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Issue 22 - November 1999

Forget the new era of leisure in the next century we’re all going to be


LOOKING ahead to a relaxing retirement? Forget it! Moves are afoot to raise the state pension age from 65 to 70! The Guardian reported on October 5 that The National Association of Pension Funds is urging the change to be introduced as soon as possible. And pensions expert Robin Ellison told them: It’s not a question of if the state pension is raised, but when. It is going to happen. Women have already been stitched up on this issue when our lords and masters used the politically correct excuse of equality to push up their pension age from 60 to 65 lowering the men’s age was, of course, out of the question. The excuse now is that the Government and their Big Business mates can’t afford to cough up for all our pensions. Can’t afford it? Can these be the same jet-setting, limo-driving, villa-owning, posturing, pampered gits that we constantly see stuffing their fat faces with planet-loads of wealth in every direction we look, drowning in banks full of liquid assets, firing smart missile-loads of revenue all over Iraq and Serbia, funding great citadels of snooping bureaucrats, splashing out on armies of Big Brother CCTV cameras to sit on every street corner and make sure we’re all doing as we’re told and not getting above our station? Yep, that’s them.

Longer working lives, longer working days, zero job security all this is a long way from the Golden Age of Technological Leisure which has been dangling like an enticing sugar-coated rainbow over the horizon of our futures for most of the 20th century. Remembering being told on Blue Peter or Tomorrow’s World that when robots and computers took over all the work for us, we’d all have time to do much more interesting stuff instead? With all that spare time there’d be a Leisure Boom, people would be out painting community murals on the neighbourhood nuclear processing plant, cycling hand-in-hand around the fun-packed out-of-town shopping malls, making loads of useful gifts out of sticky-backed plastic and evolving into a new species of egg-headed superconsumers. But like all rainbows, this vision is an optical illusion or, to put it more bluntly, a cynical con trick. As the Luddites realised nearly 200 years ago, technology was never about saving labour it was about saving labour costs. In other words, it’s not brought in for your benefit, but for the company’s. All that happens when a new piece of technology is introduced is that some of the workforce can be laid off. Those that remain still work the same or longer hours. Companies don’t employ people because they feel they ought to create jobs and make the world a nice place. They only pay out wages to somebody whose work they can make a large profit out of. And to come back round to pensions, (About porkin’ time! Ed) they don’t want to pay their staff extra money so they can put something aside for their retirement, they don’t want to have to pay taxes for the Government to pay out pensions and they do want to be able to keep working their wage-slaves to the bone for as long as they fancy. One of three things could happen to you with a pension age of 70.

  1. You will work for another five years and enjoy five years less free time before you pop your clogs.
  2. You will be made redundant before retirement age and have to survive on the dole for an extra five years before you can claim your hard-earned pension.
  3. You will drop dead before retirement age and nobody will have to pay out for your pension at all!
Is this good enough, do you reckon? Is this the way you deserve to be treated? Is this all the technological brave new millennium has in store for us - working until we drop while the boss takes an early retirement package at 50? Or is it time to call a halt to the whole sick business, turn our back on their so-called "progress" and get back to living our own lives the way we porkin' want to?


TUESDAY November 16 could be a big day for democracy in Worthing. This is the date that the hideous and unpopular Monster-gue Place development is expected to come before Worthing Borough Council planners. This very nasty scheme (see our July and August issues) threatens to deprive the town centre of open space, a sea view and sunlight in the interests of the usual greed n profits. While the smug clique of "good and great" in Worthing don't seem to have any problems with this, virtually everybody else we've spoken to most certainly does! Public opinion is overwhelmingly against this plan and not only our friends in, but also the Green Party and The Worthing Society are involved in fighting it. Their protests have given the proposals a higher profile than certain people would have liked. And it might make these elements feel even more uncomfortable if the decision-making meeting was attended and scrutinised by a reasonable number of opponents. The council claims it cannot confirm until a week beforehand that Montague Place will definitely be on the agenda on November 16, but we have ascertained that the meeting is in Committee Room 3, Town Hall, 2.30pm, public questions at 4.30pm. Meanwhile, don't forget to write to the council opposing applications WB/99/005707 and WB/99/00434. Will this be a victory for people power? Or will the authorities once again trample on public opinion in the interests of commercial greed?


HAVE you noticed the strange contradiction at the heart of the 'Tories' policies on the countryside? That's right - no matter how hard they pretend to be all in favour of protecting our rural landscape, they can never long conceal their burning desire to cover the whole thing in concrete. For instance, the Conservatives running the county council were quick to condemn recommendations from a Whitehall panel that West Sussex should be inflicted with another 30,000 new homes on top of the 57,000 already to be built over the next decade or two. Pointing out that this adds up to a whole new town the size of our own lovely Worthing, they denounced the plan as "desecration of the countryside" (Worthing Guardian, October 15). We quite agree. But then we don't also hold the view that protecting the South Downs with National Park status would be a "disaster", as Tory leader Graham Forshaw had told the same paper on October 1! And we haven't been also trying to bulldoze through permanent planning permission for the Halewick Lane tip at Sompting, as the County Hall Tories have. And we don't belong to a political party whose major platform for the next general election looks like being a pledge to build hundreds of new roads over what remains of rural England. What was that about "desecration of the countryside", Mr Forshaw? The only difference between Labour and Tory policies on the countryside seems to be which arm of the construction industry - house building or road construction - they want to sell it off to.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the county council, together with civil servants from the Government Office for the South East, the Highways Agency, Worthing Borough Council and Arun and Adur Councils are currently all sitting on a rather secretive new "A27 Steering Group", which no community groups have been invited to join. High on the agenda will be the county and borough council's dream of a motorway slashing across the beautiful downland north of Cissbury Ring. A National Park would stop this from ever being built. Could this be a reason why the Tories are so rabidly opposing th park and, if so, why won't they own up to it?


