The Other News From England.

4 June 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 the entertainment should be Phil with Bert Jansch-style songs - but check because at this time of year things are less predictable. 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.


I wrote on this subject the other week in a surprisingly positive manner, having received from a spokesman at Grand Lodge what a certain journalist I spoke to called 'a good spin'.

It was indeed a good spin. The Grand Secretary told me (amongst other positive things) that the purpose of Freemasonry from the public's point of view was to help people - not necessarily to help Freemasons, but to help anybody who needed help. One might almost say to behave in a thoroughly Quakerly manner, although both Quakers and Freemasons might be offended by the association.

I have over the ensuing weeks given this matter much thought, since it contradicts most of the things I have heard about Freemasons from other sources - and in particular I have pondered long and hard on the things I have seen happen in courts and legal cases that seem to contradict the spun image. There may, of course, be other types of 'lodges', and in fact it seems almost inevitable that there are, but I need to relate to you the sort of thing I have in mind.

My mother, when she was alive, told me of a matter involving a young man who was a bit sensitive who had gone to a local solicitor who had served him so badly that he had felt the need to go to another local solicitor to make a complaint. He had a letter from the offending solicitor which confirmed the malpractice, which he offered to the new solicitor to use as evidence.

"Rubbish!" said the new solicitor, "he wouldn't write a thing like that. I meet him for a drink every Tuesday evening," and tearing up the letter he threw it in his wastepaper bin.

"That's Freemasons, surely, isn't it?" said my mother, and I have to say I find it difficult to see what else it might be.

Not all tenants are the innocent victims the law perceives them as. A tenant got into great difficulty with her landlord by getting about a year behind with the rent, obstructing builders, damaging property and other matters, and presented herself to a local solicitor for protection from eviction. The local solicitor was able to get her legal aid (all her legal fees paid despite the fact that in terms of money she was far better off than her landlord), whilst the landlord was not eligible because he owned the house, and was thus obliged to hope that the law would be honorable if he represented himself - which he did to the best of his ability.

There was almost no way of accounting for the outcome of this case other than great co-operation between the rent officer, the solicitor, the barrister (whose address was given as 99 Strand, which I have been led to believe is British Masonic headquarters), and the judge, who helped set up a guaranteed no win situation for the landlord, ignoring all evidence that might go in his favour. It seems unlikely that each one's action was a fluke, and the fact that the judge stopped in the middle of the case to say to the barrister "we haven't seen any hubris yet. I'd like to see that" did not help my perception of what was going on (look up the word hubris in a dictionary). The point about this matter is that whilst two of them were engaged to act for her, the judge and rent officer were not, yet they all acted in great co-operation, like persons all hell-bent on helping the same person. Hell-bent may be more appropriate than I at first thought.

The judge in this case, by the way, was called MacNair. Resort to the court of appeal led to similar results, and at no time was any landlord evidence taken seriously.

In the Appeal court a case appeared in recent years that involved the recorder of the City of London, a City of London magistrate, the chairman of Barclay's bank and some others, where 1.4 million seemed to have been spirited away from the account of a certain (non-masonic) engineer interested in recycling oil. the process used to do this was alleged to have been forced bankruptcy. As a spectator, it was not difficult to notice the suspicion with which lawyers for Barclays and others (including the judge) eyed me, and it was not difficult to notice certain papers moving about the court via ushers and others, and neither was it difficult to notice that on one occasion an usher was sent out and a few minutes later a couple of people came into the public seating, sat down beside me and seemed to be surrepticiously trying to read my papers. I turned my finished notes over and moved into a position where they could not see what I was writing, and in a little while they went away. Freemasons? Certainly Freemasons would be well enough organised to do these things, but that does not necessarily mean I was experiencing Freemasons.

On the other hand, if you look at Grand Lodge you will have to admit that they must be exceptionally well endowed to have built it and to continue to own it. If they are all generosity as claimed, how do they afford it?

Joe Punter's Shakespeare.

King Henry the 6th. part 3.

ACT 4 .

Scene 5.

A park near Middleham Castle in Yorkshire.

Enter Gloster, Hastings, Sir William Stanley and others.


