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The Other News From England.

25 Oct 1999 - and only a day late.

This week.

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 - there was this week.

(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site.)

Old issues.

I am working again on old issues of Other News (1993) and hope soon to put a few more of them on the site.

The Appeal Court.

To that great temple of corruption the Royal Courts of Justice this week to see an appeal application, and observe the behaviour of that strange species the lawyer. These people want us to perceive them to be honest, upright, honourable citizens, yet seem unable to behave themselves when they have the opportunity to demonstrate that this is the case - although I must say there are exceptions, and I think you would be lucky to find you had engaged one of these to act on your behalf.

The judge was the lawyer who impressed me most, with statements like "if the case was nonsense it would have been struck out", and with such highly honourable actions as not allowing the appeal to go ahead just because the defendants (Barclay's Bank, I believe) had relied on a proveably forged document to win their case and the magistrate was a friend of the person at Barclay's who had been acquitted. The judge asked for more substantial evidence and tried to make sure that when the matter comes back in fourteen days it will come in front of him rather than another judge. He said there was no need to serve any actions on Westminster Bank, which I believe must have been another combatant at some stage in this matter. Besides, he pointed out, whilst it was a criminal action to forge a document it was not criminal to condone a forgery - which is what Barclays were alleged to have done. Quite right, I suppose, but it makes you wonder.........

The matter in hand was a case in which it was alleged by the appelant that Barclay's had fiddled him out of a business valued at some few millions of pounds. As the man was now living on Income Support it would be very easy for Barclays (or for that matter almost any business) to get away with the alleged crime. The judge suggested legal aid, but of course as it was a commercial matter this would not be possible.

Whilst all this was going on I sat and took notes, and at one stage a young minion was summoned who came into the court and took whispered instructions from the usher, then left, re-entering on my side of the court and sitting as close as possible to me. Assuming he was interested to see what I was writing I moved away to see what he would do. He sat there for a minute, then leaving the court by the door through which he had entered reappeared once more through the other and whispered to the usher, and finally left.

Whilst I didn't feel I understood all the issues in this very long-drawn-out case, I did not feel confident that the matter was being heard with any particular view to justice being done, and left feeling uneasy about all participants including the judge.

Which neatly leads me on to a subject that has not been raised for some time:

Freemasons and the law.

At the start of the present New Tory government someone was very enthusiastic about making sure that judges (even if not all the other people involved in manipulating the law) should be obliged to declared their membership if they are freemasons. A few judges and lawyers tried to argue that it was a pointless invasion of people's privacy, freemasons are honest god-fearing men who could not possibly misuse their network and secret signalling system, that it was not illegal to have a society with secrets even if it was illegal to have a secret society, and much other twaddle along similar lines. On the government's side the argument was that nevertheless the public do not trust freemasons, and that if freemasons are the sort of people they claim to be they would not be wanting to keep their affiliations a secret.

The argument went on for a while, and in due course it burnt itself out, leaving us with no improvement that I know of, and just as uncertain as ever about whether we are or are not being stitched up by a bank manager, estate agent, lender, used car salesman, etc., or whether the judge is quite genuinely a bumbling well-meaning dimwit.

This some of us will never be sure of for as long as we do not know if the judge is a freemason.

On the other hand, if we know the judge is a freemason we can learn all the special masonic signals and throw the matter into complete chaos, or alternatively either object to being heard by a judge we would expect to be bent, or insist on being heard by a judge we expect to be honest - because there will be people who expect freemasons to be completely honorable.

Meanwhile, from where I sit it seems highly questionable whether the man will have any chance with his matter against Barclay's Bank, because there is more than a little suspicion in one quarter that freemasons are involved at every level and had already decided how this matter would come out when the magistrate acqitted his friend.

Perhaps what should happen now is that the appeal court judge should declare publicly whether he is or is not a freemason, thus at least removing that question from the matter.


There has been a great struggle going on in this country in recent months about Summerhill, that strange school that tries to respect the child above all other things and therefore allows children to develop at their own pace (wow! revolutionary and radical!). The government, being a new species of tory party, have decided that all children 'should not be denied access to .....' ...centre of excellence, investors in people, chance to compete........waffle waffle waffle...'.

The problem we have here is that in real life people do develop at all sorts of different speeds and in all sorts of different ways, and no matter how neurotically you try to alter that fact it will remain there with us.

I find this matter disturbing because the government would like us all to attend schools of a type I would be very wary of my children attending. I think the idea is that as our politicians are all exemplary and perfect persons the rest of the world should have the opportunity to emulate them. Obviously, a perfectly formed intellect and completely unbiassed critical facility of the type that these people have is something to be desired by everybody - and if they don't desire it they must be forced to understand why they should desire it.

Zoe Neill, the person who inherited Summerhill, has the problem of trying to justify the existence of a school that is not even trying to be (that stuff above), but that nevertheless has a long history of ex-pupils in large numbers becoming all those things that the government believes they should aspire to become - even without knowing (and possibly because of not knowing) what the government wants.

However, with such a diverse collection of people (and scattered world-wide) it appears to be almost impossible to put out a statistic, which is possibly all that a government could understand. It is very easy to say (and to see, if you are close enough to these people) that there is an unusually high proportion of 'graduate calibre' persons amongst ex-Summerhillians, a very high proportion of teachers, lecturers, doctors, engineers, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, and the like - and upon closer scrutiny one finds that most continue through life learning new things all the time and getting 'qualifications' only when the qualifications are actually needed to do the next thing in their (often varied) career - just the thing the government pretends to be interested in.

I defy anyone to make a meaningful statistic out of a thousand or so people (because that is probably the total number of Summerhillians there have ever been) whose behaviour, though forward looking, is so unpredictable. I know of at least one who has had three separate professional careers in one working life.

There is pressure on Summerhill to close I am told.

I suspect it would be a very great loss, not just to world education (for Summerhill is an international school), if the government succeed in this quest, but I don't suppose that would be enough to stop them. Perhaps worse than that, though, is the idea that there should be no real choice about the type of education your children are offered - which seems to be where this is going.


The stuff that doesn`t often get changed now follows:

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).

Progress is slow but we`re still moving on.

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.

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.


(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. Authors will be named if they so wish. 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 several weeks back).

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.


A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email

8- or more-track tape recorder. email

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

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.

That`s all this week folks