The Other News From England.

3 April 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.

There are some much earlier Other News on this site. Click below.

early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.

The Bonnington Cafe Struggle settled.

Bonnington Cafe have now (surprisingly quickly) resolved their difficulties and re-opened Thursday 23 March, with everybody pooling their resources for the catering, and LETSwing (new spelling to avoid the idea of being 'Let Us Swing') 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, then more LETSwing Saturday 1st April (April Fool's Day, see?). Sat 8th it's Phil doing some folk songs with a guitar.

Interestingly, the off-license across the road from the Bonnington celebrated when they re-opened because they sell so much wine to Bonnington visitors.

This week there should be a German team in there for a few hours one day making a video about LETS.

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


At the Forum for Economic Reform in the House of Lords (a public meeting) an accountant told us about how creditors force people into selling their property badly to clear debts, and how (not surprisingly) it would not be difficult to know who was going to buy it or even (if you are a cynic like me) who persuaded the bank to foreclose so that the property would be sold off cheap.

The normal background to a bank's foreclosure when it happens is that the bank just pulls the rug from under someone's feet rather than that the person has in any way been dishonorable or dishonest. The person is often a trader who has used his home as a security to borrow trading capital - imagining a bank to be considerate and honorable when there is no evidence to suggest that this is really so (there have been, of course, cases where the person's difficulty has been deliberately arrived at - as in cases where a group of people get together to form a limited liability company and then milk it until it collapses).

Interestingly, the Inland Revenue sometimes force sales over matters of income tax and things like that - not always because anything is truly due, because civil servants make mistakes like anyone else - but once they get the bit between their teeth they don't seem able to let it go, thinking it easier to get the matter into court even if it does bankrupt somebody than to bother to try to resolve it (but of course it is very easy for someone to make a profit out of the situation, so there can always be a bit of secret networking involved).

He suggested that the law should be changed so that an independant assessor would decide what the assets being forced under the hammer should fetch, and suggested, when a member of the audience asked why such a service should not be publicly funded, that in the light of experiences with the Court of Protection (civil servants) the assessor should be private rather than a civil servant.

Good point, but there are just a few things to be thrashed out regarding the reasoning behind this idea. First, a selection of functions originally performed by civil servants were privatised under Thatcher and since, and they are run even less effectively than they were before, and secondly there is the possibility possibly of a compromise position. For persons who cannot afford lawyers we have Legal Aid, which pays private solicitors to represent them, and there is no particular reason why this facility should not be extended to assessors.

Furthermore, just to make the pitch a tiny bit less sloping against the debtor, it might be possible to have a legal requirement that the debtor may choose who the independent assessor is. So the bank (or whoever) opts for liquidation of assets, but the debtor chooses who will make sure that they fetch the right price.

Now we might consider other ways of doing this, and ask a few questions. Is it, for instance, a good idea to allow banks to lend people money with the provision in the conditions that they can reclaim it on demand and immediately (which is what usually happens when people are made bankrupt)? Should the bank not be obliged to share the risk the trader is taking to some extent? After all, they cannot themselves trade in present circumstances without charging interest on borrowed money, despite the massive ooprtunities in their favour provided by the license to create money out of thin air (an issue that needs airing because if they can't manage even to carry such tiny risks it suggests that banks must be some of the least well-run businesses in the world).


Nothing left to write about now that Summerhill has resolved it's dispute. The question of whether there ever was a dispute in the first place might occupy a certain amount of space. As far as I can make out, the difficulty was that Summerhill cannot be Summerhill if lessons are compulsory, and that the school inspectors by requiring certain things were in effect requiring compulsory lessons. The children and staff of Summerhill argued that the 'target' aimed at by the inspectors could be reached by other means, but the problem remains that school inspectors do not appear to be equipped to understand that the school is about life itself rather than pieces of paper that say you might be able to do something.


WELL, I DIDN'T get any emails to say people could not log in after last week's article. Freemasons featured prominently in the last two or three issues. If you want to see what was said, click 'index of earlier issues' above.

Labour Relations.

(held over from last week)

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.

Joe Punter's Shakespeare.

