The Other News From England.

27 March 2000.

Index of earlier issues - click here.

(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site.)

Old issues.

I have put a couple more old issues (1993) on the site this week.

The Bonnington Cafe Struggle settled.

Bonnington Cafe have now (surprisingly quickly) resolved their difficulties and re-opened this Thursday 23 March, with everybody pooling their resources for the catering, and LETSSwing playing. It was quite an occasion, followed by a surprisingly busy Saturday opening with Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris playing and singing old-fashioned jazz and a great deal of wine drunk.

Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 UK. Near Vauxhall underground and mainline station, and many buses. Booking is difficult.


READING THE FINANCIAL TIMES THIS week I discovered that this country has a governemnt department called the Debt Management Office! This is an office which, despite the fact the government is supposed to represent all of us and ought to be the creater of the money we all use instead of only 3% or so of it, seems to exist to manage the nation's debt to private individuals by issuing government bonds.

Government bonds are pieces of paper or promises issued by the government in exchange for money, which guarantee the person who has lent the money a higher sum at a later date in exchange for their loan - that is, a profit. Fair enough, I am sure you think, and so do I within the context, but it becomes much more interesting to consider in the light of the fact that most money in this country does not exist at all until the banks create it as a debt - that is, they lend money they have not got and immediately start charging interest on it.

It took me a while to get my head round the above realisation when I first found out. It does not seem possible that money can be just created out of thin air, but on reflection where else does it come from? It no longer represents even a known amount of the nation's stored gold reserves (gold anyway not being as useful as steel, but far rarer).

Once you have got your local bank to create the money out of thin air as debt for you, you go along and buy some government bonds, and when they are redeemable (in ten years, say) you get your money back plus a bit more which the government has got from a bank which has created it as debt. Something wrong here, you say. I think so.

British Association for Monetary Reform's site carries more on this subject. Their hyperlink is below under 'the stuff below doesn't often get changed'.


The matter of the state versus Summerhill School was settled this week, with the state conceding that there might be more than one way to run a school, undertaking to return to a normal regime of school inspections (those all schools are submitted to) and only still requiring that some domestic items which the school had already agreed needed attending to should be remedied.

I don't imagine there are many schools in the world where a goodish proportion of the pupils would attend a lengthy court hearing to support their school through the process (I was not there most of the time, but it is quite likely some were also witnesses), and as far as I know there has never before been a democratic school meeting held in one of the Royal Courts of Justice in order that the school's pupils and staff (both past and present) could discuss the finer details of the final agreement between the school and any public body (in this case the Department of Education) before agreeing to it by a vote - the vote, unusually for Summerhill, being unanimously in favour of acceptance. Something in the region of 50 people seemed to be voting. It was an exciting moment - hopefully not just for Summerhill but for democracy and education everywhere.

Mr. Roberts, representing Summerhill as a barrister, was very attuned to the fact that on the one hand he was dealing with some very mature people and on the other he was acting on behalf of some very bright but not legally experienced young people who are used to being able to discuss and negotiate between themselves all matters concerning their lives together, and went to considerable lengths to explain the jargon contained in the agreement without patronising anybody. The school then discussed whether the public should or should not be allowed to attend the meeting (and one member pointed out that traditionally all court rooms are open to the public in the hope that we might get some straight dealing and hoped everyone would consider this fact in their final decision), the vote was carried in favour by a very small margin, and the public (who included the people from the Department of Education who had become such a thorn in the School's side) were invited in. As far as I remember the finer points were discussed at this point, and once they were agreed down to the last detail every Summerhill person voted in favour and a deal was struck between the school and the Department of Education - two minutes before the tribunal were due to return to the bench.

The usher called "the court will rise", everybody (yes) rose and bowed to the panel, who bowed back, counsel for the Department of Education told them an agreement had been reached, implied that a far better understanding of what Summerhill was about now existed in the Department, one young person expressed further anxiety about the finer details, thus revealing his anxiety that the school might be being stitched up in some way, but was reassured, Mr. Roberts then confirmed that the school was unanimous in accepting the agreement, the panel scrutinised the details once more and finally the whole thing was over. There were quite a few tears seen in people of all ages.

Mr. Roberts told us the agreement was unique. No similar agreement had ever been made before regarding a school. The kids were so pleased with him that they invited him to come to a special meeting at the school (this is a considerable compliment from a Summerhillian), and he told them he would bring his son. Compliments flew about everywhere, smiles were everywhere, and hopefully Mr Roberts will have in addition to his fee an enjoyable weekend at some time in the near future.

It's as good as some of the things that happen on LETS.

Last week's report said this:

The school argues that it has a democratic right to conduct itself as it thinks fit, given that both parents and children like it as it is. The Department of Education are trying to force Summerhill to comply with certain standard British educational attitudes - which many readers who bother to think (particularly teachers) will consider impractical, inhuman, counter-productive and untenable.

