A consumer guide to LED spotlights

Wednesday 24 January 2018 @ 7:47 pm

So I decided to change all my current MR16 GU5.3 50W halogen lighting (about 30 fittings) and join the glorious LED revolution. Here’s what happened.

Conversion from halogen to LED
Before diving into the LED jungle of bulbs, watts and colours, the first task was to convert the existing fittings. All the MR16 GU5.3 fittings, except the ones in the bathrooms (more on that later), were being run off individual halogen transformers to convert the mains 240V to 12V. My transformers had a power range of 20W to 60W which meant the minimum wattage bulb that could be used is 20W. This is no good for LED bulbs where the wattages are much lower (typically around 4-8W) so the fitting had to be converted. There are really only four options for this:

  1. Replace existing halogen bulbs with MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs (cheapest)
  2. Convert the GU5.3 lamp holder to a GU10 lamp holder (cheap)
  3. Use special Philips LED bulbs to work off existing halogen transformers (expensive)
  4. Replace the transformer with an LED driver (most expensive)

 

Options 2 and 4 require some work whereas options 1 and 3 require nothing more than just changing the light bulb. If you have dimmers, this also makes a difference as to what you can use.

Let’s look at each in more detail.

 

1. Replace existing halogen bulbs with any MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs
Depending on the transformer you have have, this might be an option. The bathrooms were using one transformer to power 3x 50W MR16 GU5.3 bulbs. I had a look at the 10+ year old transformers in the bathrooms but there was nothing on the labels other than it was 240V in and 12V out so I contacted the manufacturer with the model number. The response from the company was that these were toroidal transformers that didn’t have a wattage range and would work perfectly well driving LED bulbs.

Result! I ended up buying a box of normal MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs and just replaced the existing 50W MR16 GU5.3 halogens with the new bulbs. If I’d known it was this easy, I’d have switched the bathrooms to LED years ago.

Again, it might work for you, it might not. Take a look at your transformers before trying it out.

 

2. Convert to a GU10 lamp holder
I went with this option to convert all my other halogens to LED. It involves ditching the transformers completely and replacing it with a GU10 lamp holder. Not only are there more GU10 LED bulbs available to choose from, but with no transformers, that’s one less thing to go wrong. As a bonus, you’ll also get rid of any horrible buzzing coming from the lights, especially when they’re dimmed.

The actual conversion takes a bit of time depending on how many bulbs you want to convert but the job is straightforward depending on access to the ceiling space and how comfortable you are with a couple of screwdrivers and electricity. Speaking of which, before starting, SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF.

First thing to do is check if you can access the transformer in the ceiling recess / loft / attic as this makes it much easier. If not, or it’s too much of a faff to gain access, the next option is to remove your existing MR16 bulb and gently pull the cable to bring the transformer out of the fitting. All halogen and LED transformers are a standard width so that sucker should slip right out of a standard lamp holder fitting. Once removed, take a look at the wiring to see what’s there and how much room is available in the fitting as not only are GU10 lamp holders larger than MR16 GU5.3 but the bulbs are longer too so you’ll need a bit more space above the ceiling for a GU10 LED lamp.

My MR16 GU5.3 lamp holders were connected to the transformer via a junction box that clipped to the existing lamp fitting so I could just reuse the junction box to connect the GU10 lamp holder to the mains instead. Despite easy access to the ceiling recess (all the lights to be converted were on the top floor), a few were inaccessible because they were tucked away under the eaves so I changed these from the rooms below and then spent the rest of the day crawling around in the loft to finish the job.

Here are the detailed steps I took for the actual conversion. Before starting SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF. Then DOUBLE CHECK MAINS ELECTRICITY AND ALL LIGHT SWITCHES ARE TURNED OFF. Finally, ARE YOU SURE THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND ALL LIGHT SWITCHES ARE OFF? If in doubt, get a qualified Sparky round to do the job.

  1. Disconnected the mains cable from the transformer. This left the transformer with a “tail” power cable connected to the junction box.
  2. Disconnected the transformer tail-end power cable from the junction box which completely removed the transformer.
  3. Disconnected the MR16 lamp holder from the other side of the junction box. This left the junction box with nothing connected and the MR16 lamp holder could now be completely removed.
  4. Connected the new GU10 lamp holder to the junction box.
  5. Connected the mains cable to the other side of the junction box.

