How many laws does it take to change a light bulb?

Sometimes, governments overlook things, and proceed on a mistaken basis. In the past, they then went to parliament, apologised, and passed retroactive legislation that legalised what they had done with the consent of Parliament, and the proviso that they acknowledged how exceptional such a retroactive provision was. One famous old example, for instance, was when Herbert Morrison, under pressure of the Blitz, nationalised the fire services in England without putting the appropriate regulations in front of parliament because he made a mistake about the law.

Peter Mandelson's grandad, at least (and unusually), had the grace to be ashamed of himself. Tonight, Christopher Booker, as reported over at EU referendum, seems to have turned up an instance of forceful government behaviour that is more typical of the contempt for Parliament and the rule of law that is associated with his grandson.

The great historian of France, Richard Cobb, who haunted Balliol just before my time, said that you could tell a lot about France by knowing about its drainage system. You can tell a lot about modern Britain, frankly, by learning about light bulbs, and bins. History is in the everyday, where we live.

EU ministers, meeting, as the Council does, in secret, decided a while ago to get rid of conventional light bulbs and to replace them with new, energy-saving ones. Philips and Osram can't compete with the Chinese, you see. Green politics provided the usual cover for corporate protectionism. In his instance, a second benefit arose. Cutting energy costs will make things a little easier when private utilities push up the prices and the pipelines from Asia and Africa fail.

A Directive seems to have been produced at around the same time as the Council discussion upon which ministers thought they could rely. This Directive was followed by a Regulation, from the Commission.

No law to create penalties or enforcement structures of any description seems to have been put before parliament, and certainly not one with any mention of light bulbs being in it.

Few seemed to object, all the same, when the new rules were applied to the UK.

Shops were informed of grave prosecution if they didn't withdraw old light bulbs, which many people wanted to buy. How could small shops object? They are deluged with demands for rates, Value-added tax, compliance with this and that, and threats from spastic local government whose tetanal muscles of constriction are the only thing about them in fettle. Large supermarkets, which dominate British retail, food, and urban geography, complied to seem 'green' and of course because they could use their greater size and economies of scale against the smaller shops.

Anyone else who objected was clearly some sort of climate-denying racist from Fascist Italy. A regular Zsa Zsa painting angel's toenails in their head whilst probably beating up those two troubled young men on Diamonds are Forever. Not one of us zany ethical individualists.

Oh, I can't keep the tone up. Look, the government seems to have no legal basis upon which to act, the Department of the environment seems to be lying about it, and MPs are nowhere to be seen.

Do you think they are in the least embarrassed? Do you think anyone used their mind for something other than conspiratorial, herd-based mediocre group think in this whole process?

Can I sell you a bridge?

The irony is, I have no time whatsoever for the idea of carbon-based global warming and have yet to see any proof of warming at all--my one demented reader knows this--but I would like to have the opportunity to buy cheap, energy-saving light bulbs. I have a few. I really dislike some second rate graduate with no real experience of the world riding roughshod over the law with their mates and simply forcing me to do what they want, in matters small or large.

I also raise an eyebrow when I note that the only people thinking about the dangers of disposing of the new light bulbs are the green types who provided the cover-story for the ongoing farce in the first place. At least they mean well.

I know what will happen; a non-acknowledgment of failure, a genuflection to the greens, an appeal to a sort of easy, lazy utilitarianism learned in the corruption of education through coursework, targets, and a cultural accumulation of stupidity and--bobs your uncle! I'm the weird one for complaining about it.

They'll be restricting alcohol next, after the stunning collapse of pubs because of the smoking ban led to people heading to the supermarkets to buy cheap bulk produce to drink at home. Supermarkets are doing their best to fit with government targets, but you see, even the most controlling still have trouble with those pesky citizens. Don't they realise that they are subjects?

All they seem to want to do is to buy drink to make them forget about sorting out the rubbish they pay the local council not to take away, or possibly to forget about the pensions they don't have or the houses the banks own or the taxes the governments charge or the sundry police taxes they pay on their cars. Those pests. They should be forced to be good. Don't they know that this is a properly secular but barely post-Protestant country, at least until its handed over to the religion of peace.....


berenike said…
"osram" - PL, 1st person singular, present tense, "to beshit"

Endless amusement from light bulb boxes :-)

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