One of my photos

Rotten Borough

November 2nd, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · 4 Comments · Politics

I have been reading about Worthing today. I saw a headline in the Argus at the station this morning and decided to check out their website to find out what it was about.

The headline was “Is this any way for a councillor to behave?” The councillor in question is a Mark McCarthy of Worthing who was photographed in a gutter and sprawled across a car bonnet outside a club called Bouji’s in London. A bit of a non-story really, and I have some sympathy with him – as much sympathy as I can have for anyone who craves the shallow pleasures of soi disant fashionable nightclubs anyway. He was not wearing a badge saying “I am a councillor”. He was not even in his own town. Actually I’m not sure how the paparazzi who were waiting around for Jordan to come out recognised an obscure local politician.

I don’t think he has brought his office or his authority into disrepute particularly. It looks to me like he was getting pissed up in a purely private capacity. What should be more objectionable for the residents he represents is the mention that he now lives in London.

I know it is possible to sit on one council but live in another city – its what our Mike Weatherly does, he is always telling the people of Brighton Regency how he lives there – but its not ideal.

What really hooked me were the hints that this is only the latest in a long series of events in Worthing, which does not seem to deserve its reputation as a sleepy seaside town. It sounds like its a real soap opera down there these days. From that Argus story and another one in their archives I found the following news from the last year or two in Worthing.

  • Mark McCarthy was previously fined for being drunk and disorderly in a bar in Worthing.
  • The Tory group on the council booted him out ‘some time ago’. He now calls himself an independent Tory.
  • In January the Tories called an extraordinary meeting of the council to get one of their own members kicked off the cabinet. Apparently they all thought he was poor at his job but he refused to resign so they had to get the full council to vote to remove him.
  • Another member of the council moved to the Isle of Man but still claimed his allowances.
  • A further member of the council worked in Qatar and was still a councillor.
  • As at January, the Chief Executive had been suspended on full pay for two years. (She was given early retirement on health grounds in March)
  • The Deputy Mayor was a postmaster who had his post office closed down with no warning or notice given to the public due to ‘irreconcilable differences’ with The Post Office. As far as I know there is still not one in that area.

What an exciting place. On top of all that its where the Majeeds started their businesses I seem to recall. Its easy to see why so many of their councillors now choose to live elsewhere.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Richard

    I was born and brought up in Worthing – famous place !

    It has an interesting history – only learned later :

    It was called the “Munich of the South Coast” in the 1930’s – with the West Sussex HQ of the British Union of Fascists based on the seafront (Marine Parade) – The Mosley Blackshirts.

    I can see why – even today.

    Worthing is ‘blessed’ with, what I consider to be, the most right-wing local paper/editor in the county – far worse than Mid Sussex Times. Both are owned by Johnston Press – as is our Crawley Observer.

    Worthing has only one local paper – The Worthing Herald, and the strangle-hold on news by the editor is something to behold.

    You might have gathered that I don’t like the editor. I don’t – nor he me.

    I get quite protective of my old home-town, and he is the only editor in Sussex who I have had a seriously ‘falling out’ with – so far.


  • Jody

    Goodness Worthing…

    I also had the unfortunate pleasure of growing up and going to school there.

    ‘South Park’ of the British Isles if you ask me.

    Highest population of over 65s in Europe, elected the UK’s first and only (I think) openly fascist MP and also home to the Green Bowls Association of Great Britain – an institution that I’m sure is a front for a wider evil agenda. I don’t have any evidence to back up that last point, actually.

    All adds up to the most conservative, hypocritical, prejudist and reactive places to live. And surprisingly dangerous place on a Saturday night – “you lookin’ at me” and the like.

    Good schools though.

  • Simon


    (Edited by Skuds to make the link friendlier to the page layout)

  • Skuds

    Yes. I saw that story in the Argus.
    Who says there is no such thing as bad publicity?