 

Here’s a quick text diagram of how it looked before, during and after the conversion with reference to the steps above:

KEY 
==== mains cable
---- power cable
[Tran.] transformer
[J.Box] junction box
[-MR16] MR16 lamp holder with cable
[-GU10] GU10 lamp holder with cable

BEFORE 
====[Tran.]----[J.Box][-MR16]

AFTER 
====[J.Box][-GU10]

STEPS 
1. ====    [Tran.]----[J.Box][-MR16]
2. ====    [Tran.]----    [J.Box][-MR16]
3. ====    [J.Box]    [-MR16]
4. ====    [J.Box][-GU10]
5. ====[J.Box][-GU10]

As you can see, removing the transformer and MR16 lamp holder shortened the cable length to the fitting. I didn’t have any excess slack on the mains cable so used another junction box to lengthen the cable. I had to do this for a few of the fittings so bought a few extra junction boxes and re-used the tail end cables from the transformers to lengthen the run to the fitting. Here’s how those installations looked after the conversion:

====[J.Box]----[J.Box][-MR16]

And that’s it! Once converted, the LED bulbs could be fitted.

 

3. Use special Philips LED bulbs
By far the easiest option but an expensive one. In short, Philips sells a range of MR16 LED bulbs called Master Spot that can be retro fitted in those installations where you don’t want to (or can’t) remove / change the existing halogen transformer. It does this by having some clever circuitry in the bulb to handle the higher watts but there are a few considerations:

  • it won’t work with all transformers (likely to flicker)
  • dimming performance will vary (likely to flicker) and may not even work
  • the bulb is physically larger than traditional MR16 halogen bulbs and even LED GU10 equivalents because of all the extra electronics

If you want the least hassle and a simple plug-and-play upgrade to LED, the Philips Master Spot are worth considering. I bought a few to try and they worked fine but the cost of replacing all 30 odd 50W halogens was three times more expensive than converting everything to GU10. It might work for you, it might not.

 

4. Replace the transformer with an LED driver (more expensive)
Replacing the halogen transformer with an LED driver is, in my opinion, the least sensible. If you are going to all the trouble of removing the halogen transformer, why not just convert it to GU10 which is much cheaper instead of replacing it with an LED driver?

If you absolutely want to stick with the MR16 fitting, the conversion is easier than converting to GU10 as all that is needed is to swap the halogen transformer for the LED driver. Here are some before and after diagrams of how it would look:

BEFORE 
====[Tran.]----[J.Box][-MR16]

AFTER 
====[LED.D]----[J.Box][-MR16]

The choice of MR16 GU5.3 LED bulbs is much less than GU10 LED but the light from MR16 bulbs tends to be brighter and nicer than GU10 plus dimming performance can also be smoother. No idea why but there you go.

 

Dimmer switches
If you have any dimmers, they might need to be replaced with LED compatible dimmer switches because of the lower watts consumed. Incompatible dimmer switches will cause your beautiful new LED lights to flicker more than a candle in a haunted house. I had to change all of mine as the existing dimmer range was 60W to 400W whereas the new LED’s would be pulling a maximum of 50W.

Some LED manufacturers recommend specific dimmers to use. Mine didn’t so I went for Varilight V-Pro dimmers which come in a range of finishes and have a good warranty and after service as well as being compatible with a wide range of LED bulbs.

Once again, before changing any dimmers, SWITCH OFF THE MAINS ELECTRICITY AND TURN ALL LIGHT SWITCHES OFF as you’ll be dealing with bare mains electrical cable. If in doubt, get a qualified Sparky round to do the job.

 

Which LED?

So now you have your fittings sorted, the next question, and the one that causes the most confusion, is which LED bulb to go for.

First things first, forget how many watts your old halogen bulbs use, it’s all about the lumens (brightness). This will be clearly displayed on the LED packaging and bulb and if it isn’t, find another bulb. Don’t get hung up over the actual wattage of the LED bulb either, your cost savings will be realised by going from 50W to anything less than 10W and not so much by fussing over whether to get a 6W or a 7W bulb.

Here are the other points to consider:

Colour
Do you want warm white, cool white or daylight? The colour that a lamp gives off is shown by the colour temperature of Kelvin measurement. The higher the rating, the whiter the colour is.

