15th May 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.)
There are some much earlier Other News on this site. Click below.
early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.
Click here for an email that arrived in January concerning a proposed reasoned approach to this tricky subject
Nothing much has come to light this week worth talking about. Sorry.
THIS SATURDAY: LETSwing - quiet old-fashioned pop and jazz. The hat will go round.
Bonnington cafe is a communally owned cafe in Vauxhall where a great many interesting things happen. The atmosphere is somewhat Bohemian, friendly, educated, and much wine (bought from the corner shop across the road) seems to get drunk. Good quality vegetarian. Cheap. The only lighting is usually candles stuck in wine bottles, and the furniture is a collection of odds and sods that people have thrown out.
The cafe gets very full.
Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 UK. Near Vauxhall underground and mainline station, and many buses. Booking is difficult.
King Henry the 6th.part 1 continued.
London. Parliament. Voluntary. Enter King Henry, Exeter, Gloster, Warwick, Somerset, Suffolk, Bp. of Winchester, Richard Plantagenet, other people without names. Gloster offers to put up a bill (I think this means he wishes to offer a bill to Parliament) but B. Winchester snatches it and tears it up.
(This sounds very much like a story I once heard about a masonic solicitor).
Coming along with political pamphlets, eh? Be spontaneous like the rest of us, so that we have a chance of answering you on even terms.
Presumptuous git! If we weren't in this house I'd thump you. Don't imagine I can't describe your crimes without the pamphlet. You are a pernicious and pestiferous usurer (this was intended as an insult), perverse, and far too confident for such a prat. You are also treacherous and tried to get me killed. Anyway, I think if the king knew what you have in mind he might well feel considerable malice against you.
You're wrong. Lords, please listen. If I were all these things he says I am, how could I be so poor and continue to not seek promotion? He's just a control freak who wants to be the only person with a valid opinion, and he wants sole access to the king (so they didn't have democracy after all). I am just as good as the next m...
As good? You're just the bastard son of my grandfather.
(I believe this was an insult at that time)
On the other hand, what are you? You're trying to be king.
Am I not the Lord Protector, saucy priest? (sic)
And am I not a prelate of the church (a prelate is some sort of managing director position)
Yes, and using it to thieve.
You're only reverent as part of your work, not as part of your life.
I'll ask the pope to remedy this.
Earl of Warwick:
Off you go then.
Earl of Somerset:
It's your duty to put up with it.
Earl of Warwick:
Yes. Make sure nobody overbears the bishop.
Earl of Somerset:
I think he should start to behave like a man of god.
Earl of Warwick:
I think he should show some humility.
Earl of Somerset:
Earl of Warwick:
Whether he's holy or not, isn't he protector to the king?
R. Plantagenet (aside):
I can see I need to keep my trap shut in case someone says I am speaking out of order, or would give that bishop a right bollocking.
Being at each other's throats is not an ideal way of running a country. Even at my tender age I can tell that. You need to get to love each other. It doesn't help our commonwealth.
(a noise within 'Down with the tawny-coats')
K. Hen. continues:
What's that row?
Earl of Warwick:
An uproar brought about by the Bishop's supporters, I think.
Those bunch of hooligans representing the Bishop of W and the Duke of Glos have started a big fight, throwing stones at each other and cracking each other's heads open. They've smashed a few windows and we have been forced to shut our shops. Please do something quickly!
Enter nameless servants fighting, with heads bleeding.
Please stop that fighting with stones. Uncle Gloster, please explain this.
First unnamed servant:
If we stop using stones, we'll use our teeth instead.
Do what you dare. We are just as resolute.
(The fight continues.)
Duke of Gloster:
Everyone from my house stop fighting.
You are so important that we will not put up with these insults to you. Even our families will fight on your behalf.
...and the very parings of our nails shall pitch a field when we are dead. (god knows what that means - ed.)
(They start fighting again).
Please you lot, if you really think I'm that great, stop fighting for a while.
I really find this all rather upsetting. I mean, can't you see I'm crying? Please stop. You're being bloody pathetic, and if churchmen are hooligans there is every reason to suppose the populace will follow suit.
If you two don't intend to kill the king, cut it out. Survey the damage you have already done (including murder), and then be at peace. Please.
He must submit before I can leave the matter alone.
(He's definitely being cast as the villain at the moment.)
My compassion for the king means that I must stop. Otherwise, I'd give 'im a right drubbing long before he did the same to me.
Winchester. Please notice that Glos has changed his expression from one of anger whilst you have not. Why?
