6 Sept 1999.
Index of earlier issues - click here.
THE RSI is still a little bit of a problem, so there may yet be further interruptions in the regularity of The Other News.
This week, the RSI continues, so articles will be short. Sorry they are not so bright this week.
(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site. Look at the Index of Earlier issues for a start. There are also some drawings and sheet music.)
YES INDEED. I am talking about world politics from my insulated position in a comfortable house in central London. This is somewhat arrogant, since I don't know much about the rest of the world - like everyone else - but for once I have something to say.
We tend to think of it as politics, anyway, but I wonder if we would not be being more realistic if we were to call it world business, since whatever we do in our strangely misplaced optimism about government, the whole thing lands up in the hands of self-interest groups. That is, you may think you voted for the Boggle Party, but in fact commercial interests put the Boggle Party together (or infiltrated it to such an extent that it belongs to them) and the reason it was so heavily sold that you voted for it is that business thought it would be profitable to have such a government and in various ways put a bit of puff behind it.
A couple of days ago I was talking to a lady who likes a bit of plain speaking, and if she has some prejudice she will show it if it suits her purpose. On this occasion she was having a go at the Asians (though she is very black West Indian herself), who, she says, work together like a team, and will within ten years be in control of this country, have you ever seen an Asian employ anybody who is not Asian, did you notice that Mrs. Blair had to wear a sari when dinging with some Indians, etc. etc., the government, who are obviously entirely in the hands of big business, the Americans, who only did that Iraq business because they want Kuwaiti oil to stay cheap, and who did some thing with Noriega, and wanted to stay in Cuba but were kicked out by Castro, and etc.
The jist, I hope, is getting through, but what got through to me was that she is probably right about many of these things, and in particular it does rather seem that the Americans and the British have a very strong interest in remaining in control in the Gulf, South America, Africa, etc., and what simpler way could this be done than to create internal strife and then go in and 'protect' everybody from 'undemocratic processes' like being allowed to elect a government that is against 'free market forces'. What reasons, you say? Cheap labour, lax environmental laws, oil, raw materials, big markets, space for expansion..........
The same idea could be applied to Kosovo, but I have not yet discovered what they would want in that region. The story that got to us here is that now the Serbs have been driven out at huge cost the Albanian Kosovans who either stayed and survived or returned after the dingdong are slaughtering the Serbs, which really rather defeats the declared objectives of the original interference in the region.
Historians would have it that these tribes have been slaughtering each other for the past three thousand years or more, and that this is just another episode. Originally, it might have been just fear of strangers or the desire for adventure and gold that kept the kettle boiling, but in this century it is much more likely to be overcrowding (yes, even in a sparsely populated area the occupants can perceive themselves as overcrowded if they live with neighbours they can identify as sufficiently different to themselves), but somehow that doesn't seem enough to justify the level of slaughter. However, if there was some other explanation, like the presence of oil or raw materials or a cheap labour force.........
If this idea is realistic, then we need to look at how it is that we grow to believe our nations are being just in going into the attack, and might I suggest that the reason we believe it to be so is the very great skill of those who sell politicians and their activities - public relations firms, whose morality it would appear is along the lines of 'the customer pays us to do what he says'. I won't go any further into this subject, except to say that I understand the public relations firm engaged to sell Pinochet to us (and Mrs. Thatcher) tell us that the reason General Pinochet thought it necessary to take over in Chile, and torture and kill thousands of opponents to his regime was that the legally elected Communists were planning a coup against themselves after which they would they continue to be in control and would torture and kill thousands of their opponents. There are really only two things to say about that: (1) That therefore neither Pinochet nor the Communists would be acceptable assuming that to be true (it could be, but how do they know?), but (2) that it might well not have been true, but a Communist country is not a thing the Americans would be keen to have for a neighbour, and (3) that these PR people have at least confirmed for the world that the torture and slaughter did take place, when up until now certain PR people have been trying to suggest they did not happen.
However, as they are just PR people do we believe a word of what they say?
THIS OUTSTANDING CENTRE OF incompetence, corruption, parsimony, bad employment practices, that manufactures it's own poverty through it's ill-organised housing and council tax collection system, is applying to become a City for the Millenium!
Clearly this has to be a bad thing for the populace, who will find it even more difficult than it already is (if that is possible) to communicate with them, owing to the fact that the enlarged budget gained by becoming a city will no doubt be quickly spirited into the bank accounts of certain highly paid persons and not into the great project itself. There's not much likelyhood of it going on anything public, anyway.