Warm White
A nice comforting warm yellowish white colour, like the glow from a gas fire lamp. Warm white lamps are rated between 2700k and 3000k and I went for these in all the rooms.

Cool white
Rated between 4000-4500K and gives a much cooler, crisper colour. This is quite nice to have in bathrooms, kitchens or any other work place but you can also use them around the house.

Daylight
Like daylight and rated between 5000-6200K. This is very bright but very blue and doesn’t really suit for inside a home as the lighting becomes very harsh. Best to keep these lamps for office use, outside lighting or large spaces.

Colour Rendering Index (CRI)
The higher the CRI number of a lamp, the more accurate and richer the colours are under that light. Most lamps are at least 80 CRI with more expensive and specialist LED’s (e.g. for lighting artwork) numbering 95. I bought a few to compare and the difference between a 95 and 80 bulb was barely noticeable. Certainly not worth the crazy premium that 95 LED’s command over 80 versions. As long as the LED you buy has a CRI of at least 80, I don’t think it’s worth paying a premium for the 95 rated LED lamps.

Dimmable
If you want to dim your lights, you’ll need a compatible LED dimmer switch and dimmable LED lamps which cost a little more than non-dimmable LED’s. If you don’t have a dimmer, there’s no point buying dimmable LED’s as the extra circuitry usually means a higher cost and a possibly less reliable lamp. The few LED’s that have failed in my setup were all dimmable versions.

Beam Angle
A narrow beam angle focuses the light on a particular spot. A wider beam angle spreads the light which tends to be softer. What you need to take into account is the height of your ceilings (higher ceiling means wider spread of light) and position of bulbs (further apart means potential darker spots between light fittings). I went for standard 45 degree angle LED lamps, the same as the halogens they were replacing.

Type / Aesthetics
There are two types of LED downlighters:

Chip on board (COB)
These have one big LED and tend to be the more expensive lamp. Because they have just the single LED, they use reflectors to spread the light which looks nicer, more like conventional halogens but with a cleaner, narrower focus than SMB. However, COB LED’s are less efficient and usually need more cooling. The choice is also much less.

Surface Mounted Diode (SMB)
The more common technology, these use lots of smaller LED’s, are more efficient and tend to be cheaper to buy. Because there is more than one LED, the light is brighter and spreads further with a wide beam angle. Most LED downlighters are SMB type so there’s lots of choice but huge variation in quality and how they look. The cheapest have no frosted lens cover, just a bare circuit board with LED’s, and look bloody awful. Others have weird arrangements of LED’s so the light isn’t spread very evenly or the lens cover looks like it has acne.

Warranty
There’s an awful lot of crap LED lamps available from dodgy Chinese companies. LED lamps also seem to be a little less reliable than conventional halogens so a bulletproof warranty is essential. I’ve had branded LED’s fail on arrival, after a few days, weeks and even months so being able to easy replace the LED under warranty is a must. Some companies want you to fill in forms to get a replacement or only offer a standard 1 year guarantee. Other companies are interested in just shifting a box load of imported LED’s before disappearing into the sunset with the money so you want to buy from a supplier who will be around.

I bought my LED lamps from an established UK supplier offering a no quibble 5 year warranty so getting a replacement has needed nothing more than just a phone call to ship a new lamp.

Watts
Along with colour and warranty, this is a key thing to consider.

When looking at 50W halogen replacements, you’ll see loads of LED bulbs advertised as “50W equivalent”. Ignore this and look at the lumens output of the actual LED bulb instead. Disregard the actual watts of the LED too because as mentioned, the cost savings between a 4W and a 5W LED bulb total about 80p per month if you had 30 LED bulbs running for 6 hours a day.

Some distributors say that you only need about 350-400 lumens depending on the quality and efficiency of the LED bulb. I decided to try this out and bought a sample of GU10 warm white bulbs from different companies. What I found was a huge difference in the brightness and quality of light:

50W equivalent 5W LED bulb with 350 lumens
Complete rubbish. Nowhere near as bright as a 50W halogen but would be OK for a 35W halogen equivalent.

50W equivalent 6W LED bulb with 450 lumens
Still dimmer than a glow worms armpit, if you have a smallish room (say 12″ x 12″), this would *possibly* be OK as a 50W replacement depending on how many bulbs are in the room.

