I’m sure today’s Express article (strap on front page, article page 3, opinion page 12) had the good burghers of the UK spitting out their Earl Grey in disgust, where it broke the story that the EU was planning to ban milk jugs in the good old British tea shop. Needless to say it’s rubbish. And it’s an interesting look at how these stories come about. We’ve seen the copy that was filed, which was about the discovery by some Spanish researchers that a lot of milk in coffee shops etc didn’t meet hygiene standards. The leap from there to an EU ban was purely in the mind of some sub at the Express. Purely. I would link to the story, but it was taken down pretty quickly and replaced with something nearer the original when this was pointed out to them. But how will the 700,000 people who bought a copy of the Express know that?
Even as other issues displace Haiti at the top of the news ladder, the relief effort there continues. The Commission’s humanitarian department is supporting NGOs on the ground and has a team out there. Their letters make interesting reading. The latest is on our website. Those from before, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake can be found on the Facebook Page of ECHO, the humanitarian aid department.
If you hear/read somewhere that the EU is contemplating a ban on barbecues, please don’t believe it. The Commission is not planning a ban on barbecues, we’re not going to propose bringing them within carbon emissions trading, and we’re not suggesting Member States instigate a barbecue tax. If an individual member state wanted to, that would be a national issue, but the EU doesn’t have that power.
The Commission is also not banning using the term watts for lightbulbs. Lightbulbs are already supposed to carry the lighting performance of the bulb, which is measures in lumens. This makes it easier to compare different types of bulbs, as of course the wattage only refers to the power needed to make the light shine, and doesn’t help comparison across the range of bulbs that now exist. From 2010 the lumens value will be displayed more prominently than the wattage value, but the watts will continue to be compulsory. This is to allow people to compare bulbs on the basis of performance, and is a measure that was approved by all the governments, and consumer organisations.
Interesting article by Will Hutton in the Observer at the weekend. The expenses issue has kicked all other political issues into the long grass, but I wonder how much of a campaign we’d have seen even if that issue hadn’t been around.