12th. June 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.
This Saturday - most of LETSwing - Hanna Heissenbuttel (excellent singer and guitar), Mark Treasure bass, Gabriele Gad piano, Hugh Harris saxophone. Old-fashioned, quiet, melodic, thoughtful, jazz and pop - standards and own material. Good standard of musicianship, despite the condition of the Bonnington piano.
Bonnington cafe is a communally owned cafe in Vauxhall. 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 overall result is relaxed and pleasing.
The cafe gets very full - especially when there is jazz.
Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 UK. Near Vauxhall underground and mainline station, and many buses. Booking is difficult.
FOR A YEAR OR TWO NOW I have been going to meetings designed to get some economic justice into the world (the objective still seems distant). It has been an interesting experience because it has shown me an awful lot about people, but it has also been an interesting experience because it has shown me a lot about economics - and in particular the bit I am told they do not teach at the London School of Economics - the bit about money beiong created from nothing by the banks, and interest being charged on it from the moment it is created. This might be seen as harmless enough, which indeed it would be but for the fact that so many people take money seriously. They give it a 'real' value - so do I, despite not wanting to. Not only do the banks do this, but they lend money to the state in this way and start charging interest on it immediately it is issued (write themselves an income, one might say), and they lend twenty or more times the amount they have deposited, thus guaranteeing bank failure in the event of the public panicking about their savings not being safe and withdrawing cash.
I have tried to find out what the rules are under which banks are allowed to do this, but have so far failed - maybe because they make them up themselves, but possibly more because they are a secret. However, one rule seemed to me to be certain, and that would be that the banks would not be able to just issue money for themselves to fritter. That is, they would only be able to create money to issue to clients. This would mean that they would be issuing themsleves an income in the form of interest by lending you or I money, and as the interest would have to come out of the money lent to us or from someone else's borrowings they would between the lot of them end up with all the electronic money originally issued as loans in their own electronic coffers - after we had all briefly used it. That is, the banks will always own everything unless it be something that is no longer mortgaged (the mysteries of mortgages in that sense I have yet to understand).
When there is a 'recession' the economy suddenly goes dead. Nobody wants to buy anything or spend any money, and the whole thing deadlocks. The banks cannot lend money to people because they are too scared of not being able to pay it back, 'enterprise' grinds to a halt, and the banks find themselves needing a source of income. The easiest thing for a bank to do at this point is to start calling in overdrafts, which they can then spend on directors' fees and shareholder's dividends, but the overdrafts have been taken by companies and individuals who at this point cannot pay them back. The banks force them into liquidation, and when they can find no other companies or individuals to bankrupt they start sacking their own staff. This makes them 'efficient', but leaves them with fewer customers because the bulk of them have gone bust, so they have to sack a few more people.......and so on.
(I have tried to clarify here why and how the banks behave like thieves once a recession sets in - they can't help it. I hope my message has got across, because it could be any one of us who becomes a bank victim at almost any moment).
Financial crisis, I believe, is roughly where we are now, but we have not yet quite reached the point of recession. How long that will take I do not know. Although there are substantial numbers of unemployed (and arguably unemployable) people about, there are also enough consumers to keep things going.
But what are they buying? Are they wasting most of the resources?
King Henry the 6th.part 1 Act 4.
Paris. A room of state in the palace.
Enter King, Gloster, Exeter, York, Suffolk, Somerset, Winchester, Warwick, Talbot, the Governor of Paris and nameless others.
Lord Bishop, put the crown on his head.
God save king Henry the sixth.
Now, governor, take your oath.
Governor of Paris kneels and declares allegiance.
Exit governor and his train(!)
Enter Sir John Falstofe.
SIR J. F.:
(To king) Dear Sir, I came for the coronation, but Duke of Burgundy gave me this letter to give to you.
You bounder Sir! You ran away in battle and I am tearing off your garter. The French outnumbered us ten to one and you ran off. You're a coward (etc).
Yes, he really did let us down - didn't even behave like a commoner.
This guy's a complete failure as a knight of the garter. He should be disallowed. He's completely let the side down, and now he's pretending to be a gentleman.(!)
Right. You are no longer a knight of the garter. Please leave these premises, and do not return if you value your life.
Now let's have a look at that letter.
GLOSTER (looking at letter):
'Ello 'ello, what's all this about then? He tells us he is now in Charles's gang, the treacherous git. Can this really be so?
What? My Uncle is in revolt?
He is. He's now your enemy.
Is that the worst thing in this letter? (one didn't expect a king to be able to read for himself - that would be too much for him, and would move some power away from certain others).
That's all he says.
Then how about you dealing with him, Talbot? Good idea?
It is a good idea, but I can't do it.
The get some soldiers and go for it. Show him what we think about someone who joins another gang.
I'm off, sir, hoping that you may see your enemies confused.
Enter Vernon and Bassett (these are not sweet manufacturers, but some other people).
VERNON AND BASSETT (both):
I want to fight.
YORK AND SOMERSET (both): He is my servant. Please listen to him.
Please - let them speak. Why do you two suddenly want to go into combat? And who would you fight with?
VERNON AND BASSETT (both, each about the other):
'Im, sir, 'e done me wrong.
Before I answer, I would like to know what has happened.