50W equivalent 6.5W LED bulb with 500 lumens
Not bad, this is just a little dimmer than 50W halogen but would do.

50W equivalent 7W LED bulb with 550 lumens
This is more like it. Good bright light and a decent 50W halogen replacement.

60W equivalent 8W bulb with 620 lumens
Even better and as bright, if not marginally brighter, than a 50W halogen. I went for these which were the highest dimmable lumens I could find.

The 30 odd 50W halogens have now all been replaced with 8W LED equivalents giving a massive energy saving of almost 75%. In total, including GU10 lamp holders, junction boxes and 30x LED lamps, it cost me under £100 it;s already paid for itself within a few months. Result.

 

To summarise then, if you have a bunch of hungry-ass MR16 50W halogen bulbs, it’s well worth the time and effort in getting these converted to LED.

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Useless hippy eco-activists protest against fracking

Monday 19 August 2013 @ 10:34 pm

With the Government giving the go-ahead for shale gas exploratory drilling, groups of idiot hippies, including waste-of-space Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, have chained and glued themselves together at various sites across the UK in protest.

Here’s what I don’t get; why are the police wasting time trying to free them? Just let the useless smelly layabouts stay glued and chained together, after a few days of no food, water and soiling themselves, they’ll soon get the message.

And another thing, just how do interfering do-gooders such as Caroline Lucas expect the UK’s energy needs to be met? If she thinks that solar power or those stupid frackin’ wind farms that conk out if there’s too much wind or too little wind will suffice, she’s even more deluded than the tree huggy hippies who want us all living like Victorian peasants.


Pathetic Britian grinds to a halt under meagre snowfall

Sunday 20 January 2013 @ 8:13 pm

As I remarked 2 years ago in this post here, it only takes a few days of meagre snowfall for Britain to grind to a halt. Year after year after year we have the same excuses trotted out and the same level of incompetence proudly on show for the whole world to make a mockery of.

Everything I commented on back in 2010 has been repeated again in the last few days; trains cancelled, flights grounded, not enough gritters, businesses closed, dire warnings to stock up as if the apolocapyse is upon and a motley collection of pompous useless freeloading Government officials and local council officials out in force to lecture us all about the dangers of venturing outside.


Surrounded by water but there’s still a drought

Friday 25 May 2012 @ 11:34 am

After the wettest April on record, water companies have still imposed a drought order on large swathes of South England. Only in pathetic third-world Britain, an island surrounded by water, would there be a drought order after a whole month of torrential rain. The answer as to why is depressingly familiar for long-term residents well versed in the ways of rip-off UK and yet another example of privatisating key utilities to serve up vast profits for shareholders at the expense of clobbering the electorate.

Since water was privatised in 1989 by the Thatcher government, these greedy water companies have enjoyed massive profits whilst investing less and less in building reservoirs, reducing waste, fixing leaks and replacing the old Victorian sewers. Of course, they would have you believe that investment has shot up but the reality is very different. In London alone for example, the number of reservoirs to store and retain rainfall has dropped significantly resulting in water shortages and drought orders almost every year. Meanwhile, sections of the plumbing system are being replaced at a labour rate slower than a Spaniard during the siesta.

Land that could have been used for reservoirs has been sold off for profit, usually to spiv property developers, whilst the water companies bleat on about fitting every home with a meter to “monitor” usage and reduce waste. They could save millions more by fixing the bloody leaks in the pipes but that would be too expensive for the shareholders. The same goes for desalination depots, of which there is only 1 serving the London area which doesn’t even work.

And don’t think the watchdog Ofwat will do anything about it either, it’s as toothless as a old crone with gingivitis and has no real interest in serving the public trust. Like virtually all other utility watchdogs, Ofwat is a quango stuffed full of jobsworths who are only too happy to issue the odd punitive fine and then sit back the rest of the year and collect their fat 6-figure salaries. It makes me sick and the Government is wholly to blame.

Unlike the other utilities, which should at least have been ringfenced for privatisation in the national rather than foregin interest, the water companies hold a monopoly in that the public do not have a choice. You are stuck with whichever greedy water board operates in your area so they are able to charge whatever they like.