King Henry the Sixth (part 1).

Main parts to be found under 'dramatis personae' in the original version. This being the only bit normal persons can understand I will not write them out again for you. RTFB.


A funeral - a long time ago. Band playing Pavanne very slow and sombre. Punters standing around looking lost: A selection of pompous and self-important people (names will emerge as we go along) and some others (who don't have names because they are so unimportant). It is the funeral of King Henry the fifth.

DUKE OF BEDFORD - uncle to the king, and regent of France

(prodding corpse): Poor sod's dead! Start mourning.

DUKE OF GLOSTER - Uncle to the king, and 'protector' (looking panicked):

Now we've got nobody stupid enough to risk their lives in battle for us.

DUKE OF EXETER - Thos. Beaufort, great uncle to king:

Instead of mourning him like this why don't we mount an attack on the French?

BISHOP OF WINCHESTER - Henry Beaufort great-uncle to king:

Gloster, it's your job to do such things. Anyway, your wife is proud, and she intimidates you.

(There is a lot of obscure reference in Shakespeare).


(insulted): Anyway, you're no religious man. You only go to church to look at choirboys and pray against your foes.


(irritated): Hey! What's all the row? We should be working towards a unified and workable solution to the country's difficulties, not figthing a civil war.

(things probably used to escalate much faster at that time than they do now, and they didn't have the Euro to argue about at this stage)

Enter a (nameless) messenger.


Dear Sirs, I hope you are well. I've just come from France where we have lost much territory. Rouen, Poictiers, Orleans, etc. etc.


What! Are you serious?


Paris too? If he (pointing to corpse) were alive he would go and take them back. Perhaps he will wake up now and get on with the job? (Corpse fails to stir).


(needing to say something, however pointless): How did it happen?


Lack of money. The soldiers don't trust you lot. Some also believe that you might obtain peace by talking to people now that you are grown up a bit. Have you no pride?


It's enough to make you cry.


I'm regent of France. Sod this mourning caper - I'm off to France to give 'em a good drubbing.

Enter another messenger.


Dear Sirs, I hope you are well. The French are rebelling, and have crowned Charles in Rheims. That bastard of Orleans is with him, and Reignier (Duke of Anjou) and Duke of Alencon are also on his side.

(I expect some of you will remember games like this when you were kids).


What'll we do about this?


Go and cut their throats.


In my mind I am already there and doing that.

Enter a third messenger! ('struth!)


Dear Sirs, I hope you are well. I've come to tell you of Lord Talbot's failure against the French.


So he's come unstuck too.


There was a huge fight after he and his men were surrounded by two or three times as many French, and though they all fought like dogs Sir John Falstof let them down, and then a Walon stuck a spear in Talbot's back. The Dauphin should be pleased with him.


Whilst we've been poncing about here Talbot is getting killed for want of support?


No. Just a prisoner - like some other persons of similar class - but those without names have been killed.


I'll kill the bloody lot of 'em to get Talbot back.


You'll need to. The English everywhere in France are feeling defeated, and threatening to mutiny.


Remember we have sworn to either defeat the Dauphin or to capture him and use him as a slave.


I do. I'll prepare.

Bedford exits.


Right. Meanwhile, I'll go to the Tower of London and see what reinforcements we can raise, and then make young Henry king.



(slyly, crafty): They've all go something to do, so whilst they are busy I will steal the young uncrowned king from Eltham Palace and thereby gain power.


End of Scene 1.


In France. In front of Orleans.

Sound of bugle. Enter Charles, Alencon, Reignier, and some soldiers enjoying a bit of marching in time to a drummer.


This is bloody good. The English are as good as defeated, and just create a bit of a skirmish once a month. Nice here in Orleans, isn't it?


They need something to eat before they die.


Let's wipe em out.


Sound the alarm. We will rush them. Anyone can kill me if I don't see this through.

The alarm sounds and the French are given a good drubbing. A great many people without names are killed.

Enter Charles, Alencon and others.


You bunch of bloody wankers. Christ, I could've seen 'em off by myself.


The English are bloody tough - and desperate.


