Sunday, July 30, 2006



These words from the radical American philosopher and political writer, Noam Chomsky, have made me think this week :

Chomsky says the role of the News Media (eg Crawley Observer & Crawley News - Ed) is that of "protecting privilege from the threat of public understanding and participation."

It has got me thinking about who really 'pulls the strings' here in West Sussex - in the realm of education and schools, health and hospitals, housing and planning, transport and highways etc

What do you think ?

Saturday, July 22, 2006



Couldn't help but notice "School's homes scheme to fund revamp" (Page 5, July 19) - and to tie that in with Crawley Observer's Front Page ("A bum rap", July 19) - both featuring Bernard Smith, Headteacher of St Wilfred's Catholic School, but on two completely different issues. In the News, dear Bernard is trying to defend the indefensible about building on his playing fields. I know a little about the selling-off of school playing fields, as some of you might know.

I find it staggering that a headteacher is wheeled in front of the media to pronounce his opinion about what is essentially a property deal - he should stick to his job as a headteacher and let his Education Authority do this sort of dirty work.

The trouble is I'm not sure if this Roman Catholic School comes under the authority of West Sussex County Council - and that complicates the issue. What I do know is that a certain Catholic School (St Rood's?) was knocked down, years ago so that a new housing development could be built (you can see the result to the left of Overdene Drive petrol station at the back of what was Ifield First (re-located) & Ifield Middle School-now The Mill Primary School).

I understand this Catholic school was linked to the Ifield Grammar/Sarah Robinson/Special School Campus in some way. Now look at the area - thanks to WSCC's Crawley Schools PFI Project. Spot the school playing fields...

How much is that PFI scam costing us, the council taxpayer, by the way? I have yet to receive an answer from West Sussex County Council - who are supposed to be responsible for education and schools in Crawley... I feel myself getting angry now, so I will say no more....except to say : Where has the school playing field gone for Ifield First School - now called The Mill Primary ?



"Council feels it has little choice as developers plan 11-storey housing" (Crawley News, July 19, Pages 4/5)

"Council feels it has little choice..." We are going to get more of this type of nonsense, now that the Crawley Borough council is politically-controlled by the Tories. Only a fool doesn't know that the Tories are more beholden to business and the private developer than to the majority of people in this town. Well, we get the council we deserve - and if you didn't vote in the last election (and over 60% did not), don't moan.



EDITORIAL 'COMMENT' about Drugs in Crawley (and LETTER -"Shocking tale of town's drug den") - all about drug-users and drug-pushers, and where they hang out, and the dangerous mess they leave. But nothing about the drug dealers and traders, and where they hang out, and the lethal mess they leave (See previous posting "HEALTH AND DRUGS IN CRAWLEY - JULY 19).

SPORT - K2 PROBLEMS ("Not so leisurely getting to class"). Well, if you build a PFI-financed sports centre on school playing fields, you're going to have problems...

HOUSING - COUNCIL HOUSING ("Closing the door on housing critics" by the Tory Executive Member for Housing). 'Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practise to deceive...'. Tories and New Labour are both guilty of deceit.

TRANSPORT - SPECIALLY-ALLOCATED PARKING SPACES IN SUPERMARKETS (5 Letters!) - If it's very busy, I take the point. People without little angels, and those with disabilities, should have specially allocated parking spaces nearer the supermarket - and the rest of us should not encroach on their territory. But, I have to make a personal admission (don't tell anybody) - if I'm getting cash, and/or going for a quick shop in Sainsbury's West Green, and the parking area is practically deserted, I park in those parking places nearest the cash machine - shock and horror!

HEALTH - CRAWLEY HOSPITAL SWITCHBOARD AND COMPLAINTS TO GARY WALKER ("What can we believe about hospitals"). Same letter in Crawley Observer ("Problems", July 19), along with a feature "Walk-in centre? Sorry, that's ex-directory". Clearly there are problems - big problems. I really wish the Chief Executive (and those who are pulling his strings) would stop using taxpayers' money to feed us bullshit...they're nearly getting as bad as West Sussex County Council !



Whenever a newspaper has to publish an apology, you can guarantee that the editor has been receiving considerable 'flak' - usually from 'Establishment Power' (which I assure you is very real - and rife - in West Sussex). Such an apology can be seen on Page 2 of Crawley News - hidden away in the bottom right-hand corner ("Meet the PM?").

Hospital Trusts are controlled by 'Establishment Power' - who also control the county's Schools, Planning, and Security Services (eg Police). These hidden truths have never been spelled out clearly to the likes of us, the taxpaying public, for various reasons...but Noam Chomsky gives us a clue by describing the central role of news media as "protecting privilege from the threat of public understanding and participation".

