All new cars are to be fitted with automatic daytime headlights within four years.
In response to a parliamentary question, Jim Fitzpatrick, the road safety minister, said: "The UK has been successful in arguing against the introduction of mandatory use of dipped headlamps during daylight hours by drivers of existing vehicles.
"However, from early 2011 all new types of passenger cars and light vans will have to be fitted with dedicated daytime running lamps in accordance with the relevant European directive. By summer 2012, all new vehicles will have to be so fitted."
As readers will know, your humble Devil does not subscribe to anthropogenic climate change theories, but he does object to the needless waste of energy. And I especially object to the waste of a limited and yet easily mobile fuel such as petrol. It's just stupid.
Seriously, apart from making the manufacturers of car lightbulbs very happy, what is the fucking point of this? Can you imagine a bright summer's day with all these cars crawling along the M25 and every single one with their lights on? It's fucking bats.
But you can tell that the government is pretty certain that they have won on the whole Lisbon Treaty issue can't you?
The Government previously opposed the idea on the grounds that using lights in the daytime would increase fuel consumption and emissions, but conceded it was unable to oppose European legislation.
They wouldn't normally admit that they can do fuck all about this if they were trying to avoid a backlash.
And what the hell is the EU doing legislating on this in any case? Isn't the EU merely about a forming a free trade area and... Aaaaaaaahahahahahaha! Sorry, I just couldn't keep a straight face.
Oh, by the way, expect more of this kind of shit: road safety is entirely an EU competence. As the government points out, they cannot overturn this EU legislation. And they cannot overturn any other legislation either.
But the great thing about being in the EU is that—unlike those poor schmucks in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and others—we are able to influence EU legislation in our favour, yeah?
UPDATE: EU Referendum has a typically in depth article on this.
However, what does become very clear is that this is a very contentious measure. Since the EU commission launched its consultation [PDF] in August 2006, the measure has been opposed by car drivers [PDF], cyclists and motorcyclists, all of whom argue that the safety benefits are, to say the very least, equivocal.
Furthermore, it also transpires that this issue has been kicking around for many years, but the prime mover has not been the European Union but our old friend UNECE. It is this body which is responsible for framing motor vehicle standards in Europe – not the European Union.
What we have had, therefore, is a process that has been running for many years, with massive discussions between officials – with the very occasional intervention by ministers – a full-scale consultation exercise with groups in all member states and then the appearance of legislation. But this has all been done at a European level and they only time our parliament gets to know about it formally (or at all) is after the new law is made and due to go into force.
In a different time, this highly contentious measure is one that we would expected to get a full airing in parliament, with a vote taken representing the best interests of the nation, based on full evaluation of the issues and the competing claims.
But the one body which has not been involved is that parliament, demonstrating its impotence with absolute clarity, as completely irrelevant to the legislative process. No doubt, the MPs are highly delighted with this. Relieved of the duty to discuss and approve legislation, they have that much more time for constituency work, for electioneering, for internal politics and for submitting their expenses claims.
But, when they no longer take part in the very process for which they were (nominally) elected, we are entitled to ask what they are actually for, and whether we still need them.
I would have thought that what our politicians were for was obvious: they will entertain the children who will, laughing, grab and swing on the ankles of our politicos as the bloated, evil, hypocritical cunts dangle from their alloted lamp-posts...