Various emails came during the ensuing days saying that the Department of Education had immediately tried to go back on their word, and eventually one arrived quoting what I believe to be their press release, which is below:

This is from Robert Powell.

is what you were looking for? it is DfEEs press release. This is the statement sent to me by the DfEE a few minutes ago:-


The Secretary of State and Summerhill School have reached agreement that Summerhill now has acceptable accommodation and health and safety provision, following the improvements made since the 1999 OFSTED report and the Notice of Complaint

Summerhill will encourage pupils to attend lessons and will improve teaching and assessment across the curriculum

OFSTED will continue to inspect Summerhill to ensure that the improvements are maintained.

We said all along that we were not trying to close Summerhill. We have always recognised that as an independent school it has a right to its own philosophy. We simply wanted it to meet the basic minimum standards of accommodation, health and safety, welfare and education that all independent schools must meet by law [Education Act 1996]. Summerhill now accepts this.

The present Notice of Complaint, and Summerhill's appeal against it, have now been withdrawn.

Earlier emails on the subject now appended (I am assuming you will all know that these are a series of emails by the chevrons, and that the first one is at the bottom, traditional email style):

That is interesting, isn't it? It doesn't appear to say anything particularly aggressive, yet someone has perceived it as being so. I suppose it is possible that school inspectors will continue to fail to have any idea what the school is trying to do despite all the opportunities they have had to understand it. It is unlikely to look like a school by comparison with the kind of school they went to, and thereforet must inevitably raise questions.

My two ex-wives and many of my friends went to or still go to state schools and manage to cope, but I will say that the kids who come to me for one-to-one teaching (in the local music school) seem to respond much better to being allowed not to learn (they respond by learning like a maniac!) than the state school kids I have tried to teach. The state-school adults I know mostly seem to recognise the folly of trying to force people to learn things and of packing them into stuffy classrooms in lots of 40 and more to get bored.

It must have been a very interesting experience for the kids.


> (This one is above).

>> Dear all

>> Further to my earlier email (Thursday afternoon).

>> I also gather that Mr. Roberts is called Mr Robertson, so apologies there.

>>I gather from the one Jerry sent that the DE immediately seemed to have gone back on their word (which may well be what was intended). I recall when listening to the details of the agreement a sentence within which might lead to difficulties. It went something like this: " levels of attendance shall not be the only measure of (educational competence?)....." The problem with this sentence is that although it seems to say "we accept that you can become educated other than by going to lessons, or in many ways", it also says (in isolation, anyway) "Levels of attendance is not all we shall measure".

I would greatly appreciate it if anybody could provide me with the exact wording of the Department of Education statement.

>> Not infrequently, amongst the skills barristers are most proud of is the very end of the hearing but I cannot believe that it wasn't largely a struggle between two barristers). By and large, those barristers who are best at conning their opponent are considered to be the best in their job. The most successful barristers (for it is rarely anyone other than a barrister who gets the job) when they get older are able to become judges. It therefore follows that the most likely people to become judges are those who are most likely to be proud of their ability to con people (through the eyes of a Summerhillian, the greatest crooks). People who study it tend to believe our >> legal system doesn't work as well as it might.

>> Yours in my usual cynical mood.



I think we can safely say these people use gm ingredients in their products, as they not bothered to reply to my last email.


IT HAS ALWAYS SEEMED remarkable to me that the only times the Othernews site has become temporarily inaccessible since it began has been those weeks when freemasons have been mentioned. So far, there has always been a simple explanation - a hacker got in and corrupted the server, engineers were working on the server and forgot to do something when rebooting, technical problems at Pipex............every one of them believable. So we shall see again what happens:


Readers are invited to email if they cannot find the articles in question, and I know from past experience a few will email, telephone or write if they cannot reach the site.

(this evening, whilst preparing the Other News for publication, suddenly the mouse stopped working. More interesting was the fact that when I tried to log on using keystrokes the server allowed me to log on but then sezed up. But then I tried another mouse and it worked fine).

Labour Relations.

Goforths emailed about the union's continuing struggle with King County again. Last week's edition gave you their email address and one of their emails. Worth being on the list if you like the idea of watching union activities in the USA and of reading quite nicely written reports (only a few slightly over-the-top bits) of union wranglings with the state.

So many people around the world complained about the state's tactics that the state's email system became jammed up, which may not necessarily be a good thing.

The state have tried a few funny tricks using the courts, apparently in the hope of stopping the public knowing what is going on, but so far the law has ruled against them. The difficulty here for the union movement is that the methods being used on the union side are so powerful that there might be a backlash in the form of the Thatcher attitude of the 1980's: "The unions are too strong. We must destroy them. They represent large numbers of people who will want a fair share - and more - of everything". Be careful you are not too successful too soon, Ray and Kim.