Another clue is West Sussex County Council (to whom we pay over 80% of our hard-earned council tax) and the role of Lord Lieutenants and Deputy Lieutenants (47?), made up of the 'Great and the Good' (and Not-So-Good), Royal Patronage, Lords and Dukes, The Landowning Aristocracy, Lieutenant Colonels, 'The Monied and Property-Rich', former (and current) County Hall Chairman, a former WSCC Chief Executive et al.
Oh dear, bang goes my chance of a Peerage !

And that is why I can laugh out loud when I read that Crawley was "Home to the county's richest" (Crawley News, Page 10)(Crawley Observer, Page 15, "Cash to spare in Crawley"). "Crawley has topped the list of the highest earners in Sussex..." (Crawley News). Of course this is complete and utter nonsense.

We are probably the most affluent county in the UK (who are incapable of providing a decent hot meal to our state school primary-aged children), but that has sod-all to do with some high-earners in "RH10 7" (Crawley's Maidenbower/Worth/Pound Hill), and everything to do with...guess ? If you disagree, I will gladly 'take you on'...

What is the 'Big Lie' in this county of West Sussex ? That it is in any real sense a 'Democracy' - Of, By, and For, the People. Unless we mean by 'Democracy' - Of, By, and For Powerful and Privileged People. And that's not democratic politics - that's realpolitik.



Crawley News is full this week (19th) of stories of drug-takers ("Disgrace of childen at risk from dumped drug needles" - Page 2), and drug-pushers ("Failed asylum-seeker jailed after selling drugs to police" - Page 11), but NOTHING ABOUT DRUG DEALERS - as per usual. These are the real evil bastards who need to be exposed...not just the pathetic, the desperate, the addicted et al. The drug dealers and traders (like arms dealers and traders) are the ones who are the main culprits in "Spreading addiction, crime, misery" (Crawley News, July 12).

Why are the drug-dealers and traders not exposed ?

The answer to that is...



Crawley News (July 19) headlines their front page with "WAS IT SUICIDE?" - the same 'story' also makes Crawley Observer's front page (July 19 - 'DEATH PACT'.

Death by suicide is a serious health issue (eg deep unhappiness, despair, depression et al) which impacts not just on the families and friends involved, but also the wider community. Both papers give no detailed analysis - just 'voyeuristic' coverage. Perhaps such an analysis should be taken (eg causes AND effects, help available etc) - if only to try and help to prevent such tragedies.

The pain and suffering must be unimaginable - not just for those who eventually committed suicide, but also for those who remain...

Thursday, July 20, 2006



The 'Blogs Today' column on the Letters Page looks a promising new 'democratizing' development...but for how long ?

I suppose this new idea makes up for having no 'Editorial Comment' - something not lacking at the Crawley News...



"TRUST CLAIMS WIN" - PAGE 7 SPECIAL REPORT/SPORTS PAGES - CRAWLEY FC AND THE MAJEED BROTHERS. This sad tale continues unabated - but it's getting rather boring. I notice that the 'Crawley Observer' logo is no longer emblazoned on the at least their competitor doesn't have to childishly erase the name in their pictures.



'GATWICK FARCEWAY' - "IS THIS THE MOST ACCIDENT PRONE BUS IN BRITAIN" - PAGE 9. Much has been said about this West Sussex County Council disaster, at our expense as taxpayers. Personally, I believe most of the problems arise because the DESIGN AND LAYOUT of the bus lanes are dangerously flawed. It requires much unnecessary concentration on the part of the bus driver to navigate the route, and is simply lethal for other road users at certain points. Who was (ir)responsible for the design and layout ? Let me guess...



'WALK-IN CENTRE' TELEPHONE NUMBER AT HOSPITAL IS EX-DIRECTORY - PAGE 5. Thought this story, featuring 'Karen Dunn' (?!), was a bit 'manufactured' at first, as it seems much more practical just to have one switchboard number for the hospital - until I read (surprisingly unlinked) the Star Letter "Problems" - with the hospital switchboard !



"A BUM RAP" - FRONT PAGE. Sunsationalist titillation, with a picture of the headteacher of St Wilfrid's RC School rather oddly and inappropriately featured, methinks.



"DEATH PACT" - FRONT PAGE. Yet another suicide in the town, treated with voyeuristic 'sunsationalism'. Perhaps it would be more useful to readers to look at the causes of suicide - the reasons why - as well as ways to help. This is a serious HEALTH issue affecting the community and it should be looked at in more detail, rather than a picture of a police car outside the home with the words : "TRAGEDY - A police car outside the Woodfield Road house." No further comment.

