Pauline Morrissette's U.K. LETS Trip Report
A heartfelt thank you to all who made our British-Scottish mission a success.
Ottawa's First Nations Travel - Consultant David Bonk at 222 Rideau Street, expedited our travel arrangements to leave on December 21, 1996.
Over the Internet we had several messages:
From: 100607.2431@CompuServe.COM (Garry Stafford) Subject: The HRH won't be there.
Have been reading your poems/papers & plans on Econ-LETs for some time & want you to know how helpful they are. I am part of a team of people helping LETs grow in Kent England (Kent is known as the 'Garden of England' so LETs should present no propogation problems.) If you get stuck for places to stay Andy Ryrie (INTERNET:10064102165) who is the energy behind starting our system will be at Buckingham Palace on Christmas day & is opening his house in Canterbury to any one who wants to come. What about a similar publicity exercise on the Archbishop of Canterbury & his 'flock' on Christmas Eve? You may already know by now that 'Lizzy' 'Phil the Greek' & those family members still 'accepted' (as opposed to those who are less likely to get in than you!) will be at Sandringham in Norfolk for Christmas (about 150miles North of London) You will be pleased to know that by the time you arrive in the UK we will have you down as a member of our System in Canterbury. Thanks on behalf of all people who have benefitted from your efforts. Garry Stafford From: Richard.Kay@uce.ac.uk (Richard KAY) To: firstname.lastname@example.org John, You're very welcome to stay with me in Coventry England during your visit up till the 28th December. It's about 90 miles from Buck house. I'm afraid I won't be able to picket with you due to family commitments but wish you all the best with it in any event. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Richard.Kay@uce.ac.uk
From: email@example.com (Andy Ryrie) Subject: Will the Archbishop be in? I would be delighted to welcome you to my humble abode. My phone number (from within the UK) is 01227 700771. My house is called LETS House. I'm about three miles from two railway stations. Canterbury East & West both of which have trains from London and which take an hour and a bit if they're in a good mood. I can collect you from Canterbury in my magnificent bright yellow 'Vote Banana' campaign bus. I am increasingly tempted by your invitation to Buck house or wherever the action is to be had on christmas day and you pitching up here the day before & in need of a lift, could be just what I need to persuade me. I suppose I'm a bit personally trepidated about attracting the glare of publicity as I think the current smokescreen quite is not inconvenient at the moment. Andy Ryrie
Plans were being made to accommodate and move us around Britain. The excitement was building.
After spending our first night at a Bed and Breakfast in London, we proceeded to Canterbury. Andy Ryrie came in his bright yellow "Vote Banana" campaign bus. On our arrival at LETS House, Andy had a hardy vegetarian stew waiting with all the trimmings. We retired to a warm fire in the living room and afterwards talked into the wee hours about the progress of LETS in Canterbury and Kent. Andy has produced at his expense LETS cheque signing books, samples attached.
The following day Andy had made arrangements for us to have a meeting with Garry Stafford who is actively promoting LETS in Kent. We picked up a friend on the way, Nicholas (Nick) Peachey. Nick, a colorful character, is an artist in many ways, musically and we later learned, an artist on canvass. In his home, we viewed an exhibition of drawings and paintings made whilst he worked in the Mental Health industry.
Networking was done during the evening. Angela Stafford, Gary's wife, active in LETS is also a school teacher and saw an opportunity to introduce Nick's type of music into the classroom, Nick seemed delighted and fully agreed to participate. John and Nick, both playing accordions, harmonized and learned new music from each other. We had the pleasure of meeting sons David and Tom. Angela had baked homemade mincemeat tarts, my absolute favourite. Just ask my mother about the Christmas I sat under the kitchen table, while everyone was in bed, with all the pies just out of oven cooling on top . I believe I ate l4 before I was caught in the act with tin plates all around and dad videoing it on camera. Again, we had a pleasant and productive night getting a lot of insight from Garry.