This Honorable Profession.

IT HAS OFTEN STRUCK me as remarkable that a profession corrupt on much the same level as the general criminal world should call itself 'This Honorable Profession'. I suppose it may be by way of compensation: trying to turn themselves into that which they are not by labelling themselves as that which they would like to be rather than that which they evidently are. (I should say here that I do not intend that you should believe that all lawyers are bent - only that conceivably most are, and that all have the opportunity to be - but we all have our weaknesses).

Whilst endeavouring to unravel a bit of chaos that resulted from the actions of certain members of this honorable profession many years ago I was reminded of how the said chaos had come about, and who was involved in the creation of it. The chaos had occurred when a judge (almost certainly a freemason) allowed a young barrister (one who I am told has his office in masonic headquarters in the Strand) and a certain firm of solicitors near the Elephant and Castle (masonic again?) to get away with falsified evidence, wasting much court time, and prompting their witness when she was being cross-examined under oath. There was an awful lot of space for a team of any kind to make a considerable financial gain as a result of the judge's decision - including the judge if he happened to be in some way connected to the team.

I dare say many South London solicitors who are bright enough to have noticed at that time the behaviour of this judge will already know which one I am talking about (assuming they were practicing in the mid-eighties), but in case you don't I will tell you that for a very particlar reason this judge carried a nickname that suggested he was an automatic gaming machine. This nickname was particularly whitty, because not only did it describe your chances of getting a fair and just result, it could also be taken to refer to another characteristic of the judge.

The visiting team (for English law is very similar to a football match in which a referee wearing a clown outfit to distinguish him from the other players blows a whistle from time to time in the wrong place, and who is regularly accused by the spectators of being unable to see the ball, biassed, and the like) opposing this freemasonry objected to their actions only to be told by the judge that (a) he could not question the relationship between a lawyer and his client (when they had asked the witness if she had answered 'I don't know' because her counsel had shaken his head - a thing he had been doing so regularly that it had begun to appear that the witness knew nothing at all - even might have been a dummy only programmed to say one thing - and that the counsel had a cerain nervous disability), and that (b) whilst it was obvious that the evidence presented by the solicitors firm was far from perfect, he was not willing to consider any complaints about it's propriety (there were amongst the papers photcopied signatures attached to documents the originals of which did not exist, for instance, but we have heard this story before in several cases where there is considerable financial gain to be made.).

These highly questionable circumstances ended up with an appeal (of course), which in turn ended up being heard in a court of the Appeal Court in The Strand, with the hearing listed for the wrong court and for the wrong time of day so that it was very difficult for the appellant to attend, but to which the appellant nevertheless managed to bring himself in time, and at which the reviewing judge told the counsel that he should say nothing at all ('just leave this to me', he said, 'I'll see to it for you'), and at which that same reviewing judge refused to hear any evidence against his colleague and disallowed the appeal. Falsified paperwork? He didn't want to know. The judge was so outraged that he forgot to make any effort at all to pretend to be impartial, and the court usher seemed equally outraged that anybody should dare to suggest that a member of his club should be dishonest - a sure sign of something amiss.

The offending counsel is probably a judge by now.

The remarkable thing is that despite all evidence to the contrary we continue to try to believe that when we go to court over a civil matter we have a chance of getting justice.

We might just as well be putting money into a one-armed bandit!




The stuff that doesn`t often get changed now follows:

This website is about the destruction of countryside and agriculture. Worth a visit if you want to find out about how it is thought the British countryside will fair under the ongoing creep of the multinationals.

This website is one to do with monetary reform.The British Association for Monetary Reform. If you are interested in economics it is worth a look.

This is a website about alternative currencies.Might be worth a look to those who have realised that you don't necessarily have to have money as such to be prosperous.

This is a website for something called The Green Guide. I know nothing about it, but am hoping it is something worthy. Please let me know if it is questionable.

This is a site concerned with one of the most unpopular planning decisions ever made in Greater London, the Crystal Palace Complex. It is so stunningly awful that only a handful of people who do not live near it appear to approve, whilst the rest are not entirely uninclined to mention such things as payola, name it! The site belongs to the London Borough of Bromley, but the aggro generated by it and the destruction of amenity caused by it will be almost entirely suffered by residents of adjoining boroughs and not the people of Bromley themselves.

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 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

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.

(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.

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).

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.



In an earlier issue I told you about my feelings regarding Tempo retailers and the Lexmark 3200 printer I bought from them.

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

8- or more-track tape recorder. email

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.

Even better if you print the date of the article.

That`s all this week folks