DEATH OF BABY JOSHUA - PAGE 3. Another tragedy, and another HEALTH issue, relating to lack of hospital facilities in the town. Joshua's mother Sarah : "I do feel angry, but I don't blame anyone. It is the system that is at fault." The 'system' where nobody appears accountable apparently. Well, the 'system' is a human construct, and therefore the people who constructed the 'system' should be held accountable. Or perhaps we should change the 'system'. That depends on us...

DEATH OF DENNIS AND BETTY WALDE - PAGE 5. In contrast to the deaths on the front page, the death of Dennis Walde (on the morning of his wife's funeral) was sensitively well written by Claire Hutchinson. Their only son, Duncan, had died in a road accident "some years ago". It seems Dennis simply died of a broken heart. Betty is in the Obituaries in the Observer, but strangely absent in Crawley News.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006



FRONT PAGE - "DIRTY GARY". Nothing like a 'Sunsational Headline' to try and sell more Crawley Observers. Sex sells - guaranteed. Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with the 'target' - far preferring the 'naming and shaming' of local porn/drugs dealers than someone who, yes did something very wrong, but "had no previous cautions or convictions". Let's hope we don't find his name in the Obituaries this time next year...although there are many who would in this town - especially those who don't know the difference between a paedophile and a paedatrician.

PAGE 2 - JOB CUTS AT HOSPITAL. Nothing about the recent national report that it's the 'Managers/Chairmen/Directors et al' of these 'Trusts' who have been primarily responsible for these huge financial losses. And will such people be 'targeted' and 'named and shamed' in the local and/or national media - will they hell ? Flying pigs would have built an airport by the time that happens. We can protest and write letters 'til we're blue in the face; but I can tell you, until such people are exposed and brought to account by us the taxpayer, nothing will change - absolutely nothing.

PAGE 5 - 'THANK GOD IT'S OVER'. The death of Andrew Frost at the traffic lights by K2. Well, it looks as though it was all Andrew's fault - nobody else to blame apparently. And what of the sequencing of the traffic lights ? They must have been perfectly OK then, must they ? So, WSCC had no need to change the sequencing of the traffic lights after the fatality ?

PAGE 8 & 9 CRAWLEY FC AND THE MAJEED BROTHERS. I can understand Crawley Observer's need to give this such coverage - as they were (are?) the main sponsors - but frankly I'm bored with the story now. Clear the decks and kneel down to pray for a 'saviour' - like Richard Branson. Gatwick City FC ?

PAGE 10 - THE ANDREW SKUDDER PORTRAIT. And what do we have here, then ? Andrew 'Skuds' Skudder, sporting a bright yellow jacket and a dome worthy of 'head-butter' Zidane. It's an old picture (and good) - in the good old days when he was a Labour councillor (and Deputy Mayor?). He would have been a good, dynamic Mayor for Crawley - but now what do we have !!! I remember when he gave me a 'verbal head-butt' some years ago at a council planning meeting. I managed to respond in kind at the time - but here's hoping all is forgiven !

PAGE 11 - PRIVATE EYE TAKES A POP. The 'Farceway' Bus System, costing us "£2.65m per mile". Good, 'exclusive', feature - and great to see the national news being related to local news. It's a rare thing. I can't help wondering if it changes anything - or brings those (ir)responsible to account. Private Eye, Have I Got News For You etc all 'take the mick out of' power - but they are rather like 'court jesters' to Establishment power. And, believe me there is an 'Establishment' in West Sussex, and it's very, very powerful. But I digress...

PAGE 1 - DAD OF TWO'S SUICIDE. So, so sad. Depression apparently - that mental illness. I sense there are many more stories like this which don't get in the paper - and there will be many more in the future. It can be a crazy, cold, cruel world - that world inside our heads, as well as outside...

PAGES 14-16 - LETTERS PAGES. "Friendly and positive" is a 'must' read concerning Hot School Meals and West Sussex County Council - but I might be slightly biased (as its author) !

PAGE 28 - LOOK BACK. Still colourful and interesting. "Olympic Hopes For New Centre" (K2), One Year Ago. Well, let's hope any Olympic hopeful won't need to cross at the traffic lights.

PAGE 31 - PARTY PEOPLE. Ummm...that girl is nice

BACK PAGES - Sorry, lost my concentration...Bye for now !



FRONT PAGE - "NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE". This should be read by all of us, with care, as we all share responsibility for this.