Dec. 23. had a much needed sleep in. The afternoon brought a delightful walk through fields, forest, down winding lanes, hedged with holly and ivy, to an authentic English pub "The Three Horseshoes." Owner-Operator Derritt Williams is a retired movie producer who worked on a film with Orson Wells attested to by pictures around the pub. Derritt is one of the very few, if not the only pub operator who can perform a wedding ceremony and have a reception all under the same roof. He kept us entertained with his many stories while we enjoyed the roaring fire, drinking Winter Warmer Ale, enjoying pleasant company of the locals and the warmth of the establishment in general. Derritt is also well known for his summer JAZZ Festivals, bringing in talent from around the globe.
We walked back to LETS House to enjoy a wonderful meal of Linda McCartney's, vegetarian "Deep Country Pies", which I recommend. I thought I was eating a hardy steak and kidney pie with not an ounce of meat within and again, with all the trimmings. Well done Andy. We retired to the warmth of a fire and Sue Nyirenda (LETS Member) friend and associate of Andy's, joined us for music and laughter. John on accordion, Andy on guitar, Sue playing a huge pea pod rattle and myself on bongo drums. A great time was had by all.
The following morning it was an early departure to London. Nick Peachey joined us, plans were to picket Buckingham Palace. But due to the holiday season, everything was deserted, all shops shut down, and not a telephone book in sight. Streets empty except for homeless elderly ladies sleeping in boxes, youths huddled up in sleeping bags, rubbish scattered and blowing in the streets of this once beautiful city. A sad sight to behold. Andy and Nick did a bit of sightseeing with us, then they were off to do their holiday visits. We took lodgings at Arden House B & B, 12 St. George's Drive, 2 blocks from rail and coach stations.
26th Dec. We had a hardy English breakfast then headed for Coventry where Richard Kay would be our Host for the next couple of days. Richard communicated over the net that he had done a lot of work on Multi-Registry Systems. He has programmed a working prototype which you can talk to, see appended printout of his message. On arrival in Coventry, Richard took us to a wonderful Tandoori restaurant where you purchase your alcoholic beverages off the premises and bring them with you. We were treated to some delectable curried dishes and honey almond bread.
The following day, I had the real pleasure of having the company of Rosemary (Rosie) age 6, Andrew, age 8 and Stephen age 10. While John and Richard proceeded with arrangements, Internet work and calls, I went for a walk with these 3 different and very talented young people. I found as we walked and explored, took photos, that all were very interested in the environment. We all agreed that the park was in somewhat of a shambles with garbage. So home for garbage bags. We went back to park, but had agreed we would only collect aluminum cans because Stephen's school recycles them for funding. After the morning flew by, lunch, then it was down to the drawing board. Our mission, to form a committee to discuss and design a clean-up truck for park areas, sidewalks, etc. It was a wonderful experience to watch as names flashed forward for this special vehicle, "The Muck Truck" from Rosie, "The Trashmobile" and "The Green Machine." Then the intricate designing to handle bottles, cans, paper and doggy doo was a major concern, but, nothing was too complicated for these 3 little engineers on the job. After dinner, gifted Andrew gave us a tune or two on the piano which enchanted us. Then it was photo opp time and some good old fashioned romping around on the floor. I believe John took the worst beating.
28th Dec. Said our goodbyes to the Kay family. Heading to Burnley, Lancashire where I was born to say hi to some family members. We arrived around at 6p.m. after literally making bus connections in minutes. Having to change several times, running to a bank machine in Manchester and making the Burnley bus by 5 minutes. At Burnley town centre, I hopped in a cab and went to see Uncle Vincent and Aunt Irene. They were dressed up waiting for Allan to take them to the club. They actually thought I was him. Allan took them to the Miners Club then got John and I established at the Travel Inn, brand new, on Queen Victoria Rd. then dropped us off at the Miners Club where we had a fine time listening to a great band with story telling and bingo in between sets. The following day, Allan and his lovely wife Christine picked us up for yet another evening out. I last saw Allan when he was 15 and Uncle Vincent reminded me of the time he took us down the mine's 448 stairs.
