Contents of this page (scroll down the page to see the full text of the article which interests you)
- Is my optimism justified about my apartment's power supply circuitry? (25 Jul 2002)
- 'Torche' acquiesce in delays to homosexual law reform by Conservative Party (25 Jul 2002)
- Conservatives sack Chairman David Davis, appoint Theresa May instead (24 Jul 2002)
- Hoogstraten convicted of manslaughter of business rival (23 Jul 2002)
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Is my optimism justified about my apartment's power supply circuitry? (25 Jul 2002)
This article is of purely personal interest to me - sorry, but I couldn't resist writing about this, specially as the previous article (see immediately below) covered a rather unpleasant interlude and I thought something a little 'lighter' was justified in the circumstances.
Since moving to my new apartment almost two years ago, there have been frequent power outages as a result of the master trip on the main junction box tripping out. It has been quite irritating (frequent need to reset various time-sensistive equipment, etc., and spoilage of food in the freezer specially when the outage has occurred when I have been away on vacations). The system has been looked at on numerous occasions by the builder's electrical contractor and although he suggested various potential causes, and carried out a number of possible remedial jobs, the problem has persisted. Some weeks ago I thought the problem had been resolved by the electrician in the town whom I had begun to call on to try and trace whatever the fault was - he identified a very poorly wired circuit in a multiple light switch, so that whenever one of the switches (which operates some halogen downlighters) was turned on it had begun to cause the master trip to operate. This earlier optimism has proved to have been premature, however, as over the past ten days there have been two power outages.
Today the electrician from the town visited again and, after I had disconnected all items connected to wall sockets throughout the apartment, began a thorough check of the system, beginning at the junction box itself. It appears that one item had been incorrectly wired into the junction box, which he thinks has resulted in an imbalance in the power-feed in and out; not being very technically minded, I have only a vague understanding of what he was trying to explain to me. The item concerned is the junction box which controls the television signal booster for all the television aerial sockets around the apartment - there is one in every room, and two in some. The reason why I am 'cautiously' optimistic is that during one of the builder's electrical contractor's earlier efforts to trace the problem, he identified one of my televisions (I have four) as the possible source of an earth leakage and installed some kind of 'gizmo' in the aerial booster circuitry to isolate it from the rest of the system and to prevent feedback from the aerial circuitry to the electrical circuitry; to be doubly-certain I 'junked' the television set in question (frankly, now I am sure there was nothing wrong with it, but that's water under the bridge) and replaced it with a new unit. That was in December 2001. The town electrician thinks that the 'earth leakage' identified earlier by the other electrician may in fact have been caused not by my 'junked' television, but by the error in wiring - he says it is not the kind of fault he sees very often (he said the same aboout the earlier problem he identified with a light switch).
I am hopeful that today's visit has finally rectified the fault; I have no inclination whatsoever to take the matter up with the builder (life is far too short) - I am simply very happy that the problem may, at long last, have been solved.
'Torche' acquiesce in delays to homosexual law reform by Conservative Party (25 Jul 2002)
I severed my final link with the Conservative Party yesterday when I resigned from the 'Tory Campaign for Homosexual Equality' (Torche); my resignation would in any case soon have become a necessity because it will soon affiliate formally to the Conservative Party and amend its name to 'Gay Conservatives' as part of a series of amendments to the constitution. One of the changes will be that membership of the Conservative Party will become a prerequisite for membership of Gay Conservatives and as I feel unable to re-join the Conservative Party under its present leadership and seeming policies, that is the way it has to be.
What has precipitated my resignation from 'Torche' has been what developed into an acrimonious exchange of emails yesterday with Deputy Chairman James Davenport, culminating in a particularly unpleasant email received today. I do not propose to reproduce the full text of this exchange here, but I will include two brief excerpts which encapsulate (I think) the basic problem as I see it.
In one of my emails yesterday I suggested that, inter alia, " ... the 'reviews' of policy [within the Conservative Party], if such are genuinely taking place, seem to me to be the classic manoeuvres of a bureaucracy which seeks to perpetuate itself by attempting to defuse dissent by involving dissenters in discussions about policy on committees which never seem to issue a final report.". In his final email to me today James Davenport included the following remark: "... since our position has been established to influence the shadow cabinet (and who, incidentally, won't even get round to addressing Section 28 for another 18 months).". I think that this final remark shows quite neatly that the tenor of my remarks is not entirely without foundation!