PAGE 5 - 'SPREADING ADDICTION, CRIME, MISERY'. Variation on a theme from above.

PAGE 7 - ANDREW FROST AND THE K2 TRAFFIC LIGHTS. So tragic, and so disturbing. It appears that nobody was to blame except Andrew - who is no longer with us. So the sequencing of the traffic lights was perfectly OK, was it ? Persil washes whiter. Do we care ?

PAGE 9 - PERVERTS AND MOBILE PHONES. This primary instinct can play havoc with us men, can't it - especially with a mobile phone in our hand? Sticking a mobile up a girl's skirt for a photograph doesn't do much for me,, I can't go there. Me - a pervert ? Pure as the driven slush...

PAGE 10/11 - LETTERS PAGES. "Need for a phone" - I can't get Page 9 out of my head to take this one seriously...later perhaps.

PAGE 31 - Can't really concentrate after the above, but here's Tony Benn to 'throw some political cold water over me' - "Political talk from a Cabinet legend"...."sensational" cries The Daily Telegraph. Don't remember them saying that when he was an MP !

PAGE 38 - "NEW ROLES FOR TAYLFORTH". Sorry, I've lost my concentration again.

That's enough - bye for now !

Saturday, July 08, 2006



SPECIAL SCHOOLS, SPECIAL NEEDS - AND WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL ("My lad needs a school", Crawley Observer, July 5 2006, Page 5 / "Family pleads for school to stay open", Crawley News, July 5 2006, Page 5)

Someone, whose opinion I value, has expressed surprise that I missed out Page 5 of Crawley News (and I also missed out Page 5 of Crawley Observer on the same topic).

My reasons for missing Page 5 (of both papers) sound like excuses, so I will just apologise, thank that "someone" for pointing out my serious omission, and try and now make up for it :

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is "in charge of education provision in the county" -particularly Special Schools and Special Needs.
I am being politely diplomatic here when I say the provision made by WSCC is total crap.
We speak from bitter personal experience as a family - with a 16 year old son with Asperger's, and seeing Deerswood Special School and its Playing Fields quite literally destroyed outside our front door - to make way for an 'exclusive' housing development (which is over-priced crap, but a highly lucrative property deal for WSCC).

The articles on page 5 of the News & Observer concern the anger, frustration, powerlessness, concern and anxiety of two families - one with a 'special needs' Asperger child (Observer), and one with a 'special needs' ADHD child (News). Their stories are depressingly all-too-familiar, and my heart goes out to them.

I will not go into details of our own situation, because it will get me too upset and angry as I I will quote the words of that "someone" (who will remain nameless), who kindly drew my attention to the plight of one of these families (ADHD/News) :

"The school (Abbotsford Special School-Ed) was failing and was put into special measures but the WSCC have decided to close the school instead of trying to turn it around.
That's just an easy way to improve how their performance looks on education - close the schools which get bad results.

"There is some implication for Ifield too. This decision leaves West Sussex with only one secondary school for special needs in Ifield. Manor Green (previously 'Deerswood Special School' etc-Ed) is a great school, partly as a result of the small class sizes. If it has to take up the slack for the rest of the county, it will lose its advantage and not be as good (then get bad results and face closure?-Ed).

"And what about the kids from Abbotsford? They are faced with either being 'shoe-horned' into Manor Green, or having to cope with mainstream schools along with all the kids who would have been at Abbotsford if it had been running at full capacity.

"Expect to hear about a new, exclusive, gated housing development called 'Abbotsford Acres' any day now. Bastards."

Friday, July 07, 2006



FRONT PAGE - much the same as Crawley Observer's - Chas Majeed and Co. and Crawley FC. God knows how these people managed to 'buy' our football club - aren't they vetted properly beforehand ? I can never understand how a 'bankrupt' can still ponce about in flash cars as if they were Lord March - but I suppose the 'system' allows it. Well, perhaps the 'system' needs changing.

PAGE 2 - FACES. Now there's a happy face - nearly as happy as me when I get out of bed in the morning !

PAGE 2 - SALLY BLAKE. "In Brief - Silence for 7/7. Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Sally Blake will lead a two minute silence...". Con councillor Sally who lives in my road in Ifield and represents Pound Hill...nice enough woman...pity about her party-politics. Anyway, I'm very uncomfortable about this "two minute silence". It smells of something...Govt propaganda...can't quite put it in words. Now it's 2 minutes silence for this, two minutes silence for that. Personally it should be kept once a year - Remembrance Sunday. That's it. Any more than on and it 'dilutes' the whole significane and meaning of 11/11.