Here, Winch., shake. (offers his hand)
Fie Uncle Beaufort (another name, same person), I've heard you preaching about the wickedness of malice. Please practice what you preach.
Sweet king. The Bishop is normally kind. Please cut it out Winchester. Does a child need to tell you what to do?
OK Duke, I'll return the friendship. Here's my hand.
D. Glos. (aside):
But I'm afraid it looks to me like all we have here is a flag of truce. This matter is not yet finished.
B. Winch. (aside):
Thank god for that. Away, my masters and join in friendship like the lords have done.
I'll go to First Aid.
So will I.
Well I'm off for a beer, and see how that makes me feel.
Exit servants, Mayor, others.
Please take this scroll, king, which Richard Plantagenet has asked us to show you (I think)
Well done, Warwick. I second that. King, you would do well to do Richard right, particularly in the light of those things I have told you about those occasions at Eltham Palace.
Those occasions were forced upon us, and therefore I think Richard should be restored to his former glory. (like some old painting)
Yes. That way, there will be some compensation for the wrongs done to his father.
As will the rest, if I have my way.
Tell you what, declare allegiance to me and I'll throw in the House of York where your family come from.
Thank you, I'll take that, and crawl and scrape for it.
Right. I crown you Duke of York. Rise.
May all my foes fall in my path. I am on your side.
Welcome high prince, the mighty Duke of York!
E. Somerset (aside):
It will probably be best for you, king, to be crowned in France, where people seem to be on your side, and where the opposition is ineffective.
If you say so.
The ships are waiting.
Trumpet voluntary and all exit except D. Exeter.
Well, they've gone off arm in arm, but it is obvious this strife which has just expressed itself will continue, and will eventually end up with the duke of Monmouth being king and this present King Henry will lose all. I hope I'm dead by the time that happens.
One of the papers this week carried a headline saying that a member of the opposition party in the House of Commons will attack the government's record (which is exactly the same is his own party's) record on pensions! I suppose this is what politicians do when they have no power, knowing that the electorate don't remember anything for long enough to know what hot air they are being given. It would, however, be nice to find that the socialist government with an eye to business the electorate thought they were electing should at last begin to be just that.
Last election, the Labour party knew they could get the traditional labour voters who voted out of habit (for a name rather than a philosophy, for they don't seem to have one) on their side, but to ensure a majority they needed to woo the more right wing element. It was a stroke of luck for them that the Tory strategies of the previous 18 or so years were beginning to show cracks on a major scale, and so it was quite easy to sell the right wing voters on the idea that the Labour party might be able to do something constructive. The problem has always been one of delivering, and of course our system of politics does not allow of any major changes in a short span of time, so that the job of mending the damage would take much more like twenty years than the five a government gets, which is something of a disincentive to trying. This government appears to have opted for lowering taxes for the very rich in the hope of encouraging more commercial predators to nest in our shores, and has largely ignored the needs of the majority (as the Tories did before them) as a result.
There is probably no other country in Europe where people who are considered to be below the breadline are expected to pay income tax, and there is probably no other country in Europe where the very rich have so much done in their favour.
Still, I daresay from a financial point of view the politicians and lawyers will do quite well personally out of it.
THERE IS A BILL going through parliament at this moment which seeks to curb the democratic power of the internet - the power it gives you and your friends and me if we feel like it to organise. The argument is that the internet gives huge potential for people to organise mischief. It does. It also gives people huge potential to counter those who wish to make mischief (sometimes, I'm sure you will agree, the mischief-makers will be governments). It is the first time in history that the populace generally has had the chance to organise without the supervision of control freaks and politicians, and the control freaks and politicians are terrified of it and trying to do something about it.
Getting back to the bill. The minister responsible for the bill is Alan Clarke.The bill has in it a clause defining as a serious crime "....conduct by a large number of persons in pursuit of a common purpose". This innocent-sounding phrase means any group of people - using the internet or not - if they are all in agreement about wanting to do something and actually try to work out how to do it, will be, in British law, criminals.
Of course, this will make political parties criminals, but then we always knew that - it is just a question of formalising things.
During the past twenty or so years, politicians have gradually whittled away at the public services until they barely work at all, and then farmed them out to private operators who quite naturally cannot make them work properly either because not only are they charging less than it would cost the government to do the job but they also try to make a profit for the directors and shareholders. The result of this, from the public's point of view, can be seen everywhere in the form of a system of social security we have all paid for which no longer works properly, a housing benefit system which cannot deliver, and a taxation system which doesn't keep proper records and pursues people for tax they have paid years ago because they have never had the records passed to their firm from the previous firm who dealt with the matter (coupled with the collapse of the legal aid scheme this puts the firms who do this work in a position to rook the public out of millions).
