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The Other News From England.

15 March 1999.

Sorry, folks. Well beind this week. There are more articvles, but they will have to go on later in the week.


Trying a new layout this week. All the little bits to access by clicking through are now at the end, between this week's articles and the adverts.

This week.



I'M THINKING OF STANDING FOR PARLIAMENT. After all, from what I've seen so far I would be unlikely to do worse than the average MP - and it seems unlikely that the way our constitution is designed I would be able to do any better (which is probably why things are as they are). So, given that state of affairs I thought I would stand for parliament with my manifesto being that I need the job - or, perhaps to be more accurate, I need the money.

I am actually a member of the Liberal Democrats, but only because they seemed to me to be a tiny bit more left than the labour party. I then allowed myself to be persauded that it would be worth supporting the Liberal endeavour to get Labour into Parliament at the last election because Labour would introduce proportional representation. This was despite my own ideas, which were that once Tony Blair had got all the mileage he could out of the Libs he would drop them - which, as far as I can see, has turned out to be the case.

When I stood as a 'paper candidate' in the local elections I offered to write my manifesto, but was persuaded that 'The Party's' manifesto would do. This left me wondering what the hell we did with ourselves in the local branches, and upon analysis I came to the conclusion that we hung about waiting for Paddy Ashdown to tell us what to think. Since I had joined in politics thinking it might be a creative process this was rather a disappointment - I had got the idea we might try to 'talk' with (as opposed to 'to') the public about real issues and get real opinions, and somehow filter these back to Parliament. But I begin to think politics doesn`t work that way. It is more like selling cans of beer..........

So part of my manifesto might be that I have no specific ideas of my own, but would like to try to relay to Parliament the ideas of my constituents - at least to get the feel of what the people in the street want and try to find out if and how it might be achieved. A kind of 'democracy', if that is the right word.

All very simple stuff, really, but apparently beyond the capabilities of politicians and politics.


I WROTE ABOUT A landlord recently who had somehow got caught up in a wrangle with the council, his tenant, the Public Protection Department and a selection of other people who might or might not be part of a 'gang' who deal in property and council contracts. Nothing was quite clear, even though circumstantial evidence seemed to point not so much to mismanagement as to corrupt dealings.

I now have another little snippet. In the run-up to the negotiations there was only one property dealer awaiting the outcome of the proceedings, and that one had been advised that the landlord would not be willing to deal until this matter had been settled. The landlord, thinking at the last moment that this dealer could possibly be part of the team and would therefore try to make the outcome as bad as possible thereby forcing a sale, decided that the best way of minimising his influence would be to tell him that if the negotiations went well he would be in a position to deal, but otherwise not. Then, after the negotiations he emailed the property dealer again telling him that things had not gone very well so it would not be quite as easy to deal.....however, he said, if you would tell me your interest (short-term gain, long-term gain, etc) 'I will try to work something out for you`.

It is now two weeks later, and the property dealer has gone into email silence.


Yet more Southwark.

THE TORIES LEFT behind them a piece of legislation that the present government are unlikely to alter. It is the concept of 'right to buy'. I am not sure what my feelings are about this, but I do believe that Southwark does not like it at all, and will do anything in their power to avoid clinching a right-to-buy sale. I expect the reason they would give publicly would be something about protecting people from their own folly by replacing it with Southwark`s folly.

A friend of mine has been trying to buy her exceptionally pleasant Edwardian right-to-buy flat from the councdil for a few years now, hampered by a lawyer`s recommendation that she should not buy it until it is in perfect condition - something I think impossible given Southwark`s building skills.

So she keeps on almost buying, but never actually doing so.

Periodically, men come from the council to look at the state of the place and then promise to come back next week and fix everything but never do, and on one occasion someone actually named a day and time - but they didn`t turn up. I also notice that she might have a few things of interest to junk and antique dealers, so dare I suggest.........

Then the other day she told me the council had come along to fix the whole building - and they did everything except her bit!

early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.

Early Other News essays.

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.

The Soup Designer`s Handbook.

London Journey - a trip from Docklands through Beckenham and back to Docklands.

Friday Woodworkers.

Episode 17.

(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).

Progress is slow but we`re still moving on.

We are still redesigning The Other News From England.

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.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

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.

Cartoons and graphics.

drawings click here.

sheet music click here.


(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. 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.



Last week but two 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".

The Health Service.


(see last week).

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 fuill 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.

Unions and Work.

PIPS Alternative disco.

(held over again.)

These people keep springing up and then disappearing again. They have used a selection of names, but the people always seem to be the same. They are a disco without smoke, alcohol or drugs, and serve refreshments (probably very healthy, macrobiotic, veggy, etc) and dance to a wide range of types of music - including "classical", I am told. Sometimes they go to the Bonnington Cafe afterwards. Also, they occasionally turn up at a LETSSwing gig as a dancing group, and make the dancing a great deal more fun.

Saturdays 7-10pm , 6 March, 3 April, 8th May, at The Contact Centre, 60 Hambolt Rd., London SW4. (10 mins from Clapham Common tube stn. or buses 137, 35, 37. For info ring Kathy Hughes 0181 671 7300. They would like more participants.


A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email

8- or more- track tape recorder. email

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

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.

That`s all this week folks