PAGE 7 & 10 - FACES. Happy faces again ! God help me if I break the law in some way, and the local 'rags' want a 'bad' picture of me. About 6am when I crawl out of bed and take the dog out would be a good time !

PAGE 12 & 13 -LETTERS PAGE. "I'll continue to park wherever I want/These drivers are just so selfish". As we near nuclear conflagration, I can see letters like this being published. Blimey, if there weren't problems in the world, it would be necessary to invent them.

PAGE 14 LETTERS EXTRA - Nice to see former Labour councillor, Owen Richards, stirring up the comfortably numb. Has he woken from hibernation, or something ?

PAGE 17 - "COUNCIL HOUSING". An Old Labour idea 'biting the dust', like the NHS. Aneurin Bevan all is forgiven ! I would love to see the tenants vote to stay with CBC next March - despite the two-party propaganda machines working overtime (with our money) to persuade them otherwise.

PAGE 28 - WOMEN. Oooooh, those lovely girls. They could cut my hair anytime. Life is funny sometimes. I'm 52, so that last sentence might make me a 'dirty old man' to some (unacceptable)...whereas if I was 18 I'd just be a 'lad' on testestorone (acceptable). As I get older, this primary instinct shows no sign of waning, but I 'philosophise' about it more. For example, why am I attracted to an attractive girl's legs with high heels, and two fleshy lumps on her chest ? Well, the answer is I just am - that's the way I'm wired up it seems. Lucy is wired up differently; she likes smelling bottoms, pooh and is attracted to four legs, and has not the slightest interest in what I'm looking at - Lucy is a bitch by the way - Our family dog. I digress...

PAGE 29 - WOMEN. "Relax, lay back and let Lorraine work her magic" comment.

PAGE....I'm all distracted now...I'm off to bed.

Thursday, July 06, 2006



FRONT PAGE - I see they have quietly made their sponsorship of 'The Reds' disappear from the front page. Will 'Crawley Observer' be advertised on the shirts next season ? Brighton's 'Skint' might be more appropriate perhaps. Come on, Richard B, how about 'Virgin' - and change the name from Crawley FC (boring) to Gatwick City FC (not boring) !!!

PAGE 2 - TRUST. Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust - "Trust" ? These people have given the word 'trust' a bad name.

PAGE 5 - SPECIAL SCHOOLS. Special Schools and Autism - bad publicity nationally as well. Suppport is lousy in West Sussex. Our 16 year old has Asperger's - a very mild form of autism - blimey, God help those with 'less mild' autistic children - only He can cos West Sussex don't.

PAGE 6 - FACES. Nice pictures of 'kidnappers' - nearly as nice as that one of Laura Moffatt recently !

PAGE 8 - COUNCIL HOUSING. "True blue or yellow". Brilliant headline and good research. (New?) Labour's "David Shreeves" - now that's one to look out for (if he turns up).

PAGES 12/13 - LETTERS PAGE. "Lots of reforming" by RWS. Now there's someone who makes a lot of sense - and he's not obsessing about hot school meals and WSCC this time. Is he ill ?
"Hang your heads" by the new Con Councillor Mike Weatherley. Someone told me he lives in Crawley not Brighton. Strange that - never heard his name mentioned in Crawley until last May's election. Something tells me we'll be hearing a lot from him now. Will he replace Henry Smith as the prospective parliamentary candidate to fight dear Laura ? Watch this space...

PAGE 14 - BAA. British Airports Authority (BAA) - now owned by the Spaniards ? Should it now be called the Spanish Airports Authority (SAA) ?

PAGE 15 - FACES. Another two happy photos a la Moffatt.

PAGE 22 - COLOUR. I like this page. Colourful and informative.

PAGE 27 - TONY BENN. "Tony tells his tales". Tony Benn at the Hawth July 25. Great stuff. Went last time he came - just before going really deaf. I will have to be there 'in spirit' now - just wouldn't be able to hear him now (with or without hearing aids) and.....shut up Symonds.

PAGE 29 - FACES. All unhappy faces to make up for those previous ones - and Laura Muppet's.

PAGE 40 et al - JOBS AND CAREERS. Any out there for someone deaf who can't use the telephone ? Not one I can tell you.

BACK PAGES - SPORT. Can't see 'Crawley Observer' logo - funny that ? Look out for Ifield Cobras - future internationals there - for the World Cup.... Shut up Symonds.

MOTORING SECTION - going to have to sell the car soon, because...Shut up Symonds.

PROPERTY PAGES - 'She who must be obeyed' is now always taking this section up to the loo, and leaving it at certain pages on the floor for me to see later. Worrying...

That's all folks !

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