The people who feel this most are people who work very hard for very little money, or those who try to receive welfare payments but often fail to get them (in America they would be unashamedly called 'the poor'). The fear this collapsing system puts into people is often so great that they cannot organise themselves sufficiently well to get out of the position of dependancy and/or poverty they have got themselves into, and thus the whole logic of destroying the infrastructure to make the country more 'lean and efficient' (as they once called it) actually makes it flabby, inefficient, in some areas complacent, and at best only passable.
Should the politics of this country be for people or for bankers? We need to decide this.
I SAT ABOUT OUTSIDE a friend's house waiting for him to come home. It occurred to me that although I would like something to while away the time I might be better off not doing so, since I only live this life once (those who believe in more than one life note I said 'this life') and it is passing at the same speed whatever use I make of it. I will not have this moment ever again, although I might at some stage experience it again as a memory. I cannot go back and fill in the space with something more satisfying than was actually there at a later stage when I have a good idea.
And I thought: I don't want to kill time. I want to use it.
But it made no difference. I was still wasting it.
So I went home and wasted time there instead.
AND WHILST ON THIS THEME OF THE BEST USE OF LIFE: In conversation with a friend I remarked that our society was becoming so divided that if we are not very careful we will run into a revolution. He agreed.
'But I hope not', he said. 'I would much prefer evolution to revolution.'
But the fact is we don't necessarily have the option. There are not necessarily enough people in favour of evolution to stop a revolution (even though there might be).
Recently in this country, an individual who shot a burglar who had burgled hundreds of times before received the support of a huge number of people (quite possibly the majority of British people), and the reason I am talking about this is that although it is unlikely this burglar was thinking about anyone other than himself, not a few people would argue that burglary is a political act designed to redress the balance between the haves and have nots (it's wee bit shakey, but they do try). So from the one point of view the burglar was the thin end of the wedge of revolution (but we know that such people rarely have the necessary intellect to instigate revolution), whilst from the other point of view the supporters of the man who shot the burglar are making a just proclamation against the invasion of people's private lives and homes (and those people likewise are unlikely to have the necessary intellect).
Which side of this difficult juxtaposition we are on is not at all clear for a great many people, I believe, and is certainly not at all clear for me. The thing that stops most of us from being thieves is compassion for others, but I am sure most people will realise that there are lives in which the concept of compassion cannot exist because the person living that life has never experienced it. There have been, and probably still are, childhoods in which the only obedience a child gives is given out of terror instead of love, and I am told there are certainly lives in prisons led in this way.
Without experiencing it, compassion can mean nothing at all. And there you have a psychopath - a person who is so frightened they can only think of themselves.
But I still just about lean to the defense of the private person and their home rather than the psychopathic burglar, having been on the receiving end, and I still believe the majority of people in this country would do likewise - even if only out of compassion for the burgled.
What we could do to improve the discomfort we have as a result of living in a society riddled with crime is to start giving those we find unacceptable our compassion. But that would be a very tall order.
ACCESS TO INFORMATION is a pop subject amongst politicians. In Southwark, the council sticks up a self-righteous notice on the library noticeboards proclaiming freedom of information about Southwark's activities, and offering a leaflet to anybody interested. Some information has to be kept secret (personal details of private individuals, and presumably all the fiddles) but the rest is available - in theory - and a list of those things not kept secret is available in all public buildings run by the council.
Confidence in the fact that nobody believes them , however, has led to a situation where under normal circumstances nobody can find the list of categories of information available. The other day this peace was broken when I persisted, so that when I had stirred up a few of the management team in the library I was offered a thin document offering me some 30 or so very dry statistics, but as far as I remember none of the stuff the public are likely to be interested in, such as who gets paid how much for their particular part in this cokeyed organisation, although there are one or two very general areas where the information is only available for two weeks after the date of publication - perhaps the more important things one ought to know about.
However, if you are disatisfied with the service or information you get from Southwark you may contact Mr. David Mearns (of whom I have written before) who will tell you just what you can do. His number was given as 020 7525 7163. It might work.
Click here for an email that arrived in January 2000 concerning a proposed reasoned approach to this tricky subject
This website is about accounting investigations and fiddles. If you like to look at financial scandals (both hidden and public) this might be worth a look. I have not been there myself, but the books produced by these people, although difficult to follow, cover a lot of mysterious ground.
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. http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~bamr1
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, freemasons....you 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 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).
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.
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 email@example.com
8- or more-track tape recorder. email firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Even better if you print the date of the article.