Week beginning 11 May 1998.
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Unions and work
Last week`s edition.
Index of earlier issues.
For conditions see end of document.
There is a little bit more about freemasons below.
The Other News has grown somewhat over the past months, and Josephine is gradually building a subject index for us. When it is completed, you will be able to log straight into the current edition and then look for the subjects that interest you in the subject index - these will often be in earlier editions. We are hoping this will help you find articles in your particular area of interest more easily than at present.
If you haven`t looked at the other News From England before, read this in case it may save you some time.
The Other News consists of a selection of articles on whatever subjects find their way to the top of the pile on the week in which it is written. Whilst some of it is intended to be serious, quite a lot is just a bit of light reading (or heavy, if you are a certain type of person), and intended to keep you amused, and cause people to question some of the assumptions of life.
Most of the material here is written by the editor, but no single article necessarily reflects the views of the editor or anyone else who writes here. They only might.
I was told by someone who is brave enough to take a lunch-break and risk being sacked that this week they spent their whole lunch hour queuing in Abbey National to get the money to buy some lunch.
Of course, this person was aware of the plight of the unfortunate battery-hen-like persons who work behind the counter in there, and therefore was unwilling to put in a complaint - believing it would only reach the manager, who would send out a pre-written letter telling us how totally committed to their customers Abbey National are, and not in any way addressing the fact that they appear to have no respect for their staff and as little as they can get away with for their customers.
However, words are cheap enough, and if they ever got sufficiently in contact with public opinion to discover what people think it is possible they might put out a promotion telling the public how committed to the welfare of their staff they are - and quite possibly someone on the selling side might even use the fact that you waste so long queuing in their branches as a means of selling the idea (`because we treat our staff so well you will just have to wait.....`). One imagines the main thing from their point of view is not to address the real issue as it might reduce dividends by half a pee.
What they haven`t considered is that it might increase the dividend if they had enough staff and treated them like humans.
Yet most of us would prefer the capitalism we have now to the pretence at communism that was tried in the Soviet Union (remember that?) or some of the things that have been called socialism in this country, so what are we to do about it?
Enthusiastic capitalists would tell us that we can legislate in such a way as to make it undesireable to be anything other than ecologically efficient (for frequently we cannot be ecologically sound without stopping our activity), and there has been some vague activity in this area - some of it half-baked, most of it not followed through at all, and quite a bit of it a PR exercise more than a real green thing (like the weird car and road-fuel taxing bits in the last budget).
The green things governments can do would still be likely to harm somebody`s purse, so we are being forced ever more into a situation where governments, to be practical, will have to find ways of stopping things happening but at the same time create new industries that do less damage to enable new economic activities to take place.
Some of the most harmless activities available to us (live entertainment, for instance) tend to be considered to be not worth taking seriously because certain persons cannot make a fat profit out of them, and it might be worth a government looking at ways of changing this instead of searching for new industries and new jobs. There are plenty of ordinary people out there who have the capacity to entertain each other and don`t require anything more than a living, but many of them are not competent in selling such entertainment.
A government can afford the promotion necessary to sell entertainment better than anyone else can. The only problem may be in finding a PR firm capable of doing it honestly and thoroughly.
No doubt there are even less damaging ways to circulate money, but at this moment I cannot for the life of me think what they are.
STEALING OFF THE students is not a way to increase enrolments, and so I was rather surprised at the start of this term to discover that the college had taken large quantities of tropical and European hardwoods and part-finished projects out of the workshop where I teach and thrown them on the tip.
The principal told me that he had made this decision in the light of the fact that some of the wood had been in the workshop for many years - and of course like all principals he would know one piece of wood from another and would know that it was not in fact replacement stock. Principals do know these things.
The students, returning, flew into a rage and told the vice-principal what they thought (the principal always seems to manage to get somebody else into the firing line in these matters), and were then unable to do anything because they had no materials - and as I said in at least one case their part-finished project had been thrown out.
So the caretaker was summoned (he knows all about wood too I expect) and he brought some building pine in a dustbin, and disappeared.
The students raged at the stupidity of the situation, and shortly started to trickle off home - having first been told that they would get their course extended to make up for their losses - even though part of what they were buying was the tuition of a particular lecturer who was not available for the extended course, and they would have no materials to work with anyway because you can`t do cabinetmaking with building timber unless you have developed a whole range of special tricks.
Towards the end of the morning acceptance had begun to sink in, and the students and I were trying to work out what to do next (like try taking the whole act to another local college) when some timber appeared in the passage outside the workshop - the caretaker was taking it to the builders who were working elsewhere in the building - and one of the students recognised the materials as being something the class had stored.
They had not been thrown out - just stolen. The student took the timber into the workshop. The caretaker appeared moments later in the passage but didn`t seem to dare to show his face in the workshop. He knew anyway that he could take it again when the class went home.
I went to see the principal, who told me that it would be OK for me to go all over the college collecting timber. What a wonderful and generous offer - it would only take a few years before we were back to where we started, and wouldn`t use up more than a few extra hours of my time per week.
Not being able to afford this extra time necessary to make up the losses, and with the principal trying to tell me I had not been `constructively dismissed` (what else was it?), I was forced to demand more hours paid for the same amount of class contact time - I drove a fairly soft bargain because my students are some of the most important people in my life and I didn`t want to lose the class.
But I might lose it anyway because of the hostility of the management.