John and Allan got along famously for a first meeting as I did with Christine. At one point she exclaimed, "this is like being at the movies." Allan being a professor of auto mechanics and dealing with databases kept up with John, I feel Allan will be coming on board one way or another. The following day Allan was anxious that I meet his son Scott who attends Liverpool University and would be down for a New Year's Celebration. We spent a night at their home with sons' Steven and Scott, we watched a Monarchy film called "PALLAS"/DALLAS, a comedy that would crack the straightest face, boy did we laugh, sure would like to get a copy of that for mom. To all the Andertons, it was especially great to see you all. It made my Christmas Holiday special too.
Ken Palmerton of Hebden Bridge was our next contact. He collected us about noon to take us to his home. Took us through the scenic high roads of Yorkshire. As we hit the top, all we could see were these 100 foot high wind generators. In the valley below we looked, we saw top-bottom housing, a unique housing design which, although built on the side of cliffs, allows each front door to face a road, whether on the top or the bottom. This was a quaint, rustic, village type atmosphere with little bridges and streams everywhere adding to the breathtaking scenery. My mother has informed me that at the age of 3, I had lived in Hebden Bridge which might account for the great energy I felt there.
Kathleen, Ken's wife, had a wonderful hearty stew and dumplings for our dinner. The Leader of the Islamic Party of Great Britain, David Pidcock, joined us. John, David and Ken talked into the wee hours about LETS and how the Islamic Party could aid the cause. David, a very warm and witty individual, shared a couple of jokes during dinner. My favorite:
Three men apply for a job at the local police station. The chief says my test is simple. He interviews the first and asks him "Who killed Jesus Christ?" He replied "Pontius Pilate." "You pass. Go in the locker room and put on a uniform." The second comes in, also answers "Pontius Pilate" and is told to go in the locker room and put on a uniform. The third guy couldn't answer who killed Jesus Christ so he was told "Go into the locker room to think about it for awhile but don't put on a uniform." The other two saw him and asked "Why aren't you putting on a uniform?" He answered, "Don't tell anyone but I'm already working on a murder case undercover."
The following day John had the privilege of sitting and talking with 86 year old Wilfrid Price, an old Social Credit Greenshirt who fought interest rates since the Great Depression. Attached is just one of the many wonderful articles that Wilfrid has written over his many years titled Pollution of Body and Mind. Wilfrid also writes poetry. That evening David Pidcock, Kevin Donnelly, yet another wonderful poet and Labour party supporter, Rupert, Ken and John had another meeting of minds laying the foundation for our meetings in London to follow later.
I was busy in Hebden Bridge town center doing shopping for the tea and accidentally ran into yet two more active members of the Calderdale LETS- Amanda Jane Lees of Stoke-On-Trent and Jean Kessler of Hebden Bridge. They were pleased to hear how we were talking to the politicians about adopting a National Lets.
A hearty thank you to Kenneth and Kathleen. Although Kathleen suffers from a breathing disability, she coped very nicely with the extra meals and especially with all the extra company in her home, a real hostess.
Jan. 6, the day we were leaving for Scotland, a full page article appeared in the UK Guardian titled "Election Battleground/Local currencies gain ground in era of globalisation" "Creating more than a token revolution." (appended). Ken drove us to the Manchester bus station to connect with bus to Glasgow. As we sat in the coffee shop, a young man named Scott, who was also heading for Glasgow, gave me a Scottish Teddy bear. He lived in Drumchapel, the place named in the Guardian article!
In Glasgow we made our way to the Rennie MacIntosh B & B, 220 Renfrew St., where we settled in to make some phone calls. Eventually we made contact with James Gibb Stuart, also a writer and publisher. We had no idea at the time of booking into the MacIntosh that our Glasgow connection was only a couple of blocks away from us. Mr. Stuart called us and we went to meet him. He is another gentleman who has been working hard over the past years on bringing out the message of Monetary Reform via his publications and he gave us a few of his different books: "The Money Bomb" and "Economics of the Green Renaissance." We spent some quality time with his staff Gary, Katie, Cliff Morrison who runs the Internet web site for Mr. Stuart. Mr. Stuart then took us to his home in Bridge of Weir where his wife Nancy greeted us with a meal then some relaxing conversation.