Rather than spend millions fixing leaks, the water companies prefer setting up hotlines to shop your neighbours and imposing hundred pound fines for using a hosepipe. Other than re-nationalisation, the solution of course would be to pipe water from the rain sodden North to the South because the problem is not so much there’s no water, it’s that the distribution is poor and the wastage immense. The Government would do well to scrap the stupid bloody High Speed link that will cost billions to knock a mere 20 minutes off the journey time between Birmingham and London and use that money instead to improve the water distribution network. However, that would be too sensible and save far too much money for a Parliament obsessed with wasting taxpayer cash.

That such an essential utility as water has been privatised is scandalous. That it still remains privatised more than 20 years later instead of passing back into public ownership is even more outrageous. The fact that nothing has been done in those 20 years to improve the water network is enough to take to the bottle. But don’t worry, when the very last drop of water has been expended and the peasants are all reduced to standpipes accompanied by water rationing, the Government will be only too happy to plug the plug and flush us all down the sewers.

You can be sure there’ll be plenty of water left for that.


Another climate change scam to increase taxes

Tuesday 1 February 2011 @ 2:14 pm

The New Year has barely begun and we already have a top contender for the Most Stupidest Research award. It should come as no surprise that it’s about "climate change" that was recently rebranded and relaunched in a cynical marketing exercise designed to fool and tax gullible sheeple.

Scientists at the University of Colorado have announced that the Arctic Ocean is the "warmest it’s been for more than 2,000" years" and that we’re all in serious trouble, especially the polar bears. The so-called scientists claim they drilled into the ocean sea bed to find organisms dating back 2,000 years and then analysed the chemical composition to determine past water temperatures.

Now I’m all for saving the polar bears, magnificent creatures that they are but how the f**k do the "scientists" know that an organism is 2,000 years old? It’s not like they’re buried with a birth certificate or something.

Another scam to try and extort money from honest hardworking civilians.


Britain shivers under icy grip of incompetence

Sunday 12 December 2010 @ 8:35 pm

With forecasts having warned of snow several days earlier, it was of absolutely no surprise to anyone that the UK ground to a halt. First off the blocks were the train companies who wasted no time in suspending routes, cancelling services, leaving passengers stranded and generally making no effort to clear a few inches of snow off the tracks.

The usual excuses were trotted out for their quarterly airing; adverse weather conditions, unusual weather conditions, severe weather conditions, unexpected snow in freezing conditions, it was the wrong type of snow, the snow had fallen too quickly/slowly, the snow was blowing in from the east, the points had frozen, the track warmers wouldn’t work, the fat controller wanted a day off, staff were tucked up in bed, leaves on the line, pig on the line, Mexican bandits, you name it, we’ve heard it all.

Anyone foolish enough to actually visit a train station in the forlorn hope that a normal service might actually be running were met with silent announcements followed by deliberate misinformation and incompetent rail chiefs who decided it would be a far better proposition to run empty trains to their destinations instead of actually stopping to pick up cold and increasingly irate passengers (note to useless rail chief shysters, we are NOT customers).

Next up were the useless local government jobsworths who infest every council up and down the country and spend the majority of the working week thinking up new ways to waste council tax. These parasites are the first to demand payment when it comes to collecting council tax and the last to spend money wisely. And so it was that before the freeze, we had councils everywhere boasting about increased salt levels and how much they had invested in keeping the roads clear after the previous year’s debacle.

However, as soon as the white stuff began to fall, it soon became apparent that councils didn’t actually have any grit and the meagre supplies available were being stored up in some council depot presumably for the purpose of gritting the “chief executives” front drive or sprinkling on the fat bastard’s weekly bag of chips. Why the f**k does a council need a chief executive anyway? In any Coalition spending cut, these scamming fat cats should be first in line to dump on the scrapheap.

The question all sane voters were asking themselves is what’s the bloody point in buying salt if you’re not going to actually invest in the trucks to grit the roads and spread the damn stuff? It seemed that there were about five gritters in the whole of the country and only two of these were fully operational.

Nevertheless, taxpayers are assured that council tax will continue to be demanded with no return on investment so it can be wasted on local government spivs to go on jollies with gold plated index linked pensions on standby for when they finally decide to “retire” on grounds of ill health.

And then we have the airports. With the snow piling up and flights being delayed, Heathrow soon ground to a halt as the lazy Spanish owners couldn’t be bothered to clear the runways. No surprise there then, I’ve yet to meet any Spaniard who could offer more than 30 minutes of actual useful labour.

