Week beginning 25 May 1998.
The Other News is made up as a single document, so that you can scroll your way through it. email@example.com
It has become necessary to redesign the Other News Layout a little owing to the time it takes to organise, so from now on the list of subjects is just a list.
Because a subject is listed does not necessarily mean there is an article. It has been listed because there probably is an article that week, and because the list is a good prompt for writing purposes.
Consumers Ecology Education Freemasons Lawyers LETSSwing Miscellaneous Music Politics Science and Invention Unions and work Woodworking Small ads Stop Press
Index of earlier issues.
Click here for Blackspot - who seems to have disappeared, but who I hope will be back,
For conditions see end of document.
There is a little bit more about freemasons below.
BIWATER, a British firm mentioned in connection with the privatisation of water supplies in South Africa on Labournet`s internet site used their solicitors to persuade GreenNet, who are hosting the site, to remove the press release concerned - presumably on pain of hefty suings.
GreenNet, it would seem, have been advised that in current English law they are in the same position as a publisher of books regarding the material that is put on sites hosted by them. That is- if anyone is sued it will be them if they know of the existence of the offending material. This means that only are GreenNet Censored but so are publishers.
I have three things to say about this:
But let`s press on.
Biwater, presumably in trying to hide something, have shown us the problem with the present legal situation: You can`t say what you have to say even if it`s true if someone with enough money is willing to spend it on stopping you, unless you are willing to risk bankruptcy, or are so rich it is impossible to bankrupt you (know anyone like that who`s likely to speak out about anything?).
It would be impossible for an ISP to check the contents of every page, and presumably against the whole ethic of the internet for them to do any censoring, so we must all be careful how we say what we say, and absolutely certain that it is true if we say it is, or we must suggest that it might possibly be true and leave people to work out for themselves what they think.
In Britain today there is a pretty strong suspicion of any privatised water company, so that this firm, which I had never heard of before they tried to censor free speech, has now become one of my suspects for the GreenNet hacking last month.
They have certainly brought themselves into the limelight.
The Other News has grown somewhat over the past months, and Josephine is gradually building a subject index for us. When it is completed, you will be able to log straight into the current edition and then look for the subjects that interest you in the subject index - these will often be in earlier editions. We are hoping this will help you find articles in your particular area of interest more easily than at present.
If you haven`t looked at the other News From England before, read this in case it may save you some time.
The Other News consists of a selection of articles on whatever subjects find their way to the top of the pile on the week in which it is written. Whilst some of it is intended to be serious, quite a lot is just a bit of light reading (or heavy, if you are a certain type of person), and intended to keep you amused, and cause people to question some of the assumptions of life.
Most of the material here is written by the editor, but no single article necessarily reflects the views of the editor or anyone else who writes here. They only might.
June 12, 19, 26, July 17, 24, 31, August 14, 21, September 11, 18, 25, October 2, 9 23, November 13, 20, December 4, 11, 18. Alcohol- and smoke-free disco playing a wide range of music inc. classical! Biodanza says `vibrant Latin/African Rhythms; ambient, trance, classical and rock...... in London every Wednesday 7.30-9.30 No 7 Wakefield St WC1 (5 minutes Russell Square tube 9 pounds or 6 pounds, students half price, advance and block booking discounts` phone enquiries (0044 for UK from most other countries) 0181 295 1588`
Another - a bit vague - hand-written on a postcard: `Mary`s Wednesday Biodanza class continues at St Lukes Church Hillmartin Rd N7 - Caledonian Rd tube.
ABBEY NATIONAL did their bit last week, but so far the man has not telephoned me to ask for support in his claim against them.
So we`ll see.
IT IS QUITE FASHIONABLE amongst politicians to talk about education for life, and it is probably true to say that most of them don`t know what they mean by that.
Talking to person who had the unusual experience of going to school at summerhill, I have become even more confused about not just what education is but also what it is for than I was before.
Is education a way of turning people into that which they are not at the beginning of the process in order that they may be fitted to a particular style of life and do certain work the nature of which has to a large extent been pre-determined by their parents, or is it a way of encouraging people to think for themselves so that they may at some stage in the future approach life from a completely different viewpoint to that taken by their parents?
Is it a way of ensuring that the children of those who already had `privilege` are able to continue to have that `privelege`, whilst those whose family have always been little more than serfs continue in the same manner, with a complete disregard of the capabilities or tendencies of both, whilst a collection of `intellectuals` take up the middle ground, thereby leaving the field clear for the `natural leaders` in our society to continue things as they always were?
