The Other News From England.

11 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.

Last Saturday there was a change of act at the last moment, but this Saturday the entertainment is expected to 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.


(Held over from last week).

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 6.

London. The Tower.

Enter King Henry, Clarence, Warwick, Somerset, young Richmond, Oxford, Montague, and Lieutenant of The Tower.


Master Lieutenant, now that God and Friends have shaken Edward from the throne, turned my captivity to freedom, my fear to hope, my sorrows into joys - what are thy fees?


Subjects should not question their sovereigns, but if I may I would crave your pardon, sir.


For what, lieutenant? For treating me so well? Nay, be sure I will requite your kindness well, for it made my imprisonment a pleasure. Aye, such a pleasure as caged birds must feel when, after many disharmonious thoughts they are suddenly made to forget their lack of liberty by notes of household harmony. - But Warwick, after God it was mostly you who set me free, and chiefly therefore I thank God and thee. God was the author, you the instrument. Therefore, to avoid further catastrophe by living low where fortune cannot harm me, and so that the people of this land cannot be further punished by my unlucky stars - Warwick, although my head still wears the crown I here resign my government to thee, for thou art fortunate in all thy deeds.


Your grace is famous for being virtuous, and now you seem equally wise when you spy and avoid the misfortune, for few men rightly tamper with the stars. Yet in this one thing I would criticise in that you have not choosing Clarence for the task.


No Warwick thou, to whom heaven awarded both olive branch and laurel crown at birth, are most likely to rule in peace, and therefore I yield to you.


And I choose Clarence for Protector.


Warwick and Clarence, give me both your hands, and join hands and both your hearts, that no strife my interfere with government. I make you both protectors of this land, whilst I will myself lead a private life, and spend the rest of my days praising God.


What does Clarence answer to his sovereign's will?


That I consent as long as Warwick consents also, for I rest upon his fortune.


Then, though loth, I consent. We'll work together like a double shadow to Henry's body in his place, bearing weight of government whilst he enjoys the honour and his ease. It is now more important than ever that Edward is pronounced a traitor and all his lands and property confiscated.


What else? and that succession shall be determined.


Aye. In that, Clarence shall have a part.


But first let me entreat (for I command no more) that Margaret, your queen, and my son Edward be sent for, to return from France with speed, for until I see them here my new liberty is eclipsed by doubts and fear.


It shall be done, my sovereign, with all possible speed.


My lord of Somerset, what youth is that of whom you seem to have such tender care?


My liege, it is young Henry, earl of Richmond.


Come here, England's hope. If what I think

(lays hand on his head)

is true, this pretty lad will prove to be our country's bliss, he looks so full of peaceful majesty. His head seems by nature shaped to wear a crown, his hand to wield a sceptre, and himself likely in time to bless a royal throne. Make much of him, my lords, for this is he who must help you more than I have hurt you.

Enter a post.


What news, my friend?


That Edward has escaped from your brother, and fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.


Unsavoury news! But how did he escape?


He was conveyed by Richard, Duke of Gloster, and the lord Hastings, who waited for him in secret ambush whilst he was out hunting in the forest, and rescued him from the bishop's huntsman. For hunting was his daily excercise.


My brother was too careless of his charge. - but let us go, my sovereign, to find a solution for any damage that may have been done.

(exit all but Somerset, Richmond and Oxford.)


My lord, I do not like this flight of Edward's for no doubt Burgundy will give him help, and we shall have more wars before long. As Henry's prophesy with this young Richmond did gladden my heart, so does my heart misgive me in these conflicts yet to come and the damage they will give to us all. Therefore, Lord Oxford, to prevent the worst we will send him to Brittany 'til the storm passes.


Aye, for if Edward repossesses the crown it is likely that Richmond shall fall with the rest.


It shall be so. He'll go to Brittany. Come, therefore, let us go about it speedily.

All exit.

More next week.


As most of the world will probably know (dull though British politics may be), we had an election last week in which 'New Labour' were re-elected and a certain venerable gang of thieves who were expected to make a reasonable show at the polls were well and truly ousted by the British voter (this supposes that there was no vote-rigging or meddling with the system like the Americans seem to have had in Florida last presidential election). The Liberal party made several gains, prompting hope that one day they might get a chance at wielding power, though there is no reason to suppose that if they did get power they would be any more acceptable than the others, and William Hague, the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party at the time of the election, resigned as though committing hari kare, depriving the other parties of a certain secret weapon in the struggle. Never mind - they have others equally suitable for the role, and no doubt the conservative state of mind (indeed, one might say that of most people in politics) will elect one as a new leader.

A large proportion of those eligible to vote failed to show up at the polls, but this is not surprising since a huge number of people have been saying that what they would really like to see is a party they want to vote for rather than a party they want to avoid being elected. In other words, the field is probably wide open for a political group the public actually like and feel a part of, but British education with it's obsession with 'winning' for no other purpose than to have won and 'leaders' is such that it is unlikely to happen.

So what is to happen next? Will the newly reinstated government really try to introduce proportional representation, employ more police, repair the health service and provide intelligently considered education with adequate staffing? And if they do try, will they succeed? Will they, if they try to provide decent standards for the people, lose the support of big business, who are both international and in the habit of employing uneducated labour at virtually slave rates (no doubt because it is cheaper to employ them than to have them as slaves because there would be less insurrection)?

The British constitution is so designed, I am told, that it is nearly impossible to make any great changes without having to whittle away at the established habits for several years beforehand, so that often a change may take place too late to be of any use.

But they might try. You never know. There could be some surprises in store.


Southwark have gone a bit quiet since being asked a question I presume they cannot answer regarding housing benefit, but I understand Wandsworth (a Conservative borough I think) have at last admitted that their contractor for housing benefit (despite being that Conservative ikon, a private enterprise) is useless, and have decided that after all it may be better for the council to see to it's own housing benefit. This is in danger of raising costs slightly and reducing the number of people who the council can evict from council property, which may not be considered to be a happy state of affairs from a Conservative point of view, but it may also have the effect of reducing the amount of the council's legal bill that is wasted in pursuing useless, destructive and unsupported cases against council tenants. What the British call 'swings and roundabouts' ('what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts' - no doubt from fairground operators) may be happening.

The question is - will Southwark have the sense to follow suit despite not being a Conservative borough?


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