The Other News From England.

23 July 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.

Act undecided for this Saturday - but believed to be Phil. 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.

Civil service.

WHEN I WAS QUITE YOUNG a neighbour introduced me to a book called 'How to Lie With Statistics'. It was a relatively simple thing for me to understand, and told me how business, governments and 'spinners' make statistics say what they want them to say as opposed to what they ought to say. It talked of the infinite number of ways, from the very simple graphs used by business to create the illusion of rising or falling profits/sales/demands upon their resources etc. (quite often when no such thing has happened), for the purpose of soliciting money out of shareholders or upping their share price, through to the more complex statistical frauds based on selective questioning of 'people in the street', statistics based on the opinions of those 'persons questioned' when only five selected people were questioned, and alleged scientific research whose results are only published if they suit the commissioner's purpose. I expect you know what I mean.

What surprised me at the time of reading this book was how easily I could understand what the author was talking about - particularly in the light of the fact that it was alleged when I was at school that I was 'no good at maths' (this may be another way of saying that the maths teacher didn't know how to teach, of course).

So I was surprised not to be able to understand the following plain and simple sentences from the UK government's Department of the Envirionment Transport and Regions handbook called 'A change to the Fair Rent Rules'. The main change it describes is one in which the rent officer sets an allegedly fair rent and then does not have to do anything except to increase it in line with the Retail Price Index, but with the exception of the first two updatings, where he or she has to also increase it by an additional percentage:

"How the maximum fair rent is calculated:

"The rent officer receives an application for the rent of 1a Acacia Avenue to be re-registered. The rent was last registered at 100 per month (a likely story!) in March 1997. The published Retail Prices Index for the month of March 1997 was 155.4. The rent officer is to register the rent on 31 March 1999. The latest published RPI (all items) on the first day of March 1999 is 165.4 (an assumed figure for illustrative purposes).

"First, the rent officer works out the change in the RPI since the last registration was made:

"165.4 - 155.4 = 10.

"He divides the result by the RPI figure for the month when the last rent registration was made to get the proportionate change:

"10 divided by 155.4 = 0.06435.

"He then adds the equivalent of an additional 7.5% (as this is the first application for registration after the limit was introduced):

"0.06435 + 0.075 = 0.13935.

"He then multiplies the result by the existing registered rent:

"100 X 1.13935 = 113.935.

"He then rounds the result up to the nearest 50 pence. The maximum fair rent the rent officer could register is therefore 114 per month."

See? Dead simple, don't you think? Any old landlord or tenant would understand that.

Actually - gosh - having spent some time editing and checking, and therefore having read many times through, I think I might be beginning to understand it! No more difficult than Shakespeare, after all........

Meanwhile, at the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions, some unfortunate civil servant is getting the sack for writing something might be able to understand.

Freemasons.

(Held over again, in the hope that we will get an email from a Mason giving an explanation if we wait long enough. Come on, guys, we don't want this article here forever.):

FREEMASONS, understandably, wish to be accepted as ordinary honest upright and honorable citizens.

We have written about them on several occasions (about 8). On all occasions except one, the writing has been of a negative nature, and on one occasion it was positive and quoted various things that a masonic spokesman had said in their favour.

Following the publication of the positive writings there was no difficulty connecting to the server to send and receive email during the following week, whilst on all the other occasions email was cut off for several days and only restored after phone calls to the server and further enquiries.

Are they honest? Is this not the kind of thing the public believe Freemasons do with their time and energies?

Joe Punter's Shakespeare.

King Henry the 6th. part 3.

ACT 5 .

Scene 4.

Plains near Tewkesbury.

Flourish. March. Enter Queen Margaret, prince Edward, Somerset, Oxford, and soldiers.

QUEEN M.:

Great lords, wise men do not sit and mourn their losses, but instead work out how to put things right. What does it matter if the ship is all in pieces and half the crew drowned? Our pilot is still alive. Would it be sensible for him now to leave the helm like a fearful lad, giving further strength to that which already has too much, when with care the ship might yet be saved? So, if Warwick was our anchor, and Montague our topmast, what of it? Our dead friends may have been the rigging, but can we not still have Oxford for anchor and Somerset for another equally good mast? And our friends from France for rigging and sails? And, though not experienced, why not Ned (pr. Edward) and I for the pilot's job? We won't run away, but will keep our course even if the wind says no, and steer carefully clear of rocks that may threaten us with wreck.

