The European Union explained in one sentence

The EU has been gradually phasing out incandescent bulbs to force people to buy low energy alternatives and save money and carbon.


You do not have to force people to save money. We are all quite naturally both mean and lazy, predisposed to getting more for less.

You would only have to ban something, force people into a course of action, if it was not cheaper.

Thus by this reason given for this action the EU is revealing itself to be either grossly stupid or lying like shit.

Not that these are mutually exclusive of course…..

16 thoughts on “The European Union explained in one sentence”

  1. “You do not have to force people to save money. We are all quite naturally both mean and lazy, predisposed to getting more for less.”
    You really have been very very lucky with your friends and family in your life if you believe that.
    I know loads of people who waste money. My Gran would only save with the abbey national even though she could get more with someone else. I could probably write a book on people who wate money.

  2. My objection to the energy-saving bulbs is that they weren’t light bulbs. The earliest ones took longer to boot than Windows, and produced less light than a decent candle. I objected to the EU’s forcing them to be used before there were decent alternatives. (Presumably they got a special supply of proper light bulbs on expenses.) The new LEDs with diffusers and ES fittings are finally reasonable alternatives that don’t make my eyes ache (but they are 9 to 12 GBP each). I can read with them. They might save a bit of money over the medium term.

  3. The old bulbs are (were) much cheaper at the point of purchase… which would be all that many people would consider. The savings come from the longer lifespan and lower energy consumption.

    So, one could charitably assume the EU were trying to compensate for the inability of lots of people to make economic decisions based on limited information and short-term priorities, and consider the wider implications.

    And that, I think, would be irony.

  4. David, many people do waste money. Look at those who spend over the odds on Apple products. But everyone who does is happy with their wastage. For your gran it was probably because the bank was local, she knew the people, and she’d banked there for a long time. She probably thought switching as a bit of a risk – would she get the same service, would they change the rates once they had her custom, etc.

    To say that it’s ok to force someone to save money is to impose your views on them. Your views about money saving tips might be different to theirs. They will have different priorities, needs, and desires to you.

    For example, old incandescent bulbs are dirt cheap so can easily be replaced when they blow. But to replace a CFL or LED costs a lot and that extra cash might not be so easily available. You would have to save up for them. And to say that it saves money in the long term means diddly squat when some people are more interested in the short term of living from week to week. Paying 60p for a bulb rather than £6 is a huge difference to some.

  5. “SadButMadLad // Sep 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    David, many people do waste money.

    To say that it’s ok to force someone to save money is to impose your views on them.”
    I don’t think it is ok to force anyone to save money. apart from my wife of course because it is OUR money and the Government for the same reason.
    My point was that Tim’s point

    You do not have to force people to save money.

    Is not true. I can’t believe (perhaps a bit sexist) that any married man would say that.

  6. @ David “save money” and “waste” are actually subjective unless you are looking at *exactly* like-for-like comparisons. I *could* buy a wrapped loaf in Tesco instead of enjoyable fresh bread from the local baker – I vehemently deny that the moderately higher price is a waste.
    The new bulbs would save money in the long run IF firstly, they generally lasted as long as they claim (which unfortunately is not true) and secondly one ignores the time value of money totally or the purchaser is cash-rich so the discount rate was 0.1% not 17% or 24%.
    I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy low-energy bulbs but I have been convinced for the last two or three years (after a long period of doubt) that they do NOT save money. So while Tim’s comment on saving is an over-generalisation, the EU is demonstrating its stupidity in this instance.

  7. “john77 // Sep 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    @ David “save money” and “waste” are actually subjective unless you are looking at *exactly* like-for-like comparisons.”
    True but I know people who do waste money.
    For example when our phone provider raised prices to Spain my wife just carried on using them – she could have looked for something cheaper but she didn’t bother. When I found out I found exactly the same service but cheaper. (Took me 5 minutes to do, paid for itself in a day).
    Obviously everyone else on this discussion married women who are better with money than I did.

  8. Yes, Tim. A whole bunch of people using less energy all at once (within societal timelines) is a stupid idea because why?

    ….mmmmm fucking progress you notionaless twat.

    isn’t that what you bleat on about?

    The tech can only get better, and since this measure was devised, it has done.

    Are you being a fuckwit? Again?

    Get on your bike, cretin.

    I think I managed to get as much shit in that post as what I have just forced myself to retch over.

    Tim, you really are a twat. No new ideas, no ideas and a slew of adherences that make normal people wince.

    Good luck.

    A clown pretending to be clever is admirable, as a skill. But you are shit at it.

  9. Please do not link any more stories to the deeply silly Louise Gray: she is a notorious churnalist who doesn’t lift a finger to her keyboard without a press release from Greenpeace, WWF, FoE etc in front of her.

    As usual, Booker in the Sunday Telegraph has the real gen on the lightbulb thing: scroll down to the sub-headline “How Blair led us into this light bulb fiasco (though the stuff about Yeo is worth reading too):

  10. It’s amusing to read the author of Scared to Death fretting about broken light bulbs spilling toxic mercury. CFLs contain something like 4mg of mercury vapour (or less in ‘eco-friendly’) versions. Being a vapour, it’s not going to spill in the usual sense of the word, but if it did condense to a liquid there’d be about a quarter of a cubic millimetre of the stuff.

    Not being the author of Scared to Death, I don’t want to make light of environmental hazards: if you do break a CFL bulb you should clean up carefully. And you shouldn’t use filament light bulbs if you can help it, because somewhere along the line that might result in more coal being burnt, releasing more mercury into the atmosphere.

  11. Of course, if the EU was really interested in people saving money with “green lightbulbs”, then they wouldn’t be slapping a 66% import tariff on all those nice, cheap Chinese ones.


  12. Thing is people don’t realise they are saving money – people are notoriously bad at the whole deferred benefits thing. With a CFL you have a huge up-front cost and the cost savings take some time to accrue – in almost undetectable fashion through reductions in your electricity bill.

    Doesn’t mean I think banning incandescents is a good thing, not at all. I still use them in those few places they make economic sense (turned off and on lots for short times, which kills CFLs stone dead) and am glad the world has discovered the “industrial use” exemption to continue supplying 100 watt pearl bulbs entirely legally. But good quality CFLs, of adequate power (20W and up readily available) are now very much the match for incandescents and have a fraction of the running costs. All I can suggest is to buy quality, and not buy 4 watt CFLs at poundland unless you actually want to continue curmudgeoning about how the EU has ruined your lightbulbs.

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