Next morning it was back on the bus to Coventry, Richard Kay again picked us up, we had a meal then hit the phones making connections in London with Sabine McNeill.
Meeting Sabine McNeill turned out to be the Grand Finale of our journey. She enthusiastically pulled together speaking engagements for John, arranging locations and moving forces into action. She coordinated everything for us and made us feel like most-welcomed guests in her home. If you ever need an event coordinated be it a wedding or a political rally, I feel no task would be too small or too large for this astonishing lady. Our first meeting was at the Mandeer Restaurant, Mandeer meaning Temple. Our Host, owner of Mandeer, Mr. Ramesh Patel, charmed us with conversation, fed us, allowed us to view his kitchen and the makings of special delicacies whilst we awaited the arrival of Sabine and the other guests invited to speak.
The Head table consisted of Sabine as Hostess, John Turmel, Leader of the Abolitionist Party of Canada as guest speaker, host Ramesh Patel, Mary Fee - LETSLINK London, Sahib Mustaqim Bleher - General Secretary, Islamic Party of Britain, Kaleem Mohammad Alloyne-Islamic Party, London Representative, Dr. Vidya Anand - National Education Committee, Labour. We were also fortunate to have the presence of Robin Johannsen and his mother Francoise. Robin is a student at Farnborough College of Technology and is doing a documentary on LETS. Robin was with us throughout these two days, videoing everything including the picket of Buckingham Palace, the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada. We owe much to this young man who has documented history in the making of such a news worthy event.
Later it was off to the Global Cafe where John again made a presentation on a National LETS. Nigel Foster, the owner, then took David Edmond, Sabine, myself and John for a meal. Thank you Nigel.
The following day it was back to the Global Cafe after our picketing sessions. That was a lot of fun with many people honking horns and giving us the thumbs up sign. The signs read "Bankers are crooks" and "Abolish Interest Rates." A bobbie told us at the Bank of England that we had to get rid of "bankers are crooks" sign because it is prohibited to insult the Bank of England but we could remain with the "Abolish Interest Rates" sign. We were told we could use both down the street at the Royal Bank of Canada though.
At the Global Cafe, we met with David Williams, the first officer ever employed by a local council to promote LETS, who is standing for Labour MP. Mary Fee was also in attendance, Nigel, Sabine, David and myself. David produced a bill currency in Standard minutes and Hours. (copy appended).
That evening it was back to the Mandeer Restaurant for yet another meeting. Head table: Dr.Anand, his two associates Dr. Vasant Raval, Professor on Management, Krishna B. Gamre, candidate for Referendum Party in forthcoming election, Mr. Abdul Hamid Gazi, Founder, Chairman Federal Party of Europe, Andrew Lockwood, Rainbow Centre, Martin Kavanagh, Rainbow centre. Robin Johannsen on video. Sabine McNeill moderator. Ramesh Patel again fed us all and gifted me with book no. 228, a book he did in 8 languages, of poetry to his wife for the event of his 25th wedding anniversary.
We owe a lot to Sabine McNeill, especially for putting together on such short notice these meetings of fine minds. Sabine also gifted me with a book she wrote "The Art and Technology of NETWORKING", for personal and Global Transformation.
On our return flight home, I counted the names of all that we had come in contact with, it totalled 76. So, if I have left someone out or forgotten to mention an event, don't be surprised.
