One consequence of filleting anti-EU stories appearing in papers like the Express is that, whenever another claim of Eurocrat meddling in Our Freedoms is made, the best course of action is to assume the opposite is true. Thus it was when the Daily UKIP went into froth overdrive mode over “Our” vacuum cleaners, most of which are made in other countries by firms not based in the UK.
“After light bulbs and TVs... now EU officials BAN our vacuum cleaners” scream Dirty Des’ finest, going on (as they tend to do) “From next month some of the country's best vacuum cleaners will be among those to be banned because they have motors above the new EU limit of 1,600 watts. And as if that was not bad enough, the permitted wattage will be almost halved from September 2017 as the limit is changed to a pathetic 900 watts”. Yeah, how dare they save on our electricity bills?
This was backed up by Stephen “Vicky” Pollard, who ranted “EU band [sic] on vacuum cleaners is a blow to our freedoms ... it turns out that we – and you, too, if you have a vacuum cleaner that does what it’s supposed to do which is suck up dirt – are labelled environmental terrorists”. No shit, Sherlock.
Here’s his explanation: “instead of the efficient, powerful and useful vacuum cleaners which most of us have, we will be restricted to buying inefficient, weak and almost useless vacuum cleaners. So as a minimum we’ll have to use these new puny cleaners for longer in order to get a half decent job done. In reality, given they will be much less efficient”. And to which I call bullshit.
If motor-driven products like vacuum cleaners couldn’t get more efficient over time, we’d still be using products like that wheezy old Vactric cylinder jobbie my parents bought in the early 1950s, and which gobbled wattage for not a great deal of cleaning power compared to the Dyson I have now. Smaller motors does not mean less efficient. It means something that consumes less electricity.
What the Express – and the Mail, which also majors on the “EU is banning OUR cleaners” line – are not telling you is that (a) the UK voted for these changes, and (b) as the EC in the UK blog has pointed out, “most vacuum cleaner manufacturers supported the new rules when the industry was (extensively) consulted”.
And it reminds us that “A similar labelling system was introduced for fridges and freezers 20 years ago. They now use only one-third of the electricity they did then. Two years after regulations were introduced for television sets, 70% of those on the market were in the top class for energy efficiency”.
This means that the Express, and pundit Pollard, are talking out of the backs of their necks, as they are on light bulbs and television sets. Still, it gets the UKIP faithful worked up into a Pavlovian froth, so that’s another Benchmark of Excellence!