The Other News From England.

18 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 is expected to be Phil with Bert Jansch-style songs again - 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.


It took me many years to learn to be what I would call the correct amount honest.

One lot of readers might say rubbish you are not the 'correct amount' honest, you are completely honest, whilst another lot might say exactly the opposite, that is: You are not completely honest, and the amount of honesty that you have is insufficient to call the 'correct amount'. These latter people would probably not pick a paper clip up off the floor at work and take it home because, quite rightly, it actually belongs to their employer, whilst the former would probably say 'oh well, it's only a paper clip' and, assuming they needed it, would put it in their pocket and take it home. Since one paper clip is much the same as another, it would be almost impossible to prosecute such an action as theft, so it is not a question of whether the person could get away with it, so much as one of whether they consider it acceptable behaviour.

The other day, I helped check the stock in a local branch of one of our large British chainstores. My part in the operation was mainly to do with counting thousands of tiny bits and pieces like screws, bolts, small bulbs, fuses, toggles........and of course at the end of my check I had a small box with a selection of useful items which had fallen out of their packs (or had been released by customers, maybe) which I could not really check as they did not have 'product codes'. These I took to the director of the operation for directions on how to deal with them. The director of the operation was a man who not two hours earlier had been talking seriously green, and we had discussed the recycling of cars, bikes and general materials with some enthusiasm.

"I'm afraid we'll have to throw them in the bin," he said.

"Well, if we're going to do that, can I take them to my workshop instead?" I said.

"Oh, no. That would be against company policy," he said.

So I threw them in the bin! That was a painful expereience.

Now we need to look at the reason for this bit of company policy, for I do know it. The reason is that if you give people who are working in the store things that have fallen out of packets they will break the packets deliberately so that they can pick up the things they want or need for whatever they are doing and not pay for them! Not only are they underpaid, these people, but they are policed like children should not be, presumably in the belief that they have less honesty than your average child has - a belief that may not be unrealistic.

Now to complete the cycle. Dishonesty of this type, and probably of many other types, is ecologically unsound because it leads to much waste caused by people making up ridiculous but apparently necessary rules like that one. I may therefore make my code of conduct even more rigid than it already was in the hope that my tiny contribution will help.

But before I step off this soapbox, I would like to say something else on the subject. In my experience, when people steal things they usually waste them, and they are usually completely unaware that ecologically it matters, or that the other people who do actually pay for things are subsidising them - indeed, they may be completely unaware of anything except their own psychological needs, and even these they are unlikely to be conscious of. They are not always dim, but they may quite often be so. Look at some of our politicians..............

Joe Punter's Shakespeare.

King Henry the 6th. part 3.

ACT 4 .

Scene 7.

Before York. (I think this means with York in the background)

Flourish. Enter King Edward, Gloster, Hastings, and soldiers.


Now, brother Richard, Lord Hastings and the rest, so far fortune has made amends, and says that once more I shall change my woeful state for Henry's regal crown. We have crossed the seas twice and brought the desired help from Burgundy. What is there now we have arrived from Ravenspurg haven to stop us entering the gates of York as into our dukedom?


The gates are locked! Brother I do not like this. For many men that stumble at this threshold believe that danger lurks within.


Tush, man. Intuition must not frighten us. We must enter by fair means or foul, for it is to here that our friends will come.


My liege, I'll knock once more to summon them...........

Enter, on the walls, the Mayor of York and his brethren.


My lords, we were forewarned of your coming and shut the gates for our own safety, for we now owe allegiance to Henry.


But Master Mayor, if Henry is your king, Edward is at least the Duke of York.


True my good lord. I know you for no less.


And I ask for nothing but my dukedom, with which I will be content.

GLOSTER (aside):

But when the fox has once got his nose in he will soon enough find a way to make his body follow.


Why, master mayor do you stand in doubt. Open the gates. We are King Henry's friends.


Is that so? Then the gates shall be opened.

(They descend).


A wise and stout captain, and soon persuaded!


The good old man has been forced to accept that all is well, but no doubt in due course we can persuade both him and his brothers to reason.

Enter the mayor and two aldermen.


So, master mayor. These gates must not be kept shut except at night or in times of war. Fear not, man, but give me the keys,

(takes keys)

for Edward will defend both the town and thee, and all those friends who deign to follow me.

March. Enter Montgomery with drum and soldiers.


Brother, this is Sir John Montgomery, our trusty friend, unless I be deceived.


Welcome Sir John, but why do you come armed?


To help King Edward in his time of storm, as every loyal subject ought to do.


Thanks, Montgomery, but we now only claim the dukedom and forget the crown, and will wait til God sends the rest.


Then fare you well, I will return, for I came to serve a king, not a duke. Drummer, strike up. Let us march away.

The drum begins to march. (Shakespeare's words)


Nay, stay awhile Sir John, and we will debate how the crown may safely be recovered.


What's the debating for? If you will not here and now declare yourself to be king I will leave you to your fortune and be gone to keep those back who come to help you. Why should we fight if you pretend no title?


Brother, why do you haggle over niceties?


When we grow stronger, that's when we shall make our claim. Until then it is wise to conceal our intentions.


Away with wit! Now arms must rule.


And fearless minds climb soonest into crowns. Brother, we will proclaim you out of hand. The rumour will bring you many friends.


Then let it be as you will. For it is my right and Henry is but a usurper.


Aye. Now my sovereign speaks like himself. Now I will be his champion.


Sound a trumpet. Edward shall be here proclaimed - come, fellow soldier, make the proclamation.


Edward the fourth, by the grace of God, king of England and France, and lord of Ireland, and so on..........


And whosoever challenges this right, I challenge him to single combat.

(Throws down his gauntlet).


Long live Edward the Fourth!


Thanks, brave Montgomery, and thank you all. If fortune goes in my favour I will requite this kindness. Now, for this night let us rest here in York, and when the sun begins to rise above the horizon we shall go forward towards Warwick and his mates. For I know it well that Henry is no soldier. And forward clarence! How evil it beseems thee to support Henry and forsake thy brother! Yet, if we may we will meet both thee and Warwick. Come on, brave soldiers! Doubt not the day. And once the day is won, don't doubt that you shall be handsomely paid.

All exit.

More next week.


(Held over from last 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