“Now EU cuts power of your vacuum cleaner” screamed the Express headline. I was briefly concerned, and fired up my trusty Dyson. The power had not been cut, so the usual standard of veracity from Nathan Rao, the latest of Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s dwindling band of hacks to find himself filleted by Private Eye magazine (Issue 1341) for the piss-poor standard of his weather forecasts.
And, as the man said, there’s more: “The suction power of new vacuum cleaners is to be reduced” reads the photo caption. It is? Er, no it isn’t: this is another fraudulent interpretation of an energy saving regulation, which will limit the maximum power of new cleaners to 1600 watts from September next year, and to just 900 watts from September 2017. So the Express is against saving energy, then.
Moreover, this is not new news: the Maily Telegraph had the story back in 2010, but there was little difference in the tired and lame Euro-bashing. “The cleanliness of Britain's homes is being threatened by European bureaucrats” summed up their use of the approved phrasebook. What neither report says is that vacuum cleaners are one of the worst culprits when it comes to wasting energy.
One estimate is that an 1800 watt cleaner converts just 300 watts to suction, with the remaining 1500 watts literally ending up as hot air. And as for those cleaners advertising ratings of 2000 watts and above, well, have I got news for them: you’d be hard pressed to achieve anything like that using the domestic electricity supply. So there is plenty of room for improvement.
And the manufacturers aren’t complaining: the Tel noted that “James Dyson gave the European Commission's proposals a cautious welcome” and he also said “Bigger motors don't equal better performance. In fact they symbolise outmoded ineffective design”. Electrolux said it “welcomes the proposal from the European Commission on energy labelling of vacuum cleaners”.
Instead, Rao whines “Britain will be harder hit than most of our European neighbours because hard-to-clean carpets are much more common here”. His expert witnesses include UKIP MEP Roger Helmer: “They say restricting the power of vacuum cleaners will save enough electricity to power two million homes. That sounds like utter guff”. Helmer doesn’t say why. You don’t when you’re in UKIP.
And there is an intervention by Benny Peiser of the so-called Global Warming Policy Foundation. Er, hello? What qualifies him to comment? Silly me, he doesn’t need any, he just says the EU is rubbish, and that’s good enough for Nathan. Seriously, this is desperate stuff. A measure that manufacturers can agree to, that is going to save us energy and money, and the Express is carping about it.
And we know what that means: another Benchmark Of Excellence!