HOW charming to read in the Worthing Guardian (September 24) of the memorial to the pigeons who "fought Hitler" in the Second World War. It is just a shame that there is, as yet, no memorial to the town's Rhino Battalion that headed off for action in Flanders in the 1914-18 conflict. Worthing's proud tradition of Rhinoceros husbandry (see past issues) led to the War Office calling up aa squad of 23 experienced riders and 7 animals from our town, who teamed up with Rhinos on loan from London, Bristol and Edinburgh zoos. The idea was that the Rhinos, with their thick armoured hides, would be able to spearhead advances on the machine-gun protected German front line. Unfortunately, the theory was never tested as both animals and Rhinos apparently got lost while traversing Paris on the complex Metro system and are believed to have survived for some years in the labyrinth of tunnels and sewers, possibly even breeding there. It is said that their descendants may even have inspired French dramatist Eugene Ionesco's celebrated 1960 play Rhinocorus.


WORTHING sleaze-buster Anthony Anthonies reports that he has now confiscated 65 examples of pornographic magazines from Worthing shops to present the council in a shock compendium next year. "My bathroom is full of them", he says. "But I can never have too many!" Meanwhile, Mr Anthonies wonders if any older readers have recollections of his grandfather, Rev Anthony Anthonies, who drove "God's Omnibus" through Worthing in the 1920s, picking up fallen women and taking them to a hotel in Brighton for the weekend for hands-on religious teaching and strict moral correction.

Porky Pie’s Top Tip of the Month!

  1. NEVER stoop so low as to make the patently false accusation that the membership activities of the Freemasons are in any way secretive or less than wholly reputable.
  2. NEVER mention the words "backhander" and "council" in the same breath.
  3. NEVER EVER staple his trouser legs to his socks.


HOW nice of former Lib Dem Mayor Herbie Golds to send us an e-mail regarding Issue 20. We are delighted to pass on the news that there are in fact volunteers from all political parties - and none - giving up their time for Worthing Animal Clinic all, it should be remembered, with the interests of our four-legged friends foremost in their minds and following correct procedures at the AGM. Mr Golds also told us: "When, during my years of service as a Borough Councillor I was also a mason, I never made any secret of the fact." Say no more Sir! For sure, it is civic-minded and helpful people like yourself that have made Worthing what it is today!


THIS week in "I'm Proud of Worthing" we highlight an issue that is causing a nuisance and eyesore for residents and visitors alike. No it's not chewing gum, an eyesore that it is. It's the sight of FREE tea and coffee being given out near the bandstand by the Anarchist Teapot. On Saturday afternoons, whilst earnest shoppers saunter in the pedestrian precinct, they are accosted by free drinks. Joan Thatcher of Broadwater was stunned: "I was shocked, speechless. How disgusting! I mean, the more expensive the coffee, the better it is. Free coffee? ugh!!". Bill Marshall, Lancing, saw a more sinister side: "The other week I spied on 'em at the Green Fair. They were giving out free food as well. If you ask me they're trying to entice asylum seekers to live in Worthing, so they can get a free cup of tea." So if you're proud of Worthing, never accept a free tea from a stranger. The last word is from Mr Macari: "I like competition, but free coffee - how low can you get!" - Steve Crutch, writing from where it's at.
Next week: Let's be proud of having a nuclear train re-routed through Worthing!


CYCLISTS are really getting their act together in Worthing, as the campaign for some proper cycle lanes gathers force. The Worthing Cycle Campaign is bringing out a newsletter (write to Antony Cartmell, 35 Ham Road, Worthing, BN11 2QU) and have also been busy setting up their own website. Meanwhile, despite teething problems, On Yer Bikes Worthing say they are continuing to organise Critical Mass cycle rides in town on the first Saturday each month, under the slogan "We're not blocking traffic - we are traffic". The regular meeting place is Liverpool Gardens, near Montague Place, at 11am and the next dates are November 6 and December 4. Phone 07803 500617 for further info.
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FANCY being part of a new co-operative setting up an organic shop/centre in Worthing? A meeting will be held on the evening of Thursday November 18 and you're invited.
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ARE you a Culture Vulture? You can get a copy of this informative and irreverent mag for £1 from CattleProd, Box39, 82 Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BB.
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VIDEO and speaker nights continue to be staged by the excellent at 42 Marine Parade, Worthing, on the first Tuesday of the month. Even if it is now too late to tell you about the event on Nov 2, the next one will be on Dec 7. Put it in your diary now.

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HM Government warns the public that their scientists have discovered residual traces of raw satire in this newsletter. Said the Minister for Truth: "Satire can be an extremely dangerous substance when it falls into the wrong hands. Innocent members of the public can become highly confused and a long-term build-up can lead to worrying levels of uncontrolled thought. Nobody is safe from satire. For example, the very words I am now uttering could be taken away and presented in a satirical context with the result that their very meaning could be lost for ever or even reversed!"