They are indeed tough. Ten times as tough as us lot.


Let's leave this town. I know them of old. They are very determined, and will just fight to the last man if they must.


They behave like clocks who will not stop until time ends. I'll come with you.



Enter that Bastard of Orleans.

B. Of O. (from now on BO):

Where's the Dauphin? I've news for him.


Hello BO.


I've found this girl who seems to be infallible and says she can drive the English out. Shall I call her in?


OK, but before we do that: If you, Reignier, pretend to be me and ask a few questions we will soon know if she is infallible.


Enter BO and JOAN LA PUCELLE (the alleged magician).


I gather you can fix everything for us?


Stop fooling about, Reignier. I came to talk to the Dauphin.


Straight in there!


I am a shepherd's daughter. An angel appeared and made me into someone who can save France, telling me that I must go out and do it. Forget that I'm a woman. I can fight like a yob of the first order.


Amazing! Battle with me, and if you win we shall give it a go.


Right. My sword is damned sharp.


OK. Go for it. I'm not scared of a woman.


and I'm not scared of men.

They fight. Joan wins.


I submit. You're a right Amazon.


Mary mother of Jesus helps me. I couldn't do this by myself.


Given the circumstance, I love you. Will you help?


I'm not into romance. How about seeing the job through first and then deciding what my payment should be?

CHARLES (obviously well impressed):

I am your slave.


He don't 'alf bullshit when he's with a young woman.


There must be something more to this than just a bit of talk. He hasn't enough words to go on discussing things this long.


Shall we disturb them?


He may be well seduced.

REIGNIER: How are you doing there? Are we pulling out of Orleans or not?


Don't be foolish. Never give in till we are all dead. I will be your guard.


What she says goes. Fight on.


I'm flipping amazing and we will win.


Never have I been in love with a more beautiful woman.


Let's get started.


If you can drive them out Madam, you will be handsomely rewarded and immortalised.


Right. Let's go. If she says it will be, so it will be.

All exit.

To be continued.


Since I wrote to my solicitor suggesting that there was the possibility that freemasons had been involved in a certain unsavoury legal matter they have gone dead on me. Hmm....


This week a large collection of eccentrics and less eccentrics (come to think of it, who isn't eccentric, given that being too normal is eccentric?) assembled outside Palmers Green Library in North London to be filmed for a television commercial advertising LETS. Needless to say, the LETS movement cannot afford this, but Year of Promise has for a moment changed things, and WCRS ad agency (who have made some exceptionally clever ads of late) are doing this production for no charge to the LETS's. The ad will only be shown once on Carlton Television, so watch this space for a date if you wish to see it, or go to your local LETS and ask because I am told they will have a copy.

There is also the possibility the ad will be shown in other places from time to time.

The point about LETS for most of us is the phenomenal capacity LETS has for community building. If you are trading with your neighbours you are serving them, and serving people creates goodwill - and of course they will serve you when you need help. You don't need money to do it, and upon considering the subject I am sure you will conclude that most of us have almost nothing individually, but collectively we have everything. Use it.


ONE OF THE THINGS that have become apparent from the study of economics as a group activity is that most of our elected politician s are unlikely to know anything much about the subject.

Although it might be argued that government is largely about economics, this does not mean that people understand the subject. No two economists agree with each other, the vast majority of politicians have never thought about where money comes from or what it means, very few understand that economics is about the distribution of resources and almost nothing to do with personal wealth, and I imagine that less than one percent realise that money only has a value because we perceive it as having one, and that it is issued out of thin air by non-public bodies who immediately start charging interest on it for their own gain. All this can lead to a situation where politicians, believing that they should consult experts on such important matters, put themselves straight into the hands of bankers, who are more likely to be advising for their own gain than for the state's gain.


The last few weeks all housing benefit seems to have stopped coming to my two tenants, putting them in danger of being evicted because I cannot run a house on thin air whatever the goodwill or otherwise I feel towards them. This I presume is because the private firm who have the job of distributing the benefit cannot squeeze another penny of personal gain out of the situation and so there is not much point in going on with the job.

Perfect Thatcherism under a Labour government.


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