Summerhill tries very hard to allow children to develop their own person unfettered by control freaks, compulsion or `leaders`, and the results can be stunning, but what particularly intrigues me here is the pickyness about work one finds amongst Summerhill people. If the work is ideal for the Summehillian, that is not always enough. They can love the work but still be trying to leave it because the person is `an idiot`.
I know what they mean. You`ll find them everywhere. They are not always managers, but the psychology of people is such that they are more likely to be managers or further `up` than they are people actually doing the job, and the reason for this would appear to be that they have some from one of those schools where you are told that you must `rise` and somewhere along the line they have got the idea that it is good to `have control` over other people. The people actually doing the job tend to be from those type of schools where they have been taught to be `foot soldiers`, and those who started at the bottom with the idea of working their way `up`.
Summerhillians tend to want to do things, but they also seem to want (reasonably, I`d say) to do them without `idiots` telling them how . They want to ask for information when they need at and not when they don`t, and then to use their creative powers to work out the best way they can of doing the job. This is not the sort of thing an `idiot` will like because it is either (a) not what it says in `the book` or (b) a threat because it is somebody`s creation other than their own, and `shows them up`.
So finally, what you get is thoroughly capable people who are not really very interested in going to work, but who could if they were left alone do significant things in their chosen field, not knowing how to present themselves to the public or an agency in order to be self-employed, spending most of their energy on trying to work out how not to go to work.
I don`t blame them. Those people really are idiots, and there is no way to change that in our present system of education. But how do Summerhillians survive?
This is an issue that won`t go away even if I ignore it, but there has been nothing new this week.
It did, however, occur to me after reading about Biwater (see `Freedom of Speech` above) that at least we don`t have to put up with that from a `Society With Secrets`.
Any small thing is better than none.|
To see earlier articles about freemasons look in the last twelve or so issues. To find them just click below:
To see stuff about Biwater, go to http://wwwlabournet.org.uk/biwater/index.html
`Tenants extra` (ES magazine 22 May) highlights a problem that has been going on for a century or so (maybe more).
On the one hand, it is necessary for a tenant to feel they have the right to live where they live and to get what they are paying for (these two clearly got that and a great deal more) and on the other hand if we have a law of property it is necessary to make it possible for the owner of the property to administrate it properly, which cannot be done with tiny rents coming in and solicitors hovering in the background waiting to pounce over some minor thing.
The courts are no help, apparently being run on the basis of a formaula that decides the matter before it ever gets to them with complete disregard for the merits of the case, and are alleged to vary from area to area, some being pro-tenant and some being pro-landlord. The Lambeth county court (the court covering the area in which Charles Nevin`s house is situated) appears to be entirely pro-tenant unless the landlord is the Duchy of Cornwall or the local council, in which case it is pro-landlord.
We then have the rent officer, whose job is purported to be fair and impartial and to fix rents with a due regard for other rents in the area, the proximity of employers, colleges, shops, etc. but who as far as I know only uses for comparisons rents registered by themselves and other rent officers in the same office - and not necessarily close enough to the rent being assessed to reflect in any way the surrounding amenities or values. Appeal is pointless, since the London Rent Assessment panel are a quango who behave in the same way. Mr Nevin`s increase of 6% by the Rent Assessment Committee is about typical of what happens if you take a locally registered rent to them, and one must weigh up whether it is worth the cost of trying (104 pounds per year can`t be worth much). There does not appear to be much thought going into the calculations.
Whilst it is illegal for landlords to harrass tenants it is not illegal for tenants to harrass landlords, and this rarely reported but probably quite common event can be a big problem. The landlord will not report it because of fear of the prejudice against landlords that is so common, and if the rent officer is asked to take into account the cost of keeping a house with troublesome tenants the rent officer tells you it is not part of the job to do any such thing (although in my own borough there is a rent officer who is quite happy to give a landlord misleading advice if it will help the tenant). He or she will tell you that you must sue tenants for damage - an extremely risky activity in present conditions.
Governments could do something to help both tenants and lordlords but for the fact that they desperately need the landlords to take the load off local councils and themselves with regard to the provision of housing. We therefore get this cockup.
If the government would legislate appropriately, it would be possible to resolve some of these problems. There are a few strategies that might be tried.
One strategy would be to allow the landlord to `compulorily purchase` the tenancy at a price fixed by a local valuation officer, thereby getting rid of the `wicked landlord` image that becomes attached to those who buy part-tenanted houses (not infrequently only after long consultation with the tenants, who then become a problem after the transaction) and at the same time giving the tenant sufficient funding to set them up in their own place.
