9 August 1999.
Index of earlier issues - click here.
THE RSI is still a little bit of a problem, so there may yet be further interruptions in the regularity of The Other News.
BUT this week it was not that. I went on holiday - and now I'm back this incomplete edition is going out early owing to other commitments on Sunday night.
(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site. Look at the Index of Earlier issues for a start. There are also some drawings and sheet music.)
THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IDIOTS in politics. In fact, one might argue that it seems as though one needs to be one to be qualified for the job.
This week, the government have been trying to discover the answer to a question - a question whose answer most of us have known for years. The problem with the answer from the politician's point of view is that it does not comfortably fit with the current political dogma.
The question, then, has been: why is it that so many people in government jobs have been retiring early due to ill health (thus getting an early pension and state benefits)? And the answer has been that which was apparent to many people as a cause to come, or a cause already in hand - for many years, namely that the strategy of trying to continually cut back on the number of people working whilst at the same time trying to increase the amount that those remaining in work do puts an unmanageable level of stress on them, causes the job to not get done, and in the long run costs more than employing sufficient people to do the job and treating them decently (is anyone out there old enough to remember people being treated decently whilst at work?).
Any old prat could have known that, and most actually did, but not politicians, and it has been politicians who have been making the rules.
However, they have not been entirely blatant. In order to pretend to be a caring society the previous and the present tory governments have been careful to put in place legislation that protects people from bad employment practices, but have at the same time put in place employment tribunals that have near enough no respect for employees, thus largely avoiding the cost of actually being a good employer at the same time as pretending to be one.
The chief feature of the PR part of this strategy has been to use such terms as 'Investors in People', 'centre of excellence' and so on, and the plan quite badly backfired last week when a rebellious employment tribunal panel failed to conform and declared a lady who had suffered some pretty heavy stress at work to have actually suffered that stress, and ordered that she should be compensated. The unions jumped on the bandwagon (having shed half their membership by thinking of number one and not jumping on it for several years before), and the public is now braced for a rash of claims, most of which will be justified and a few of which may justly succeed if the government are not careful to weed out those panel members who wish to play the game (or not, according to who's side you are on).
I am looking forward to this, because if the government is forced to become a decent employer (because it is cheaper than paying out all those claims) the private sector will be forced to follow suit, and we will be able to see whether the current apparently irrational theory that keeping as few people employed as possible creates wealth is true or not. There will be a whole lot more consumers, and what I hope we will also see is whether this creates inflation.
On the other hand, politicians are people who think of number one, so what may actually happen is that we become another Third World state.
BANKERS MAKE A LOT of money out of interest, but I rather wonder whether, given that they have no tangible product they actually produce any general prosperity, or are in fact parasites heavily disguised as philanthropists.
I daresay many people will have noticed that we have seen almost no inflation during the past few years, but that somehow this does not seem to have been of any help to them. They are still currently paying from 6% up on the cheapest of their borrowings - their mortgage - despite a base rate of round about 3% in Europe (and of course many of them have become unemployed during that time).
The theory may well be that the lower the interest rate goes the lower the rate of inflation. Those of you who are into drawing graphs might like to plot a graph showing inflation against interest rates. According to my theory zero interest or a negative interest would create zero inflation or negative inflation.
And this raises the question - would those persons who have a real product (as opposed to those who manipulate money for a living) be better off or worse off in a state of no inflation or deflation? And would the banks go bankrupt - and finally would that matter?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
London Journey - a trip from Docklands through Beckenham and back to Docklands.
(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.
(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).
We are still redesigning The Other News From England. Noticed the change so far?
There is at least one new article this week, and articles on many subjects in earlier issues (which can be seen by clicking below).
Index of earlier issues.
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.
(I wish someone would make a contribution before I am forced to put in some of my own stuff here).
So new, in fact, that there is nothing there. I want to open a section of this site to be used as a kind of green reference. Ordinary folks usually know what to do in order to be green, but there are times when (a) they don`t know the technology, or (b)they are short of ideas, or (c) they would like to see what some other people think.
So the purpose of this area will be for people to describe to others how they made their own electricity, or saved a great deal of domestic water being wasted, or captured the methane gas from their cesspit, designed their solar bicycle with regenerative braking and portable overnight windcharger, caused plants to grow in a desert, made a solar water pump, etc.
A site for forward-looking people, in fact.
It may be very difficult to edit, but I would like a few articles and tips that are concise, easily understood and ecologically useful. These will be left on the site, and gradually as the number of articles builds up hopefully somebody will construct an index. I won`t volunteer myself, as I have yet to make a subject index for the whole Other News site.
One week carried an article that might be of interest to anybody thinking of taking out an Abbey National mortgage - or those who already have one.
Interestingly, one of the London papers described them as being "among the greediest".
There will soon be a new twist to this story, but I am not sure what it will be until it happens. They are trying to make it as difficult as possible instead of as easy as possible to resolve the present dispute.
(see last week but one).
This Lexmark business gets worse. I refilled the black cartridge with an ordinary cartridge refilling outfit and it won`t print despite telling me that the cartridge is full and that it is printing.
In an earlier issue I told you about my feelings regarding Tempo retailers and the Lexmark 3200 printer I bought from them. I have now found out another thing about it.
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.
These people keep springing up and then disappearing again. They have used a selection of names, but the people always seem to be the same. They are a disco without smoke, alcohol or drugs, and serve refreshments (probably very healthy, macrobiotic, veggy, etc) and dance to a wide range of types of music - including "classical", I am told. Sometimes they go to the Bonnington Cafe afterwards. Also, they occasionally turn up at a LETSSwing gig as a dancing group, and make the dancing a great deal more fun.
Saturdays 7-10pm , 6 March, 3 April, 8th May, at The Contact Centre, 60 Hambolt Rd., London SW4. (10 mins from Clapham Common tube stn. or buses 137, 35, 37. For info ring Kathy Hughes 0181 671 7300. They would like more participants.
A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email email@example.com
8- or more-track tape recorder. email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also want good working VW or Volvo 7 series 2.4litre turbodiesel engine. This is the type that goes in an LT van or a Volvo 740TD. email email@example.com
£2,000,000 at 0% interest would quite good too, although I would probably waste quite a lot of it employing musicians to do the great work.
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