16 November 1998
We are still redesigning The Other News From England. At last there are a few drawings (see below), and work has begun on putting together old articles form the early nineties. It will be somewhat sparse for some time yet
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.
There are some drawings on the site this week, and they work with my browser. The intention is that you will be able to download them, but I am still not quite sure how this is done. Presumably you just copy and paste into a graphics application.
I will be working to make the sheet music accessible (some people have complained!) next, and if I get one email saying it has worked I`ll put some more there.
The problem has been largely to do with file types.
My parents and grandparents paid weekly insurance payments for most or all of their working lives so that they and their descendants would have a system of support in the event of difficulties. Now, with all but one of them dead, it would appear that someone has nicked the cash.
Politicians of the right would not want us to perceive it this way, but there is no denying that if we had wanted to keep the full welfare state instead of a ghost of it the rich would have had to pay greater taxes. If they`d had any sense they would have used it too, as did the few rich people I knew during the years before Thatcher. It was very good value.
Mainly they used the state health service, but I am sure on occasions they used other things too.
The reason for using the state health service would not necessarily have been because they had paid for it, but it would probably also have been because in the private sector it would be only the profitable treatments that would be offered, whilst the non-profitable ones would remain National Health Service activities. One might also point to the cases where the case would be more profitable if done this way than that, and where they would be more profitable if done than not, when the most likely solution might have been to do nothing, or to suggest the patient might do better using homoeopathy, Chiropractic, or whatever. There is always the greed factor to get in the way of a proper service.
That is enough of that. What I was really interested in was the fact that we seem to have been robbed by the rich, but that it has been made to seem respectable by the fact that the government organised it.
That was a government made up of people who in many cases became very rich almost overnight - and for the person in the street there appears to be no easy way of accounting for how. Having been in business once, I have experienced policemen thinking I must be up to no good because they couldn`t understand how I made a profit, so I know this can happen, but in the case of that government we aren`t talking of just making a living but becoming what most of us would call fabulously - even embarrassingly - wealthy in a matter of a year or two by processes unknown. I don`t suppose my policeman would dare investigate.
So - my grandparents, parents and myself have paid a very great deal over the years to a fund intended for your welfare and I want to know why you aren`t getting the full benefit of it.
We`re not even getting the benefit ourselves.
Economists want us to believe money is a good thing, but that is because it is the only tool they know of for getting things done.
This week I spent more time on trying to do theoretical things to do with money than I spent on actually creating a product, serving anyone, achieving an end or pursuing a goal of any importance, and I really began to resent it.
When someone sends you a bill they expect you to read it, calculate if it is right without sufficient time or information available to make a sensible judgment, then pay it. Paying it, of course, involves one or more time-consuming activities like writing a cheque, putting it in an envelope with the bill, stamping it, taking it to the post, or going to the shop to pay.
Unavoidable, you say? Maybe. But maybe not in some cases. It may be more sensible in certain cases to dispense with money and just both accept what`s being done for you, and give your services for nothing. As long as all or most of us do our little bit there is great abundance - in fact, if it wasn`t for greed ther would be no need for money.
However, what really got me onto this subject was junk mail, which never has any other purpose than to try to make money for someone - someone obsessed one might suppose, otherwise they would do something better with their lives.
This week I wasted about an hour and a half trying to decide what to do with the mass of junk mail that came, and got no benefit from any of it. Furthermore, this mail represented about a hundredth of a perfectly good tree pulverised to make paper.
That was an hour and a half, and then in addition to that I received government documentation that nobody except a highly trained civil servant (special language, see) could be expected to understand, so that I wasted several more hours trying to find out what it was for and what I should do with/about it.
In fact, I still haven`t decided, but there is one thing certain about it: It is something to do with money.