15 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.)
There are some much earlier Other News on this site. Click below.
early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.
Bonnington Cafe and Bonnington Square.
This Saturday LETSwing are back, with a range of self-written and standard material played in the manner of old-fashioned jazz players of the swing era - but with a difference because there is some out and out pop, motown, reggae, latin...........Should be fun. Vocals, harmonies, saxophone, guitar, bass, piano, flute, percs. Steve Barbe, Hanna Heissenbuttel, Gabriele Gad, Mark Treasure, Hugh Harris. 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 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION which for a brief period of time brought in Communism is thought by many people to have resulted largely from discontent about the lack of education of the ordinary people, who, although they were 'free', were still for all practical purposes the slaves of a small and arrogant collection of 'aristocrats' who made all the decisions on behalf of an emperor who was in effect a dictator. Had it been possible, it would appear that the emperor would himself have made all the political decisions, but that being impossible he instead made a large number of friends and crawlers into counts princes and princesses who (as far as I can see) where allowed to suck the peasants dry as long as they continued to support the emperor. This system had carried on for thousands of years, and out of habit had it's supporters at all levels of society.
The revolution brought in something which everybody who bothered to think had considered, even though some had rejected it as being impossible to put into practice and others had thought it 'unfair' - 'communism', which means just what the word implies: the communal sharing of resources. We know roughly what happened next - communism was hi-jacked by the likes of Stalin, who turned it into another type of dictatorship, who knocked off millions in the interests of political expediency, and whose actions eventually led to the collapse of what was no longer communism at all, and the possibly unjust labelling of communism as unworkable.
The part I am interested in is education. In Britain, education was compulsory for everybody from some time in the nineteenth century (Christian calendar) until very recently, and may still be so - I believe with the intention of avoiding having a large population of serfs who cannot even read. As you will know the various serfs who play about with democracy and who make up the current government can actually read, and most of them probably have a far better education than the 'aristocracy', who conceivably nevertheless still think they are making (this may actually be so) the political decisions. And some of the politicians may be quite bright. The significant thing here is that we have not had a revolution, which would be a very uncomfortable experience for most of us, and for me there is the possibility that this is the case not because 'communism doesn't work' but because the public being empowered - to however small an extent - by education makes them feel that all is OK - even when it isn't.
In other words, most have enough education to feel like eveything is acceptable, whilst only a few amongst us would be able to get enough education to conclude that things might not be perfect after all - not enough of us to create a revolution - and these would largely be selected by 'the system', so that it is unlikely they would in fact be at all rebellious. This is borne out by the people who are generally thought of as being educated behaving in the way they do. They are 'civilised', and find that they can step over barriers which others cannot step over.
Now we come to the area where I think there might be room for improvement. Education to be useful in the real world may well not be about passing exams so much as about empowering people and making them feel valued, and it may well be that giving insufficient education to the serfs may lead eventually, as it did in Russia and many other places both before and since the Russian revolution, to discontent on such a scale that the administration of a country is turned out by a revolution. I would like to ask you to consider the fact that those people who are being 'educated' in this country right now are not getting a fair deal, and that many of them will not leave school able to feel empowered, not a few unable to read, and that most will be easily swayed into following an Adolf Hitler or a Joseph Stalin. They are being treated like numbers in a processing plant, being 'educated' by largely well-meaning teachers (who themselves might easily be ready out of exasperation to be swayed by the Hitler/Stalin types) in classes of 60 or more when seven or eight might be more appropriate, they are not being made to feel valued by the state, and they may not be being made to feel valued by their families (who may also have had a British state education, and therefore be unable to value them), and they may well not feel that they have anything to lose by rebelling, and everything to gain by doing so.
To counter these rebellious peasants in the event of this happening are the few who go to private schools and get an allegedly superior education - another type of peasant - but who are very few in number and some of whom may also not like the system they find themsleves in and may also be ready to follow a Stalin or a Hitler.
