BIG BUSINESS is set to get a foothold in Worthing High School, as controversial "Trust" status is bulldozed through, concerned parents have warned The Porkbolter.
The move would give influence over the secondary school in South Farm Road to an unaccountable mafia of businessmen with their own barely concealed agenda. Global bankers HSBC are believed to be lined up, along with Southern Water, recently bought by a consortium led by JP Morgan.
Rather than receiving a broad education for life, in keeping with the time-honoured ethos of learning, youngsters would be increasingly trained up as compliant labour units for corporations and brainwashed with neo-Thatcherite 'enterprise' ideology.
This will all come as a surprise to most parents. Most have no idea of the implications of Trust status and might be tempted to swallow the official line that it's all a great idea.
There are, however, some clues as to the real agenda in the letter sent out by headteacher Alison Beer to parents, dated November 1. This stated: "We intend to play to our strengths and emphasise partnerships with business and the community in order to extend our already impressive provision and reputation surrounding business and enterprise." That's two mentions of business in one sentence - pretty good going! The word 'community' just seems to have been thrown in to soften the impact.
But things really start to get worrying when you look at the Twenty First Century Vision document, as found in November in the "parents" section on the school's website.
This makes it quite clear that the Trust bid is very much designed to deliver rewards for the businesses involved. For instance, it states: "The move to Trust School status will ensure that partnerships between the school and community/business partners will be mutually beneficial. The Trust will act as a forum to ensure that it is not just the school and students who benefit from partnership arrangements but business and the local community will prosper too." Note how the phrase 'the local community' has again been randomly thrown in here, breaking up the rather too obvious connection between the words 'business' and 'prosper'!
The statement then dispels all doubt about the agenda behind Trust status, declaring: "The focus will be on entrepreneurship and enterprise and directly support Worthing's strategy for regeneration". What on earth has the education of our school kids got to do with a 'strategy of regeneration'?
The document goes on to say that one of the big advantages of Trust status will be that "Future employees (students) enter the workplace with high level employability skills." There then follows this extraordinary statement: "Schools and their students support marketing arrangements required by local businesses." Eh? What the pork is that about?
And that is not all. In the brave new Trust School world, it seems we will see "Teacher staff providing training and resources required by local businesses, for example support could be offered regarding presentation skills and customer interfacing."
All our state schools have been built and developed by taxpayers' money for the benefit of the people of Worthing. And now it seems they are to be handed over to Big Business to use or abuse as they like!
It's not just us who find this unacceptable. The National Union of Teachers has campaigned against Trust status elsewhere, as of course have clued-up parents.
It looks as if the High School "consultation process" is window dressing and the move will go ahead. And the indications are that this is just the thin end of the wedge, with more and more Worthing schools set to be gradually taken over by the new global corporate mafia.
THE THREAT to Worthing High School is just the latest example of a sinister trend in our society, in which anything owned by the public is being handed over into the greedy paws of profit-hungry fat cats.
In the olden days of Queen Thatcher, this was known bluntly as 'privatisation', but now the reality is always hidden by slippery terms like 'partnership' and 'regeneration'.
At the forefront of this massive organised theft of our collective assets are bodies like SEEDA, the South East England Development Agency. You may not have even heard of it, and you certainly haven't had the chance to vote for its members or give your opinions on its activities, and yet it's a vastly powerful organisation in many different fields across this part of the country.
Education is one of the many pies SEEDA likes to get its sticky fingers into. But it is not at all interested in education as we know it. In its narrow money-orientated world, the only way of assessing the value of anyone's education is by what they can 'contribute to the economic workforce'. This means its emphasis is very much on trade-related courses that save businesses the expense of having to train up their own employees in-house.
In its own mission statement on Learning and Skills, it states: "Our objective is that by 2012, the South East of England will be one of the top 15 regions in the world in terms of labour productivity, competitiveness and employment rates. In order to achieve this we need to develop a skilled and adaptable workforce."
For the benefit of those who haven't learned to decipher their code, "labour productivity" means long hard hours at the grindstone, "competitiveness" means rock bottom wages and "adaptable workforce" means staff with few rights who aren't represented by a trade union.
In plain language, SEEDA wants to turn schools and colleges into training camps to churn out compliant ready-to-work human robots to boost the profit margins of the companies it represents.
The smug businessmen who run SEEDA (for the full horrible details see their website at www.seeda.co.uk) have a vision for Worthing's school children - as low-paid 'adaptable' wage slaves who will spend their miserable lives making fat profits for them and their ilk, so they can buy yet another holiday home in Tuscany and send their own pampered offspring to Eton to learn how to lord it over the rest of us!
*** A superb new book on the way the whole planet is being privatised - at gunpoint - is Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine (Penguin, 2007).
The news comes on top of the shocking revelation in The Argus (November 21) that West Sussex Primary Care Trust has spent £127,900 on the services of PR firm London Communications Agency.