On the channel ferry coming over, he pointed to the rose I wear, and was insulting to it, telling me that it represented the dishonesty and general degeneracy of my master. I therefore wish to take up arms against him(!)
(the same thing the other way round).
Please, Som., can we not cut out the malice?
However hard you try to conceal it, York, your malice will come out.
You bloody maniacs! Pull yourselves together my cousins, and be at peace.
Let this matter be tried by combat, and then you will easily be able to command a peace.
It's a fight solely between the two of us, so we should decide it between the two of us.
There is my pledge. Accept, it, Som.
Just go back to the beginning.
Confirm it, my honorable lord.
(I have lost track, so am having to quote almost exactly the original until I once again understand the plot).
Confound your strife! The pair of you should be bloody well ashamed of yourselves, disturbing the peace and upsetting everybody! And as to you lords, may I suggest we take a peaceful course and ignore these shit-stirrers?
You're upsetting the lad again. Please leave it out and behave like grown-ups.
Now look, you lot. stop fighting amongst yourselves and be friends. We are in a fickle country, and the French if they once see us quarrelling amongst ourselves will take advantage of the situation and rebel. Besides, we'd all look such bloody idiots if we lost France that way.
(putting on a red rose)
Besides, who would be foolish enough to suppose that if I wear this rose I am more favourable to one than the other of these two? They are both my kinsmen and I love them both. They may upbraid me with the crown, because the king of Scots is crowned. But use your discretion. We came here in peace, so let us continue that way. York, you can be regent in these parts of France, and you Somerset assemble the troops and go happily forth to vent your anger on your enemies. The rest of us will return to Calais and take the ferry to England, from where I hope to hear of your victories against Charles, Alencon, and that lot.
(Flourish. Exit King, Glos, Som., Winch., Suffolk and Bassett.)
EARL OF WARWICK:
That was a good speech the king made.
Yes it was, but I still don't like it. He wore the badge of Somerset.
So what? I don't suppose he means anything by it.
And if I thought he did? But let the matter rest. We have other things to do.
(exit York, Warwick and Vernon).
You did well there to keep you trap shut, because I think if they had realised what rancour you feel we would have all hell let loose at us. But, you know, any fool can see that this dischord, this jostling for positions, amongst us can lead in the end to distaster and confusion.
More next week.
THIS WEEK'S LOCAL newspaper carries a story about a fence which blew over into a man's garden. The fence belonged to the council, and so he contacted them, but of course they did nothing about it - they failed, as they habitually do, to even respond to his letter. He tried other methods, but none worked, and eventually after several months the local paper concerned made enquiries and got a promise out of somebody on the council that some action would be taken - and so a photograph of the man and the fence hit the headlines this week.
Those of us who live in London know that nothing at all will happen beyond that point, as we have all tried various things to get the local council to do something about something, but the reason is of more interest than the effect to me. I suspect that what is going on is that as politicians know nothing about economics (except how to feather their own nests), they have been taken in by the notion that you can't just go on employing people until you have all the necessary people to do the job in hand, and that in fact things like councils are more efficient if kept very short of funds (for we do, indeed, know how much resources they can waste, and how many internal fiddles are possible).
The strategy for putting this idea into practice (regular cutbacks) seems to have started with Thatcher (it wouldn't have taken a genius to know that there was plenty of latitude for cutting back at that time), but which has continued ever since in a mindless manner, resulting in a state of affairs where there are insufficient people doing the jobs that need doing, and where it would be expedient for a tory government not to get elected until the mess is sorted out by some other party.
The difficulty now is that we have that other party, and they are trying to be a copy of the Tory party with a Labour label, and in order to achieve this end they will continue to mindlessly cut back. Cutting back of itself may well achieve nothing at all, for a number of reasons, except a decline in effectiveness. Furthrermore, it will not 'save money' because money is not, as the banks would like us to believe, a finite resource, but one which can be and is enlarged and reduced to fit prevailing circumstances. It is not even a fixed number of tokens of exchange which can move about between people and which represent x amount of somebody's time, or y amount of fuel - aside from about 1% of the money in circulation which is actual coins and banknotes, the rest is just cheques, electronic transfers and promises made against nothing - not even a few bits of gold.
So, the decision to be made may well not be where to direct scarce resources but how to provide money to who for what. British banks are licensed to issue money to the public in the form of loans which immediately bear interest. They issue the money from thin air, as far as I am able to work out - that is, there is no money until they say it exists by giving you an overdraft. This theoretically means there is no limit to the amount that can be issued. The result of this practice may well be that the people who get the vast bulk of the wealth of this country will be (a) bankers, (b) other people with no tangible product, and not the persons who are needed to answer letters and mend fences for the local populace, who in this transaction might well be thought of as the modern equivalent of cannon-fodder and therefore be considered not to be people who warrant such spoiling.
Aside from the pensioners, who represent a very large group of voters (and many of whom will also be of the cannon-fodder class anyway), these people will have been the ones who voted the present government to power - and who are now looking very disappointed. It is quite likely they will also be the voters who oust them at the next election if they cannot get the banks under control, learn something about economics and hire some people to get the jobs done.
(Some readers will remember a time when it was possible to write to the local council, have one's letter read by someone who understands it, and receive a tolerably intelligent reply, followed on occasions by appropriate action).
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.