Again, I have to thank Sabine for coming to my aid. She has eloquently recapped in her communication of Friday, Jan. 17 our hectic last two days, which I append. Thank you Sabine this will finish off my synopsis of the trip nicely:
Date: Fri Jan 17 03:25:55 1997 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sabine Kurjo McNeill) Subject: LET'S JOIN FORCES for the UK ELECTION To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (David Williams),
Hi, I'm sorry I've been a 'lurker', but better a reader than a non-participant, I suppose. I am now speaking up and out for the following reasons: 1. I put John Turmel and his wonderful lady Pauline up for two days and spent time introducing them to people. As a consequence, my LETS thinking has changed quite fundamentally. The last time this happened was when I met Margrit Kennedy, author of "Interest and Inflation-free Money", who gave me five little booklets in German by Japanese Y. Otani on capitalism, democracy, the land question, the money problem and marxism. The volume that should accompany such an eye opening sequence would be on Mass Media and the Internet... 2. To make use of the UK election or not to make use of the election, that is the question. And if yes, how - that is the politically deeper question. John, as the world's expert on losing elections (41 of them), is also one of the best media stunt men I've ever come across (he LOVES picketing). The fact that he is bold enough to dare to make a fool of himself is in my eyes a great asset. The amazing thing is that his stunts are for the right causes and that he puts his money where his mouth is. And a court case against the Bank of Canada is not only a stunt, it is an intellectual exercise. John is one of the brightest people on this planet. Otherwise he would not win at gambling. And he opened my eyes to the mathematics of interest which I had seen from a completely different angle before. 3. In 1989 I bought the LETS software for some $100 from Michael Linton. In 1997 I learn that John Turmel financed him by $20,000 and there is NO acknowledgment anywhere except in John's own documentation. 4. One of the major beauty aspects of LETS is the possibility for acknowledgment. So here I want to acknowledge John, but also Michael and Liz Shephard in England and everybody else who has ever put efforts into LETS. For whoever does it, surely does it for as best as they can. If we knew better, we would do better. 5. If we can't do better, it is because "the system" that has educated our thinking and that is running out there is sooo wrong on sooo many levels that it simply takes time and people and communication and conversations and reading to eventually get a glimpse of the whole picture. Once we think we have that, what do we do? Where do we put our energies? I for one have now decided as follows: ** I have benefitted from John's visit by feeling re-energised about LETS and the GREEN MONEY NETWORK that I have been trying to make happen in Central London around Mandeer (Sanskrit for temple) the vegetarian restaurant with its most wonderful owner Ramesh Patel with experience with commercial barter in the US ** Ramesh has introduced me to a wonderful Dr. Vidha Anand who has stood for elections before and who is advising me in my political thinking in this British situation. His company monitors radio and TV for major clients ** I have talked to a most powerful PR consultant who has given me a number of suggestions for high level political and economic approaches ** I have submitted a book proposal to a publisher ** I have submitted "Winning and Losing with Exponential Growth or The Mathematics of Money" to a TV producer who calls himself a 'recreational mathematician' ** I have contacted the author of the website on UK Politics who is willing to help ** After having introduced him to John, I have encouraged David Williams, the first officer to have been employed by a Council and Labour candidate for Uxbridge to join econ-lets as he is the most prominent British LETS spokesperson who will continue the LETS course that I set up at Richmond College. He has obtained the money to set up West London LIFT for interest-free trading among businesses and is admirable in his ability to think locally for community and politically for LETS
