on humanity! 53. Looters on the loose. 54. Worthing drugs shame. 55. Victory on the A27! 56. Titnore stitch-up. 57. Landowner says get out of Worthing! 58. Council tax rebellion! 59. Town hall’s huge con. 60. Tormented by Tetra. 61. Totally rotten borough. 62. Can of worms at Dome. 63. Police protect profiteers. 64. Council bans Porkbolter! 65. US troops liberate Worthing. 66. Town’s forgotten people. 67. Give us back our freedom! 68. Tesconspiracy of the greedy. 69. Woods face the chop. 70. Titnore turmoil on the telly! 71. Wealthy Worthing? Ha! Ha! Ha! 72. Wiring up for a police state. 73. Dodgy business on the A27. 74. Support the Titnore tree camp heroes! 75. Worthing gives its backing to tree camp, 76. Titnore Woods - the push for victory! 77. Corrupt politicians will never save the world. 78. Money-men cash in by cutting jobs and services. 79. Worthing OAP ripped off by the NHS. 80. Is Worthing facing deadly python peril? 81. Now is the time for real action to save our hospital! 82. Things have only been getting worse and worse... 83. High School to be laid low by Big Business! 84. £325 an hour for being a smug git! 85. Profiteers plot to take over health services. 86. Corruption claims panic Town Hall. 87. Shock privatisation of Worthing town centre. 88. Destroying our woods is wrong, wrong, wrong! 89. MPs are cop-out clowns! 90. MP Tim exposed for spying on kiddies. 91. Worthing woman’s fence ordeal. 92. Conspiracy to steal precious public space. 93. Standing up to tyranny. 94. Hands off our Sussex countryside! 95. Democracy – what a joke! 96. People power in Worthing! 97. It’s time to stand up the thieving bankers! 98. Exposed: MP in pay of Big Business fat cat. 99. Worthing stands up to the Fat Cats. 100. Exposed:police spy in Worthing.
BATTLING to save our countryside has been very much part of the Porkbolter agenda throughout our 100 issues (have we already mentioned that figure somewhere?).
The biggest of all was the struggle to protect Titnore Woods, which culminated in the council’s historic rejection of the original development in March last year. In January, the developers’ consortium unveiled their new plans for the West Durrington site. We are still against it, as 700 homes (in phase one alone) on a greenfield site prone to flooding is good news for nobody - especially as most of them will be unaffordable for people on Worthing wages.
But, after all the effort that has gone in from campaigners and tree campers, it was good to see that the woods themselves are no longer in the firing line. A formal application is expected soon. Another important struggle we reported here was the successful campaign to stop the council selling off downland near Cissbury Ring. The ad-hoc group set up to spearhead this battle turned into the Worthing Downlanders (www.worthingdownlanders.org.uk), an organisation which now boasts more than 130 members and seems to be going from strength to strength.
It reports that it is now working alongside Worthing Borough Council to try and find a tenant for the downland, with an emphasis on allowing statutory public access. It’s all far from sealed, but the news sounds encouraging so far. Nationally, however, it’s a different story, with the privatisation-mad ConDem regime hell-bent on selling off vast amounts of publicly-owned forest.
An online petition has been set up at www.38degrees.org.uk - and at the time of writing had attracted an astonishing 422,000 signatures. It declares: "Save our forests - don't sell them off to the highest bidder. Don't let private companies chop down our woodland. Protect trees for the conservation of wildlife and the enjoyment of the public." We’d certainly go along with that!
Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no fat cat babysitters for us thank you very much Tim.