The Porkbolter's investigation concerns Gavin Grey, presented to the unsuspecting public as an 'independent chairman' of the NHS meetings, whose apparent qualification for impartiality was his career as a 'journalist and broadcaster'.
He even had the cheek to announce at one meeting: "I am a completely independent Chair, I am nothing to do with any of the others sitting on the panel". (Page 1 of the minutes of the Haywards Heath meeting of July 19).
It soon emerged that he was not chairing the West Sussex PCT meetings out of the goodness of his own heart. The West Sussex Gazette reported on August 1: "The meeting didn't get off to a good start when Gavin Grey, a supposedly independent chairman, was asked if he was being paid by the PCT, which he confirmed he was."
This is hardly a surprise. Anyone who has attended any of the meetings Mr Grey has chaired will have noticed his obvious bias towards his paymasters, allowing them to evade awkward follow-up questions and rudely interrupting or ignoring anyone challenging their propaganda.
But the exact nature of his role in the Fit for the Future process has, to our knowledge, never been properly explained.
Now The Porkbolter has discovered that although Mr Grey is indeed a journalist and TV presenter (with Sky and Meridian), he is also a professional spin doctor, being an Account Director of Paul Smith Associates of Alton in Hampshire.
This business describes itself on its website www.paulsmithassociates.co.uk as a 'media consultancy'. Strangely, there is no mention of it providing impartial and independent chairmen for genuine consultation processes. Instead it all seems very much angled towards using various cunning techniques to smoothly push through certain aims that would otherwise have met with resistance.
The site states: "No matter how large or small the issue, PSA can develop the strategy to deliver a successful conclusion to your campaign - from regional matters, requiring specialist local knowledge, to those of national importance."
The firm provides an impressive list of companies for which it has provided 'media strategies', including LSG Sky Chefs (part of Lufthansa), De Boer Structures, Alcon and Thorns Group. There is no mention of the West Sussex Primary Care Trust.
We believe there are some important questions to be answered here and we have requested answers to those below from the health bosses at the PCT under the Freedom of Information Act.
1. What is the PCT's definition of 'independent chairman'?
2. How much was Gavin Grey paid for his services to the PCT?
3. Was he employed as an individual or as part of PR firm Paul Smith Associates (PSA)?
4. If he was employed as an individual, did he declare his directorship of PSA?
5. Has PSA been paid any money by the PCT?
6. What is the extent of PSA's role in the Fit for the Future process?
7. What experience or credentials of chairing meetings on health issues were possessed by Mr Grey before his appointment as chairman?
8. By what process was he selected?
9. Who else was considered for the role?
10. Who made the decision to appoint him?
For the PCT's answers, see the next issue of The Porkbolter.
The latest step into totalitarian darkness is that, from 2009, anyone who wants to enter or even leave this country will have to answer no fewer than 53 questions on a range of topics.
Reported The Daily Mail on November 15: "The information, taken when a ticket is bought, will be shared among police, customs, immigration and the security services for at least 24 hours before a journey is due to take place. Anybody about whom the authorities are dubious can be turned away when they arrive at the airport or station with their baggage."
Columnist Henry Porter, a rare voice of dissent in our moribund media, warned in The Observer on November 18 that we are entering "the era of the exit visa", adding: "ten, 15 or more years on, we will be resigned to the idea that the state decides whether we travel or not".
Porter also noted the way that this move also ties in with the tide of privatisation and corporate profiteering taking over our lives (see above) - the government has given the contract for the computer system to US military corporation Raytheon, one of the many influential transatlantic businesses to do rather well out of the whole "War on Terror"...
A special open meeting on the threat to our liberties will be held jointly by Worthing Alliance and Worthing No2ID at 8pm on Thursday January 31 upstairs at The Rest in Bath Place, Worthing, when the film Taking Liberties will be screened. And a Freedom to Protest march gathers at 12 noon on Saturday January 19 in Churchill Square, Brighton.
It quoted James Appleton, the council's assistant director (planning services) as saying work could start towards the end of next year "if the application could be approved reasonably quickly". It added: "Asked what would then happen to the anti-development tree protesters in Durrington woods, Mr Appleton said that would be up to whoever owned the land at that time."
Keep up to date with Protect Our Woodland! and Southcoast Indymedia. Meanwhile, the protesters are of course still on site, despite the grim weather. Any help - such as warm clothes and food - would be very much appreciated. Phone Camp Titnore direct on 07913 534083.
He said: "The festive season has long been an excellent example of the wonderful interface between the community and business which has made Britain the marvellous place it is today. It only makes sense to put the whole Yule period under the permanent stewardship of a new Christmas Trust, whose expert members will be able to contribute valuable experience from their own commercial fields. For example, banking experts will advise people to spend, spend, spend (paying the interest off later), pharmaceutical experts will advise people to eat and drink until they feel sick (using their medication later) and our legal ambassadors will do their best to encourage the economically beneficial seasonal boost in divorce claims. Everyone's a winner!"
Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no regeneration in this unadaptable corner of Worthing.