A local Labour member, Doreen Illingworth, has sent us the following cautionary tale – about flaming L.E.D.s and deregulation.
With Theresa May in the USA opening trade negotiations with Trump, this is a tale for our times.
Contrary to popular perceptions, in ‘Free trade’ negotiations, tariffs will not be the main part of the agenda. It’s rather regulations and standards which are often seen as the major ‘obstacles’ to freer trade.
They are likely to be near the top of the shopping list of concessions which will be demanded from Britain in free trade agreements.

The burning L.E.D.led
Saturday, Jan 21st, the Labour Party Day of Action on behalf of the NHS, I was sitting at the table busy folding more “Save our NHS” leaflets and warming up after a very cold morning. The leaflets had printed whilst we were out delivering for, & helping at the morning’s sessions,.
There was a smell of over-hot plastic usually linked to something going very wrong electrically. I had caught a slight smell as we came in, but had got much worse. We had checked all the plugs & transformers in the room, but had found nothing overheated. We had thought it might be an overworked printer – after 2000 leaflets! – but that had been OK.
Then I realised that the haze at the other end of the room was actually smoke. Nothing at eye level or below looked on fire – or anything near a socket.
Finally, I looked up & saw one of the L.E.D. bulbs in the ceiling light-fitting blazing merrily. I switched the light off & called John who was preparing lunch in the kitchen. John’s quick thinking produced a saucepan & his longer reach covered the flaming bulb & glass shade with the saucepan. All while I was thinking I couldn’t reach the fitting to cover it with anything & getting the car fire extinguisher would take time.
The shade didn’t break & the fire went out within seconds. sooty-ceiling
All the doors & windows were opened wide to dissipate the smoke & fumes, so warming up didn’t happen before the afternoon sessions; – but, we had avoided a much larger scale method of unwanted heat production.

Safety Standards
L.E.D.‘s are :a) energy efficient, – the green option;b) running cooler – the safer option.
OK until something goes wrong, like the new smart-phone batteries.
But why did this L.E.D. go wrong?
The flaming L.E.D. was from a batch bought on the internet from a company whose products – I’ve been told – sometimes don’t conform to international safety standards.
How often do we take the safety of things we buy for granted?
We live in a crowded world. A major purpose of the mass of laws & regulations is to stop us from harming each other or ourselves, or from exploiting or putting each other at risk for profit.

And the message is –
when the Tories, Right Wing think-tanks or businessmen talk of the stranglehold of regulation & how de-regulation would lead to lower prices & benefit to all, let’s be very wary of the propaganda. The only ones sure to benefit are the rich few at the expense of the many.”

Doreen also reminds us of the many Tory ruses which were sold as benefiting us all:
“Have the Tory sell offs benefitted the most of us? From the miserable performance of Southern Rail, to the lack of a decent bus service, to rich Energy companies and the Post office, comes the answer, a resounding, NO!”

The bonfire of regulations and consumer protections which Brexit negotiations threaten to bring will, in Doreen’s words, leave us
“far worse off than just a sooty patch on the ceiling.”
Her burning L.E.D. really is a cautionary tale for our times.

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