** I have composed the attached file "Why LETS" as my one-page analysis of "the whole picture" ** I have composed a letter to politicians which we shall discuss tonight as a follow-up from John's visit. For the moment, we call ourselves "MoneyPeace" with "Peaceful Political Pressure through Constructive Economic Education" and "Peace through Money is Peace through Equality and Economic Democracy" as subtitles on the letterhead. I believe that GreenPeace is better known than LETS and hence the associations are more obvious. EVERYBODY needs stages of education: economists, bankers, politicians, people like you and I. As GreenPeace educates about environmental issues in media-dramatic ways, maybe we can use the Internet media- effectively as well as cameras for John-style picket posters. ** I plan to organise presentations and a computer conference for politicians at GLOBAL CAFE, the latest bestest Internet Cafe near Piccadilly tube which brilliant Nigel Foster, ex-IBM, has put in 3 locations in Switzerland and 3 in Malaysia before opening opposite Saatchi & Saatchi (biggest PR company who promoted Mrs Thatcher) in Soho. ** I am working with computer communicators from NetReach to make a "Green Money Voice Bank" happen as a bulletin board and a tool for recording transactions over the phone ** I plan to write not only to all politicians but also to all banks once the group is together, once I am truly not alone any more. At the time I thought I'd campaign for "Economic Democracy" with "Young Women for Democracy" in Amsterdam - lots of them from the East - now let's do it with econ-lets for the UK election! If not you who? If not now when? Thank you John, for being who you are. You will become even more effective when you practise the ZEN of COMMUNICATION and the TAO of MEDITATION. And thank you Richard for making econ-lets possible and putting John in touch with me. And thank you Michael for putting LETS on the map before Liz did in Britain. January 23 is a major unusual planetary constellation where the project GAIAMIND (www.gaiamind.com) invites people to meditate at 17.30 GMT. Greenwich - the centre of the world for measuring time. Near London's City - the centre of the world for measuring the power of money with indices that are based on illusory mathematics... LET's JOIN FORCES constructively, LET'S GO for GLOBAL TALLIES!
Off the Internet, we again received the Islamic's Party support for LETS candidates in the upcoming UK general election:
From: email@example.com (Islamic Party of Britain) Newsgroups: uk.religion.islam Subject: Islamic Party joins Canadian abolitionists Date: Fri Jan 10 16:03:51 1997
In a meeting in London with John Turmel, leader of the Canadian abolitionist party, the Islamic Party of Britain representatives re-affirmed their intention to join forces with anybody willing to fight the evil of interest which is most strongly condemned in Islam (the Qur'an contains a declaration of war from Allah and His messenger against usury), as it is prohibited in Islam's monotheistic precedessors, Judaism and Christianity, in their unadulterated message.
The eloquent Canadian who argues for the introduction of a government-backed LETS (Local Exchange Trading System), a free and green alternative to interest-based debt-finance, is picketing Buckingham Palace today to petition the Queen to support the scheme. He has offered her free credit from the tens of thousands of LETS supporters already in the UK, some of whom are local councils using the scheme to alleviate the hardships of the money drought which results in unemployment and poverty in spite of people's ability to be productive.
He has promised to return for the British general election expected in the spring to run a joined campaign to form a coalition promising support for any candidate willing to support this issue. The Islamic Party of Britain has made the fight against an interest-based monetary system is key issue since it fought the Bradford bye-election in 1990 against "Satanic Purses". The party hopes that the issue can be effectively raised in the forth- coming general elections, and is willing to support any candidate or pressure group joining the campaign. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.muslims.net/islamparty/islamparty.htm
John and I wish to thank you all for your hospitality and hard work on the cause, your dedication shines through. When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. If you are going after Moby Dick, take along lots of tartar sauce.
Please note in Sabine's message of Jan. 17th, you are invited on JANUARY 23rd at 17:30 GMT to meditate. AMEN
P.S. We didn't get to see the Queen, but she was aware of us being in the United Kingdom:
Mr. J. Turmel, Abolitionist Party of Canada, Box 111, Ottawa, Canada, K2C 3L4.
6th January, 1997.
Dear Mr. Turmel,
I am commanded by The Queen to thank you for your letter of 11th December with which you forwarded your book on your Abolish Interest Rates Project.
Her Majesty appreciated your thoughtfulness in writing to her as you about your project. The Queen does not, however, wish to take up your offer to open an account as part of the LETSystem Scheme, though she was interested to know of your efforts in establishing it.
Thank you for writing as you did, and I hope that you enjoyed your recent visit to this country.
Yours sincerely, Simon Gimson
Thank you, your Majesty. Our trip was wonderful.
Pauline Morrissette and John C. Turmel.
Send a comment to John Turmel