From a week today I shall be a marked man. An outlaw. A renegade, beyond the reach of polite society. Call me a dreamer but I believe there are others like me, out there on the hillsides, like wartime maquis or partisans, storing and stockpiling our precious supplies. I can’t be sure. This could be a one-man crusade….
Didn’t I mention what it was? Sorry. It’s light bulbs. As of 1 September, that’s it for light bulbs. Finito. It’s Goodnight Vienna for old-fashioned, Osram 40-watt or 60-watt, I’ve-just-had-a-good-idea light bulbs, the ones shaped like Philip Larkin’s head. Also the incandescent 100-watt ones that floodlight your kitchen. They’ve all been banned by European law, and nobody will be allowed to make them, import them or sell them in British shops after next Tuesday – from which day I’ll be stockpiling them like Fagin under the floorboards of my home, arranging secret “bulb drops” in Brockwell Park with the bloke from Herne Hill Electrical Goods Ltd and organising meetings in my draughty, lamplit cellar with similar suburban mavericks with whom I’ll plan the backlash …
The Brussels legislators want everyone henceforth to buy energy-saving bulbs, the harsh ones with fat filaments like tubular pasta. I could tell you that I think they’re rubbish, and they don’t light a room properly, but you’ll think me a whinger. I could point out that, by 2012, we’ll all be required to use compact fluorescent “green” light-bulbs from Chinese factories where many workers have been poisoned by their mercury content, but you’ll think me alarmist. My main objection is that I cannot stand any longer being told what to do by manufacturers, governments and shops…. I object to being forced by politicians to change the way I use light, and the strength of the light I use, because it will supposedly have an effect on climate change. It’s a simple objection, but a fundamental one. It’s, literally, elemental.
Send your used compact fluorescent light bulbs to Brussels, Mr. Walsh! Proper disposal is required to avoid serious health risks and environmental damage. The experts in Brussels are surely smart enough to handle the light bulb disposal problem in the proper way.