The Other News From England.

8 January 2001.

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.

Bonnington Cafe and Bonnington Square.

This Saturday Gabriele Gad Piano, Hugh Harris Saxophone - old-fashioned melodic jazz and pop from about 1900 to date by a very experienced duo. Both have played in a selection of well-known British jazz/rock bands. Nearly all material is only part rehearsed and played by ear (with reference to chords) giving that unique sound that once was considered to be what jazz was about. No charge, but the hat goes round.

Bonnington cafe is a communally owned cafe in Vauxhall, Central London. The atmosphere is somewhat Bohemian, international, friendly, educated, and much wine (bought from the corner shop across the road) gets 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. People tend to spend the whole evening over their meal, and engage in discussion with those on other tables, the caterer, the band, passers through......

Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 UK. Near Vauxhall underground and mainline station, buses 185, 36, 2, 88, 322 and others. Booking is difficult.


The whole world criticised the Germans during and after the second world war for their use of concentration camps. Everybody the Hitler regime did not want was put in a concentration camp and either worked to death, shot or gassed. It was a simple but ghastly solution to the idea of creating a master race of Arians, about which Germans to this day still feel guilty (thankfully, but it may be irrational for a new generation to feel this way). They bunged in all the gipsies, jews, intellectuals, political opponents, mentally limited or ill, oddball religions and the rest, and thereby cleared the streets for the master race (the master race would have been extremely mediocre had they succeeded, though, when you consider that half the talent would have been knocked off.)

The English like to think they do things better than that, and so up until about 1980 we had a welfare state that managed largely to look after everybody. A few got through the net, but not many, and it was indeed a rare thing to see people living on the streets in our cities, except those few people who refused to live indoors or elsewhere - they are rare people, but they do exist.

In about 1980 we took on a government led by a lady called Thatcher who knew how to kill people without working them to death, gassing them or shooting them, and without the cost of a concentration camp, and without the disapproval of the international community. The simple solution was to destroy some of the infrastructure that protected sections of the population and make them homeless, which has been a largely successful strategy. The only thing is, the great majority of people do not like it, and would like to see the system fixed up again.

But it isn't just the Thatcher strategy which is at fault. It is also often official incompetence. The Big Issue, a magazine sold by the homeless, just before Christmas published an article suggesting that the Mayor of London and Glenda Jackson MP would like to get a few incompetent officials into his office to be grilled by the homeless. This prompted the following email:

Glenda Jackson has a good point, but it may be vey difficult to put into practice.

My own attempts to get officials to be responsible in any way for their incompetence or dishonesty in Southwark over several years have proved completely fruitless. They cover their backs by losing records of communications they don't like, and have a long and complicated complaints procedure that only the most persistent amongst us could possibly follow through, taking possibly years, and which (if it is followed through at all) ends up with a person called Mearns, whose sole job appears to be to defuse complaints. He behaves as though he knows every trick in the book. Most people don't even try to keep copies of all paperwork, which is one thing Mearns will probably demand, so they lose.

I think you will find that virtually no complaints, however grave, succeed, so that statistically Southwark, who may well be one of the worst offenders, can say they have a good record despite everything. This may well be the same in all boroughs.

One must also consider that any person trying to pursue their complaint against an army of officials all covering each other's backs may only have (a) limited ability, (b) limited time available to them, and (c) no funds to pursue the matter. The officials, for their part, have huge resources and are paid to do whatever they do for however long it takes to do it. They can always find a way to cover themselves, and their records will back them up because most people believe officialdom to be honest. Any fool can throw paper in a bin and adjust records.

A great many people in Southwark must have been made homeless by the incompetence and lack of concern of the firm CSL, who have the job of administering Southwark's housing and council tax benefit system, and who can take anything up to a year to process a claim.

During which time, I am sure you will be aware, a landlord cannot afford to keep the tenant housed for zero rent.

Yours in exasperation, but still not giving up,


Joe Punter's Shakespeare.

King Henry the 6th. part 2.

ACT 5 .

Scene 2.

St. Alban's (Shakespeare's apostrophe).

Alarms to the battle (you have to have some way of announcing it, don't you?). Enter Warwick.


Clifford of Cumberland, this is Warwick calling! When the alarm blows for battle (ref's whistle? ed) come out and fight with me, you proud northern git. I am getting hoarse with calling you to arms.

(Enter York.)

How are things my lord? Are we all ready?


That deadly-handed Clifford slew my beloved horse, but I countered him by slaying his. There will be plenty for the crows to eat.

Enter Old Clifford.


The time has come for one or both of us.


Stop, Warwick, find some other prey, for I wish to chase this one to the death myself.


Then do it well, for it is a crown you are fighting for. As I am intending to thrive today, Clifford, it grieves me to leave you unassailed.

(Warwick exits).


What's frightening you, York? Why do you hesitate?


I should be in love with your brave bearing but for the fact that you are so steadfastly my enemy.


Nor should your prowess want any esteem, but that you are ignobly in treason.


So let my prowess serve me now against you, as I in justice and true right express it.


My soul and body on the action both.


A dreadful imposition! Have at you!

(They fight. Old Clifford falls.)


La fin couronne les oeuvres (? carry me to the angels? An end to my fine labours? ed.)


Thus war has given you peace, for you are still. Peace with his soul, heaven, if willing.


Enter Young clifford.