Now, my lord Hastings and Sir William Stanley, I will tell you why I brought you here to this, the densest thicket in the park. This is the case: You know our king, my brother, is prisoner to the bishop here, in whose hands he has good freedom, and comes this way hunting to disport himself - often attended by a weak guard. I have advised him by secret means that if about this hour he makes his way here under the cover of the usual game, he will find his friends here with horses and men to set him free.

Enter king Edward and huntsman.


This way my lord, for this way lies the game.


No, this way man. See where the huntsmen stand. - Now, brother Gloster, Lord Hastings and the rest, do you come so close to steal the bishop's deer?


Brother, the time and case require haste. Your horse stands ready at the park corner.


But where shall we be going then?


To Lynn, my lord, and thence to Flanders.


Well guessed, for that was my meaning.


Stanley, I will return thy forwardness.


But why are we waiting. 'tis no time to talk.


Huntsman, what say you? Will you go along?


Better to do that than to tarry and be hanged.


Come, then. Away with no more ado.


Bishop farewell. Shield yourself from Warwick's frown and pray that I may repossess the crown.


More next week.


The mental hospital occupied extensive and comfortable grounds of some 200 acres amidst rolling agricultural land, and, being a mental hospital, it was not difficult to see why at least those patients who talked about it liked the peace of the place. Peace and space are therapeutic when you are mentally ill.

During the Thatcher years the government developed a passion which has continued to this day for ransacking public resources for private gain, and amongst the victims of this passion were the large old mental hsopitals which owned land. The government sold the idea to the public by saying that what people really needed if they were mentally ill was to be in the community, and to achieve this the hospitals should be closed, the patients moved into special accomodation where they are part of the community, and specialist carers of various types would visit them regularly to see that all was well. Meanwhile, the land would be sold off to developers, who would build suburban houses on it and make a handsome profit. The hospital trust, for it's part, would believe it had made a financial gain and was serving it's patients better by having them in the community.

A few murders, financial crises and suicides later it became apparent that the realities of these things always need looking at - particularly the details. First of all, patients compressed into tiny spaces (sometimes mysteriously far smaller than they appeared on the architect's drawings) may not be a good thing. Experiments with rats (no doubt many experiments with many species) have demonstrated the obvious - the more crowded a species finds itself (beyond a certain point), the more strife there is within that group. The extreme of this is, of course, murder being used to create space, but even putting this aside there is the mathematical fact that the more people there are together in one place the greater the number of conflicts there must be between them. Secondly, it became apparent that care in the community actually meant support that did not materialise because it was not funded or because the overworked mental health staff given the job were insufficient to cover the demand or were off sick due to the stress of work.

Meanwhile, the builders are having a good time building their 'executive style' houses and making a good profit (as did the the individual or firm who bought the land so cheap and with such easy planning permission available to them), and the hospital finds that the vast sums they thought they had in hand to do the job are not quite as vast as they thought, and the whole replacement hospital is compressed into some new, small, cheaply built accomodation that is far too small for anybody's comfort. The woods and spacious grounds are lost forever, and the only people getting care are those who are kept in, not those in the community at all. The hospital has made a loss when it thought it would make a gain, and the loss is irredeemable because it is land which is being built upon. It is very likely that somebody on the board of trustees will know who will make the gain and who will make a loss, and it is also quite possible they will have found a way of being the right side of the transaction. Not everybody is entirley Kosher. It is possible that we may once again be experienceing that well-known formula:

Hospital Trust + Care in Community = Hands in Till + Don't Care.


Tho Housing Benefit department recently wrote to a certain person to tell them that the reason they were being sued for council tax was that CSL decided six months ago that they were not eligible for council tax benefit (which they had been claiming). However, this was queried, because CSL have an obligation to tell a claimant whether their claim has succeeded or failed, and this they had not done. Neither were they able to tell the claimant how much his income had been assessed as being, which rather weakened their story. Whilst all this was going on, another department in the same office were writing to say that they were still processing the claim and that they needed certain extra information!.......There is nothing like CSL for creating confusion.

But then again, I received a letter from CSL over the weekend which asked me to pay my council tax by direct debit because they were trying to save money on processing payments. Normal, you may think, but why did they send the same letter twice in two different envelopes when they are trying to save money?

There is no end to it. The only chance of a solution might be to employ enough people to do the job in hand, but that might be too subtle a solution for them to see.


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: Goforth's site

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 (this may now have been provided, but please email if you might like to join in in some way - ed.)

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