It is as good to scold the waves as it is to speak gently to them. And what is Edward but a ruthless sea? What is Clarence but a quicksand of deceit? And Richard just a ragged and dangerous rock? Our poor ship can still survive all these - it is only for a while that we need to. We have little choice, for if we do not swim we will have to stand on quicksand, or be washed off the rocks, or die of hunger. I am telling you this, lords, because I want you to understand how you will be received by them if you defect - it is unlikely there will be mercy for you. Courage, then! What cannot be avoided it would be childish weakness to lament or fear.

PR. EDWARD:

I think a woman of such valiant spirit could even enthuse a coward and make a man of him. I do not intend to speak as though I doubt anybody here, for if I suspected we had a fearful man in our midst he would be permitted to leave in case he might infect another with his fear. If any such person is here, please let him depart before we need his help.

OXFORD:

Women and children showing such high courage and warriors being faint! It would be perpetual shame. - Oh, brave young prince! Your famous grandfather lives again in you.

SOMERSET:

And he who will not fight for that, go home to bed now, and be mocked for your weakness in due course.

QUEEN M.:

Thanks, gentle Somerset - sweet Oxford, thanks.

PRINCE E.:

And, because I have nothing else to offer yet, please take my thanks too.

(Enter a messenger.)

MESSENGER:

Prepare yourselves, my lords, for Edward is at hand and ready to fight. Therefore, be resolute.

OXFORD:

I thought it might be. It would be his policy to try to catch us unprepared.

SOMERSET:

But he is deceived. We are ready.

QUEEN M.:

It cheers my heart to hear you so forward.

OXFORD:

Let us do battle here. Thus we will not budge from this place.

(flourish and march. Enter King Edward, Gloster, Clarence, and forces.

KING E.:

Brave followers, over there stands the thorny wood which with heaven's help and your strength we must uproot by tonight. I will not say more, for I know your determination. Give the signal and go to it, lords.

QUEEN M.:

Lords, knights and gentlemen, what I should say my tears will not allow me to say, for every word I speak I drink my own tears. Therefore, I will say nothing more than this: Henry, your sovereign, is prisoner to the enemy, and his state is usurped, his kingdom has become a slaughterhouse, his subjects slain, his statutes cancelled, and his treasure spent. Over there is the wolf that does all this damage. You fight in justice. Then, in God's name lords, be valiant and and give the signal to start the fight.

(alarm. Retreat, excursions. All exit.)

Lawyers.

THE LAW SOCIETY - the organisation which represents one of the two equally questionable types of British lawyers, solicitors - has been suggesting to journalists that they might at some stage 'name and shame' any of their members who are incompetent, dishonest, negligent, unconsciensious, overpriced, or in a multitude of other ways (presumably) considered by the public to be unfit to deal with.

The process, according to my newspaper, is expected to involve publishing a list of incompetents (etc), with possible expulsion from the Law Society as a last resort - which would make it difficult for the offending party to make a living. The public will then be able to consult this list, and the ones with the highest rating will get a star or something (like school) whilst the ones with the lowest will have some other mark beside their name - what, it is hard to imagine, but intended to force them to improve, like some silly public school black mark.

Of course, like lawyers everywhere, it is unlikely that they will have completely committed themselves over this naming and shaming business. After all, the suggestion of this action without the action itself would protect the credibility of all solicitors incompetent or otherwise for as long as it took the public to realise that it will not actually happen, and each one of them presumably pays a membership fee to the society.

Is it possible that 'naming and shaming' would leave the society with no members at all, even?

More next week.

...........................................................................................................................

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.

Biotechnology

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: sjzine@netscape.net, 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. 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 cs@london-recycling.demon.co.uk. 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.

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.

Essays.

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.

editor@othernews.co.uk

Cartoons and graphics.

drawings click here.

sheet music click here.

Consumers.

LEXMARK 3200 PRINTER.

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.

Wanted

A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email editor@othernews.co.uk (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. http://www.othernews.co.uk

Even better if you print the date of the article.

editor@othernews.co.uk

That`s all this week folks