Of course, there will be a mayor, but they already have one of those, and then there will be a team of overpaid officials (friends of certain persons?) directing a vast army of underpaid individuals who dare not do anything in case they are held responsible for their actions and forced to give back the £3.60 an hour they were paid during the last few years. Blame is the order of the day, I am told, here, and although complaints about Southwark incompetence have to be directed to Julie Belvir (chief executive) because Southwark are not in the habit of communicating, there is a defusing system (a Mr. Mearns, whose function in my experience is the same as that of the 'independent lay witnesses' in the Bar Association complaints department - to find a reason why nothing can be done), who by printing a couple of letters from the word processor or making a phone call could soon bring your complaint to nothing.
In fact, it should be a highly satisfactory way to waste a lot of money that could be spent on people in need - quite possibly those who have been impoverished by their association with the Borough of Southwark.
This is a recycling site based in London, and offering materials to anybody. The organisation is a charity seeking to link suppliers of surplus materials with users. Especially good for the more ingenious designers amongst us.
The email of the people who run the above site is firstname.lastname@example.org. They are called Creative Supplies. Look them up for more info.
Here's an interesting education site - particularly for those who have young children and are not quite sure what to do to avoid the worst of what`s on offer in the mainstream of education.They are called www.edrev.org.
early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.
There were a few essays that went out with the early Other News as a freestanding item. You can read these by clicking below.
The Soup Designer`s Handbook.
London Journey - a trip from Docklands through Beckenham and back to Docklands.
(Friday Woodworkers are suffering a temporary break due to some of the episodes not having been fully edited at the time of writing. It may take some timne to fix this problem.
(These articles were written in 1988, and were my first attempt at writing. Some people when shown these fell about laughing, some smiled faintly - and some yawned. I thought I was going to write a technical book, but it soon became apparent that I was much more interested in the people than the technology - and that is the main reason there are no drawings - although it might be rather good to do a couple of caricatures sometime.)
Index of Friday Woodorker articles (and a means of access).
We are still redesigning The Other News From England. Noticed the change so far?
There is at least one new article this week, and articles on many subjects in earlier issues (which can be seen by clicking below).
Index of earlier issues.
A READER COMPLAINED that it was not possible to go back more than 6 articles in Gabriele`s area. Regrettably this is because there is no index, and I have not the time to organise one yet. However, for those determined enough to find the early ones, they should be accessible by going to an early Other News and clicking through from it. This will not be fast, but I think will do the job. They started about November 1997 I think.
(I wish someone would make a contribution before I am forced to put in some of my own stuff here).
So new, in fact, that there is nothing there. I want to open a section of this site to be used as a kind of green reference. Ordinary folks usually know what to do in order to be green, but there are times when (a) they don`t know the technology, or (b)they are short of ideas, or (c) they would like to see what some other people think.
So the purpose of this area will be for people to describe to others how they made their own electricity, or saved a great deal of domestic water being wasted, or captured the methane gas from their cesspit, designed their solar bicycle with regenerative braking and portable overnight windcharger, caused plants to grow in a desert, made a solar water pump, etc.
A site for forward-looking people, in fact.
It may be very difficult to edit, but I would like a few articles and tips that are concise, easily understood and ecologically useful. Authors will be named if they so wish. These will be left on the site, and gradually as the number of articles builds up hopefully somebody will construct an index. I won`t volunteer myself, as I have yet to make a subject index for the whole Other News site.
One week carried an article that might be of interest to anybody thinking of taking out an Abbey National mortgage - or those who already have one.
Interestingly, one of the London papers described them as being "among the greediest".
There will soon be a new twist to this story, but I am not sure what it will be until it happens. They are trying to make it as difficult as possible instead of as easy as possible to resolve the present dispute.
(see several weeks back).
This Lexmark business gets worse. I refilled the black cartridge with an ordinary cartridge refilling outfit and it won`t print despite telling me that the cartridge is full and that it is printing.
In an earlier issue I told you about my feelings regarding Tempo retailers and the Lexmark 3200 printer I bought from them. I have now found out another thing about it.
The Lexmark 3200 printer I got from Tempo must surely be the most uneconomical printer I could possibly have bought. The black cartridge only does about 250 pages of ordinary type - for £28! That makes each sheet cost 11.2 pence plus the cost of the paper and probably another 11.2 pence more if any colour is used! - ABOUT 22.4 PENCE A SHEET! Nearly a pound for every four sheets!
I wouldn`t recommend you to buy it - but also look at my earlier article for an idea of Tempo`s service.
A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email email@example.com
8- or more-track tape recorder. email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also want good working VW or Volvo 7 series 2.4litre turbodiesel engine. This is the type that goes in an LT van or a Volvo 740TD. email email@example.com
£2,000,000 at 0% interest would quite good too, although I would probably waste quite a lot of it employing musicians to do the great work.
All material on this site is copyright. Contact me if you want to use it. I am quite flexible. Educational non-profit use is free - but ask for permission and print an acknowledgement. If you can`t think what to print, put:
From The Other News From England. http://www.othernews.co.uk