It will be a great loss to all of us except the caretaker, who won`t have to deal with our untidyness any more, and it might be a loss to the person who comes into the workshop when it is closed and steals the odd mirror frame or a few tools from time to time. I wonder who that could be?.
Well, according to all the evidence I was able to muster, Lord Bingham nust be a freemason.
Being in this postion, it is not easy to trust any decisions he makes with regard to Jack Straw`s efforts to get certain judges to adnit their membership of this legal but questionable organisation. A `society with secrets` that studies politics will always be something people want to call into question, and becoming more secretive will only make them more suspect.
To see earlier articles about freemasons look in the last nine or so issues. To find them just click below:
I have still experienced in fairly recent years two bent judges in the Lambeth County Court and a judge in Reigate County Court who was evasive about whether he was freemason or not when I declared I would not wish to be heard by a masonic judge.
You must either believe me or not, because the nature of lawyers (judges are lawyers) is that they sue if you get too close to being realistic about them unless the realism is a compliment so I am not going to tell you who they are.
As they are all members of the same club (the Bar Association if not the Freemasons) the hearing would be at risk of being a little unbalanced.
Whilst on this subject, I am reminded of a solicitor who once represented me who told me that the first rule in his game was that you mustn`t question a judge.
No wonder they tend to be such pompous gits. Anyone who knows himself to be infallible is bound to be.
I wasn`t sure of this. If you look at money historically, it would appear that you can just print it but that there must be a limit on how much you print. Pre-war Germany printed so many Marks that you needed a whole wheelbarrow full to buy a loaf of bread, and that didn`t help too much. On the other hand, if they had printed none there would have been no means of exchange at all (not a lot different to the wheelbarow of Marks situation, actually).
It might be reasonably practical to use the new currency extensively in the provision and consumption of `unnecessary` things, like art and entertainment, thus allowing people to spend fairly freely on these things without damaging their `real` money position. This would then enable them to gradually use the currency more generally as they gained confidence in it. The providers of that art and entertainment, and those who service the industry would be paid in the new currency, too. that would mean that they would have to have a `real` income too at first.
If we had paper currency (difficult to forge stuff), and certain entertainments and art that could not be bought for `real` money, then those outside any LETS system would be encouraged to buy the LETS currency for `real` money in order to get them. This would give the currency credibility and value, and might encourage outsiders to join the system at the same time as showing them some of the charms of it.
I am now looking for a large premises where I can put on a large show with a large staff, charge Links on the door, and finance the whole thing with Links.
Does anyone know of a suitable premises who will join us in this venture by accepting at least 90 percent of their fee (preferably 100 percent) in Links? It would probably be quite good for them in the long run.
Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris play at the Bonnington Cafe most Wednesday evenings - old-fashioned jazz and some poppish modern compositions with classical or jazz influences - you have to hear it to know what I mean. 50`s Beatnik atmosphere, cheap vegetarian food, and sometimes a fire in the hearth. Bonnington Square, London SE8 UK (Vauxhall BR and Underground stn nearby, plus buses).
LETSSwing played at the opening of the new Green Adventure box vegetable sheme this Sunday 10 May.
Click here for sheet music.
If you are in a LETS somewhere and would like LETSSwing to play to you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETSSwing and others here also do gigs for money - a variety of types of music.
I kept meaning to tell you about this, but other things came along and it got forgotten.
Sorry. The fake book version is available on this site in the form of a graphic file:
Click here for sheet music.
This means that we have at least one more year of the same thing the tories gave us before there is any chance of doing anything much to make a change - except that we have got the chance of another GLC.
The question that must be in many people`s minds must surely be whether they will honour their promise or will they ignore it, and what they will do at the end of the two years if they honour their promise.
Will they do something to combat things like poverty?
Or will it just get the Thatcher treatment?
It is a very strange thing that the principal shouted when I told him that constructive dismissal had taken place. I`ve never heard him shout before. It hadn`t, he said, because the college was still offering me a new contract for the new acadmemic year.
Actually, as part of the conditions of accepting that work is that the classes don`t run if there are not enough enrolments, it is quite easy for them to do as they have done in the past - tell the students the class is full at the same time as telling the tutor the class has not enrolled enough students to run.
It would then be more than three months after the end of the last classes, and so too late claim redundancy.
Can it be that those class offers are a smokescreen?
Temporarily closed owing to poor morale generated by goings on around the college.
I want some stuff for getting data off Amstrad PCW`s onto ordinary PC`s. email@example.com
Cheap laptop for writing the Other News when away from base. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanted pc/Acorn monitor, London area. email@example.com
Who knows where on the Internet I can get a good freeware or shareware score-writing program that will run on my p100 or Acorn 5000? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
(Will take LETS currencies): Industrial quality roofrack about 7 feet X 3.5 feet, made to measure for ford Sierra estate. I used it for woodwork contracting. It is the best I`ve ever seen. Contact email@example.com
Same again, about 48" by 96", but lesser quality, for Ford Granada estate or Volvo 7 series - free owing to poor condition - but it works. firstname.lastname@example.org
LETSSwing (the London all-LETS-members band) need a percussionist. Suit someone who thinks of playing and writing music as a creative, co-operative, gentle activity, who likes out-of-date pop and jazz, and who doesn`t like making a noise. We play so quiet you could have it in your livingroom without bothering the neighbours most of the time, and are looking at the possibilities for involvement in `the community` (playing in hospitals and so on). Contact email@example.com
What, no stop press?
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