A second possible strategy would be to allow the owner to pay a housing association to accept these tenants on suitable and comparable terms and for the tenants to have an obligation to accept the accomodation being offered, possibly with financial compensation.
A third possible strategy would be for the local council to offer to buy the property at a suitably discounted price if things go wrong between landlord and tenant, thereby making the tenants council tenants and allowing the council to recoup the cost over a short of long period by reselling the house when vacant.
There must be other possibilities, but these might do for a start.
Gabriele Gad and Hugh Harris playing at the Bonnington cafe this coming Sat May 30th about 8.30 till 11. (Saturday just gone a couple of people from the audience sang, making a party atmosphere out of it). Old-fashioned jazz and some poppish modern compositions with classical or jazz influences - you have to hear it to know what I mean. 50`s Beatnik atmosphere, cheap vegetarian food, and sometimes a fire in the hearth.
Bonnington Square, London SE8 UK (Vauxhall BR and Underground stn nearby, plus buses).
LETSSwing playing Tuesday evening 26 May 98, about 7,30pm till midnight Bromley LETS barbecue and trading evening, Bromley Lawn Tennis club, Sandford Rd., Bromley South, Kent, UK.
Click here for sheet music.
If you are in a LETS somewhere and would like LETSSwing to play to you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETSSwing and others here also do gigs for world currencies - a variety of types of music.
This tune was written to try my skills at making the unpredictable work out as something the average audience could enjoy listening to. I do not know quite how you would go about playing it, but have played it with bands, and once they`d got their minds round the weird chord sequence they quite liked it - in fact, some expressed extreme enthusiasm.
On the occasions I have done it with bands I have olayed the tune ona saxophone and then improvised for a while, or I have been the pianist and done the same thing. It needs experiment, and it needs words, which ought to reflect the type of tune it is.
There is a middle eight, but I am short of time to write it out for you, so see you another time. It works like this.
Click here for sheet music.
Sometimes my devices work, and sometimes they don`t, but even when they don`t there is always the chance that if I work on them for long enough they will suddenly work.
Some years ago, designers of cars (no longer either a motorised armchair or a thing for carrying stuff about, but more a fashion item) stopped putting gutters on their products. I suppose this performed the function of reducing the cost of production and at the same time reduced the wind resistance by a minute percentage, thus giving a slight improvement in fuel economy.
Whatever the reason, it became impossible to put a proper roof-rack on such cars, and those who have to use racks for their work were having to either bore holes in the roof or keep two vehicles.
I designed a device that could be fitted `blindly` to the roof from the outside, would look neat, and would allow you to bolt things straight onto it as and when needed.
Do you think I could find a firm that would be interested in my design? I have to say that I only tried British firms or British branches of American firms, but not one of them replied in any other way than to the effect that they would love to see what I was doing but carefully avoiding any commitment whatsoever on their part - parsimonious in the exteme, and foolish to perceive. That is, they were really only interested in intellectual theft.
This pathetic state of mind left the industry in it`s existing equilibrium, but was probably a missed opportunity for someone, in that such a device has such a huge range of possible uses. You could use it on almost anything made of sheet metal to make a firm fixing point into which to drive a bolt, with no welding and almost no mess - even ecologically slightly better. The right person could make a fortune out of it.
So whilst I showed samples already made up I didn`t show people the unassembled devices or how to assemble them because intellectual theft would have been the order of the day. This left me with a patentable mass-market item and nobody who wanted it.
In the end we all lost. Would you be interested in this device?
My constructive dismissal, if it is going to happen, has not yet been completed.
I will try next week.
If anybody has any questions on this subject, just email email@example.com and it might inspire us to do something.
I want some stuff for getting data off Amstrad PCW`s onto ordinary PC`s. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheap laptop for writing the Other News when away from base. Contact email@example.com
(Will take LETS currencies): Industrial quality roofrack about 7 feet X 3.5 feet, made to measure for ford Sierra estate. I used it for woodwork contracting. It is the best I`ve ever seen. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Same again, about 48" by 96", but lesser quality, for Ford Granada estate or Volvo 7 series - free owing to poor condition - but it works. email@example.com
LETSSwing (the London all-LETS-members band) need a percussionist. Suit someone who thinks of playing and writing music as a creative, co-operative, gentle activity, who likes out-of-date pop and jazz, and who doesn`t like making a noise. We play so quiet you could have it in your livingroom without bothering the neighbours most of the time, and are looking at the possibilities for involvement in `the community` (playing in hospitals and so on). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What, no stop press?
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