In other words, I would like to suggest that it is dangerous politically for a government to cheese-pair education, partly because those people will be tomorow's politicians, and it is dangerous for politicians not to know what education is, what it is for, and to not truly be interested in doing anything to improve it.
It may well also be dangerous for politicians not to know what politics is about.
King Henry the 6th. part 2.
ACT 5 .
Fields near St. Alban's.
Alarm. Retreat. Enter York, Richard, Warwick and soldiers with drum and colours.
Old Salisbury - that old 'un who ignores age to support his friends and fights like a lion - what's happened to him? If he is lost we have gained nothing and this is not a happy day at all.
I helped my father back on his horse three times today, three times I asked him to withdraw, and yet wherever there was danger there he was, and there like rich hangings in a homely house his extraordinary will in his feeble body supported him. But noble as he is, look at this. Here he comes.
My god you've fought well today - as did we all. And thank you Richard for defending me three times from imminent death. Well, we haven't yet gained that which we desire. It is not enough that we have driven them off. They will rally their strength yet.
The safest thing we can do is to follow them. For, as I hear, the king has fled to London to call a parliament and seek support. Let's pursue him before the writs start appearing. What do you think Warwick? Shall we give chase?
No. We should get in front of them if we can. By gum, it was a glorious day! St Alban's battle, won by glorious York, will be remembered forever! Sound the drums and trumpets, and to London. We will experience more similar victories yet.
More next week.
Hypocrisy has always been one of the more obnoxious characteristics of politics, and as we are coming up for an election it is here with us to a far greater extent than usual.
The Conservative (Tory) party have put out a range of posters saying such things as "you've paid your taxes - now where are the trains" (or health service, operation, etc.), and the purpose of this is of course to persuade the voters that they have been swindled by a government that just collects taxes and squanders them on something from which taxpayers do not benefit, and whilst there may be a few people about who follow this line of reasoning, one imagines that most of us would realise that if the government has funds the only thing it can do with them is spend them - and that therefore it is purely a question of what they were raised for and what they end up being spent on.
What is particularly interesting about this campaign is that it uses all those really bad economic and administrative situations that the Conservative party created before finally making themselves so disliked that they were voted out of office. Some people may rmember that in the end they were behaving as though they were determined not to be elected, and I personally would not be surprised if that were in fact the case.
This way, the other party has to unravel the mess that the Conservatives made.
The conservatives cannot afford to be elected at the moment, because they don't have even the ability of the current government to cope with such a mess. Not by a very long way. It would be a far better manoeuvre to wait until some other collection of people have bust a gut to remedy the damage before making a serious attempt at re-election. Don't try too hard, Mr. Hague.
But then, he doesn't seem to be doing so.
Southwark Social Investment Forum (NOT a 'council initiative') have released the news that they are holding a large function for all manner of community groups, LETS, hourbanks, self-help groups, green, etc on the 7th. April 2001 at Clubland, Walworth Rd. SE17 (almost where it changes to Camberwell Rd).
Peter Challen, who seems to be the person trying hardest at the moment to drive this idea forward, said that it was trying desperately hard not to be a 'top-down' operation where the organisers tell everybody what to do, so much as a 'bottom up' one where most of the actions are decided by the participants. In other words, it is hope that there will be very little 'official interference'.
A free stall is available to suitable participants. The idea is to get as large a variety of non-commercial, non-political, non-council groups as possible attending to show other participants (which means not just the groups but as many members of the public as possible) what they do. Current participant list includes LETSLink London, Southwark LETS, CFIM (some of these I don't know what the initials are for), New Economics Foundation, SAVO, Marsh Farm New Deal Community (from Luton), Sustainable Southwark (ABS Consulting), South Bank University. Many other community groups have been invited, but have not yet stated if they will participate.
It is hoped there will be various entertainments in and around the show.
Many more groups are being approached, and not all of them are from Southwark. Would yours be interested? There may be a limit on the amount and size of stall spaces.
Email Peter Challen (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to participate.
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
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: email@example.com, or visit http://members.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html . 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. 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.