I have not been writing for some time because I now only write when I have something useful to say. I write to my MP when my concerns are serious, and she passes them on to the various appropriate government departments. In due course I receive ministerial replies, couched in broad terms that unsurprisingly never seem to answer the questions asked, because the questions are a veiled criticism of government policy, which is broad-brush, with little respect from the side-effects.
The major parties here in Northern Ireland, and in Westminster, are more interested in their personal standing as individuals, the public assessment of the parties as a whole, and media reaction, than they are of the effects of the legislation they induce, which is often a knee-jerk reaction to give the appearance of doing something when the pressure is high, with little regard to the effects of this legislation in the short or long term to the individual and generally. Once, parliamentarians were there because they felt they wished to make some improvement in the plight of the electorate. Today it has become a job, in which their actions are controlled by the whips, and it is unwise to step outside the ruling. There are some cases where, due to the low number of members of a given party, there is no whip and the members can vote as they see fit, even in the face of party policies. The electorate is not stupid, it is aware of these conditions, but is so tired of the continuous broad brush approach, promises that are never kept, and U- returns on a regular basis that apathy is now paramount.
This tirade started because I objected to the banning of certain incandescent lightbulbs which are required for special types of light fitting whose purpose is more to do with elegance and personal aesthetic, than it is to do with the brilliance of the lighting. The government reply I received stated that phasing out such bulbs could save up to 3,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. It gave no yardstick as to how this immense weight of carbon dioxide compared with, let us say, air travel. Using statistics without reference is, to my mind, a form of slight of hand. I was not talking about the average hundred or hundred and 50 Watt bulbs, but those small, clear candle bulbs that are in chandeliers and wall fittings. These are only 40 watt, used in the winter mainly, and represents only a minuscule of the amount of light used throughout the house. There is no reference to the incredible amount of lighting within large stores, street advertising, street lighting just to mention a few making up the 3,000,000 tonnes. There was no mention of the disruption to the household that the change in fittings as a result of the law would produce. The extreme waste of money and natural resources, and the damage to the environment caused by the lack of public transport seems to have been ignored, and it would be interesting to find out how many tonnes of carbon dioxide this represented. The bulbs I am talking about are insignificant with respect to their effects on the environment, but serious to those of us who find them attractive. It has taken my lifetime to go from a gas lamp buzzing about the head and belching out gases, to a nicely designed light fitting which is attractive and a pleasure. One aspect our masters have not thought of is that in the winter months we seek warmth, physically and psychologically, and the warm glow of the old-fashioned lightbulb will be infinitely preferable to the cold light of these new inventions. In addition, I have noticed since I have been chair-bound that in the evenings when doors are not constantly being open and shut the artificial lighting provides enough heat in a high proportion of circumstances to negate the necessity for additional heating. This really must save duplication of the heat and light sources, which must be a plus.
Surely there is a point where justification of this type of sweeping legislation should be open to discussion, especially when, as I believe, the causes of global warming, are speculative rather than factual.