Shame and confusion. All is on the rout. Let no soldier fly. He that is truly dedicated to war has no self-love, nor he that loves himself (essentially), but it is called valour. Oh let the vile world end, (seeing his father's body) and the promised flames of the last day knit heaven and earth together! Now sound the trumpet for particularities and petty sounds to cease! - Where you ordained, dear father, to lose your youth in peace, and then to die in your mature days in battle? This turns my heart to stone. York won't even spare our old men, so neither will I their babies. Virginal tears to me shall be as the dew to fire, and beauty will just fuel my passion. Henceforth, I will show no pity. If I meet an infant of the House of York I will chop it to pieces. In cruelty I will seek my fame. - Come, you new ruin of old Clifford's house.

(taking up the body)

As did Aeneas old Anchises bear, so I am bearing you upon my manly shoulders.- but then, Aeneas bore a living load, nothing as heavy as these woes of mine.

(exits)(Enter Richard and Somerset to fight. Somerset is killed).


So lie you there, for beneath a paltry alehouse' sign, The Castle in St. Alban's, Somerset has made the wizard famous in his death - Sword, hold your temper. Heart, be wrathful still. Priests pray for their enemies, but princes kill.


Fight. Excursions. Enter king and queen and others.


Away my lord! You are slow! For shame, away!


Can we outrun the heavens? good Margaret, stay.


What are you made of? You'll neither fight nor run. Is it manhood wisdom and defence to allow the enemy to catch us, or should we not do what we can to evade capture (which we can no more do than fly)

(alarm far off)

If you are taken, then we shall see the bottom of our fortunes, but if we happily escape - as well we might, if not through your neglect - we will get to London where we are loved, and where this uprising may already have been put down.

(Enter Young Clifford).


But for the fact that my heart is set on mischief, I would speak blasphemy rather than bid you to fly, but fly you must. Uncurable discomfit has taken hold. Away, for your own safety. We will see to them. Go!

(All exit)

More next week.


It is thought that we are going to have an election in the spring. The two pathetic parties we have are already at each other's throats, and I know which of them I would like to win - but it's a close thing because I'd really like to see something better. Pensioners (one of the big groups of voters)have had a carrot dangled under their noses in the form of a proposed increase in state pensions, and the rest, who care very much about public services, have been told that large amounts of money will be put into public services. The business sector have been put well and truly on their feet - and some politicians would say that it is much more that they have been allowed to put themselves on their feet (with some justice). The economy on the whole is still, however, a sellout to the banks, but as we are all in the dark about economics this is something most of us don't realise. Economics is not a particularly complicated subject, but people are scared of it, and would prefer think what they are told to think. This seems to apply to most politicians too.

But, of course, after years of Tory government followed by this slightly more liberal type of Toryism most of us are fairly sceptical, and until we actually see things happening it is unlikely to have much influence on the way we vote.

So who will you vote for?


Britain has recently announced itself to have the most prolific civilian mass murderer of the twentieth century. Nobody can quite work out how many murders they believe he has committed, but recent research suggests that the number of his victims is between 250 and 300 - and all of them women. He has only been found guilty of 14 (I think), because at the time he was brought to trial that was all the police had supporting evidence for, but by the time the trial came to an end they had another 20-something. Since the man was given 14 life sentences, there is little practical point in having another trial, although many relatives would probably like it to happen.

The estimate of the amount of victims I believe has been arrived at by going through all the records of all the places he has worked at, but if you think about it, it would be quite easy to estimate roughly how many deaths per year an ordinary GP (general practioner) would have, and then make comparisons with his practise. There were other practises in the town, and some patients had moved from them to his and vice verse.

A computer expert was sent in to check his computer records, and found that files had been altered at times that were significant evidentially and not appropriate to the times of appointments.

Doctor Shipman had been in practise for about 25 years when he was caught. It is said that he denied all charges, and that his lawyer told the court that he had watched his mother die what I think was described as a long lingering death when he was a teenager. None of his victims suffered any pain when he killed them, because he gave them an overdose of morphine. Most were getting on in years, and as far as one is able to find out, none of them were particularly ill when he killed them. Mercy killing was ruled out, and Dr. Shipman has refused to say why, presumably because saying why would automatically make him guilty of crimes which he has so far not admitted to having committed.

Most of all, people seem to want to know why, and on the small amount of evidence that people have picked up, there appear to be only two possible answers. Doctor Shipman seems to have been a caring doctor at all times up until the last visit - the one in which the murder was committed. It therefore seems to me that although he wrote himself a will from one patient (the one about whom he was finally caught), his real motive may have been to protect himself from having to watch a woman die slowly (like he had with his mother) and not be able to do anything about it - in other words, he may have been a misguided, self-protecting mercy-killer. I say mis-guided because in fact it is not always possible to know when someone is going to become terminally ill (he perhaps thought he knew better) and I say self-protecting because it would save him from all the agony of watching if he was right in his assumption.

There is just one other factor, though. By losing patients when they were still healthy he may have made more profit than by looking after them as they declined. But of course that does not account for the fact that they were all women.


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

Alternet News.

Alternet News might appeal to some readers as a regular list of goings-on in the human rights/green areas of life. You can receive it by email. I have put one copy on this site so that you get an idea of what it is about and how to subscribe.

For sample Alternet email click here.


Click here for an email that arrived in January 2000 concerning a proposed reasoned approach to this tricky subject

Goforth's social justice e-zine.

This interesting email magazine comes at fairly regular intervals and is of interest to almost anybody who is interested in human rights and green issues. In November 2000 it was going out to about 10,000 addresses. Try it. It won't cost you anything, and you can reproduce the contents without paying. You can subscribe by writing to them at:, or visit . Unsubscribe the same way.

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.

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