Conservatives sack Chairman David Davis, appoint Theresa May instead (24 Jul 2002)
Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith yesterday sacked his Party Chairman of the last 8 months, David Davis, and replaced him with Theresa May who has been Shadow Transport Secretary until now. David Davis will henceforth shadow Deputy PM John Prescott, and whilst this will be a Shadow Cabinet position he will not be Deputy leader of the Party. Theresa May is the first woman to be Party Chairman, although as the Conservative Party has a proven (and welcome) track record for being radical in this area, having had Margaret Thatcher as Party leader for many years, this aspect should not have come as an undue surprise. I imagine that Theresa May will perform 'adequately' in her new role, although her lack of success against former Transport Minister Stephen Byers is perhaps a worring indicator that whilst she is a personable and intelligent person she perhaps does not have the intellectual calibre or the 'killer instinct' to undertake the surgery required for the long-term renaissance of the Conservative Party. The Party may not be quite moribund, but it is certainly in need of intensive care.
From the little that is being said in public it appears that Mr Davis has been the subject of a 'whispering' campaign, alleging that he was the block on the adoption of certain reforms which Mr Duncan Smith wished to see adopted. Whatever the truth, about the whispering or indeed about Mr Davis' real role in the adoption of reforms, it appears that once more the Conservative Party is talking to itself and to no-one else - the Party seems to have become so marginalised that few others, outside the political media and political junkies (of whom I suppose I am one), care very much who runs Conservative Central Office. We hear a lot about 'reviews' of policies, but so far very little concrete - sorry, that's a euphemism, nothing concrete. On the contrary, in those few areas where the Party has [had to] take a stance in Parliament (The 'Family Partnerships Bill' for example) it seems that the same tired old bigoted policies and phrases are trotted out once more.
Hoogstraten convicted of manslaughter of business rival (23 Jul 2002)
Nicholas van Hoogstraten was convicted of manslaughter yesterday in the murder of business rival Mohammed Raja; Hoogstraten was found to have hired two hit-men to 'harm' Raja, although the court accepted that he had not wished his men to kill Raja. The two who did the deed were jailed for life. Hoogstraten will be sentenced in October and the judge, Mr Justice Newman, meantime remanding him in custody for psychiatric reports, warning that he was considering a life sentence.
Hoogstraten is estimated to have a fortune of about £500 million, made from property purchases in Brighton and London and rented out; he is said to have run his business with tyranny and violence and in interviews has described, for example, those who live in rented property as 'scum', asking the interviewer: "Would you live in rented property?". A judge once described him as 'an emissary of Beelzebub' - appropriate in my view, from various interviews and articles I have seen with Hoogstraten over the years.
Why am I writing about this person? Well, for many years (almost 4 decades) he has conducted himself with a quite monstrous lack of adherence to the law, let alone civilised standards of behaviour. Many of those thought to have evidence to give against him have been intimidated to discourage them from doing so - he has a well-deserved reputation, in his own words in a 1992 interview: "If anybody causes me any kind of hardship, they don't get away with it. ... They may get away with it for six months or a year or whatever until sufficient time has passed that it is nothing to do with me. I deal with people in cold blood, not hot blood.". On another occasion he is reported to have told a journalist: "If there is one word I don't like you will get a phone call. If there are two, you will be in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, three and they will find you in Shoreham harbour.", and the deadly earnest of this person resulted in few being willing to go against him for fear of what would (not might) likely happen to them.
In an interview broadcast some years ago, he was shown at his yet-to-be-completed Hamilton Palace, a massive pile and reckoned to be the largest private dwelling to be constructed in the UK in the 20th century. An example of his 'style' was his description of ramblers who wished to avail themselves of a 140-year old right of way across his land, and passing within a quarter mile of the Palace itself, as "riffraff". To date, orders from the courts to remove the barbed-wire and other obstructions he has placed across the right of way have been ignored and the fines imposed of more than £80,000 have not yet been paid.
Some other gems from this monster, who if there was any glimmer of humour about him (but there is, sadly, not) might best be described as a sort of real life 'Lex Luthor' [for those of you familiar with the Superman stories], all taken from an article printed in The Daily Telegraph:
I hope the good Judge, when sentencing Mr Nicholas van Hoogstraten in October, recommends that he not be released during his lifetime and that he be detained either in a maximum-security prison, or perhaps in an institution for the criminally insane, because it is very difficult to believe that this person can be entirely, or frankly even partially, sane.
Copyright © 2002 William Cameron