Watts Up

Today vacuum cleaners, tomorrow cars. The EC has banned powerful engines in what we used to call Hoovers. How long before they go for cars? They’ve forbidden proper light bulb; they’ve given fridges and washing machines ratings. Cripps lives. The austere Sir Stafford (right) of the post-war Labour government disliked luxury cars and would have banned powerful ones. His fellow-reds in East Europe decreed the Trabant. Other levellers destroyed France’s luxury car industry. Cripps’s colleagues refused car manufacturers steel unless they made one model only.

Competition was deemed wasteful, but those that conformed, like Standard with the Vanguard (below), lived to regret it.

It was only the wisdom and entrepreneurship of the Wilks family, scorned by the powers-that-were for making Rovers so deprived of the means to make them, who got by with aluminium-bodied Land Rovers. The stop-gap saved their factory.

The EC and the Guardianistas have turned the war against carbon into a political movement. Fabian Cripps wanted Emergency Powers to rule by decree and although he never managed it, the EC follows the same principle. It imposes experts’ latest wheeze on the grounds that They Know what is Good for Us.

New vacuum cleaners are forbidden to have motors above 1,600W and, from 2017, 900W. The BBC’s environmental guru Roger Harrabin yesterday assured us that power was not important to the performance of a vacuum cleaner. It gathered dust just the same. You could say that about a Trabant (below); it would get you to Berlin or Moscow, it just took longer, it was noisy and it smoked.

The average vacuum cleaner now is about 1,800W, some as much as 2,200W, but it is only a matter of time before Crippsy bureaucrats marshal “experts”, to decree cars’ power for the sake of the environment, our own safety and banishment of wasteful competition.

They have already imposed rules on exhaust emissions, safety, headlamp heights, crush zones, materials, dimensions, fuel consumption and noise. Make the Watts Kilowatts. That would be 160kW or about 215bhp. And 90kW in a couple of years is 120bhp, about a mid-range Fiesta. Well it’s better than the 20kW or 27bhp of an asthmatic Trabant but then we have moved on haven’t we and we need more power to drive heavy bumpers, high headlamps, catalytic converters, crush zones, airbags…

"Commentary"Eric Dymock