The accusations began to pile up as the airlines, quite rightly, blamed BAA who in turn blamed the airlines. Truth is that airlines are responsible for de-icing their planes and holding gate’s only with BAA responsible for everything else. It’s scandalous that the Government actually let a two-bit cowboy outfit like Ferrovial buy Heathrow for next to nothing. The heavily debt laden Spanish have used Heathrow as nothing more than a cash cow to pay off their other loans with no effort to invest or improve services. No wonder that third world Heathrow is often voted the worst international airport in the world. It certainly resembled a third world hell hole with passengers huddled under blankets, sleeping in terminals and soup kitchens erected to feed the hungry.

With everyone transfixed with images of passengers being thrown out of Heathrow and burly security guards manhandling irate travellers, the time was ripe for petrol prices to creep up which they duly did in that time honoured tradition of shafting the poor sod motorist out to buy a pint of milk for the morning cuppa. The oil companies insist that prices have been rising all year and are dictated by supply and demand which is about as convincing an argument as the doctored dossier claiming Iraq could deploy WMD’s in under 45 minutes.

Truth is that the hedge funds, shysters and wide boys who “work” in the futures market have been driving up prices all year to make a killing by hoarding petrol. These spivs are nothing more than gamblers in shiny suits with a penchant for strippers, beer and tasteless apartments complete with blinged up crap wagon parked outside. Add to that a Government full of chauffeur driven out-of-touch ministers who never have to fill up, the fuel escalator and VAT increase due in the New Year and a sizeable amount of cash going into the Treasury through petrol tax and there is no way motorists will have it any easier in 2011. Even if oil prices fall, there is little to no visibility of this at pump prices which only reinforces the wholly deserved tag that the UK deserves as rip off Britain.

Last of all we have the utility companies who gleefully announced huge rises in gas and electricity the very moment temperatures began to drop. Like with Heathrow, the Government has been far too busy flogging off our utilities to the cheapest foreign bidder to actually stop and think about what position this places us in. As a result, the UK is at the mercy of French and German owned energy giants who use the UK to subsidise cheaper prices in their own domestic markets. Furthermore, with no investment in storage, all our utilities are bought pretty much at the market spot rate which means the energy companies can charge us whatever the hell they like. And don’t think for one moment that the so called energy watchdog will do anything about this blatant scam, the likes of Ofgem have about as much bite as a guppy fish. Any “investigation” inevitably leads to a mere slap on the wrist and a stern warning followed by the chief executive proudly announcing another result for the consumer. Remind me again exactly why a consumer watchdog needs a f*****g chief executive?

As for the Global Warming scammers, they insist that snow in winter is the result of global warming (now rebranded “climate change”) and nothing to do with actual seasonal change. Seems global warming is responsible for it being cold in winter, hot in summer, wet in spring and breezy in autumn. Expect an exciting range of new climate change taxes coming to a bill near you soon to complement the rebranding exercise.

So, there you have it; incompetent Britain scuppered by a bit of snow that other countries comfortably manage to cope with. Expect the same next year. And the year after that. And the one after that too!


Hypocrisy of desperate Obama

Friday 18 June 2010 @ 10:01 pm

The hypocrisy of the US is staggering and knows no limits. Barack Obama has done his level best to divert attention away from his woeful performance as "President" by orchestrating a witch hunt over the BP oil spill. By publicly berating BP chief Tony Hayward and making him a convenient scapegoat, the Oba-Messiah has aimed to boost his own popularity and conveniently overlooked the simple fact that it was a bunch of yeehaa cowboy US companies involved that caused the blowout.

The likes of Transocean who supplied the rig and Halliburton (who else?) who were contracted to run the operation have been quietly ignored so BP can be beaten up and held to account. Whilst there’s no doubt BP should hold some responsibility for this disaster, it’s outrageous that the US companies involved are being let off the hook. But then again, what else can you expect from a tin-pot President facing disastrous mid-term elections? I have just two words for this incompetent spin doctor masquerading as leader of the so-called free world: Union Carbide. Or Exxon Valdez. Or Piper Alpha, take your pick.

The worst industrial disaster that the world has ever seen occurred in December 1984 at the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India. Over 10,000 people died at the hands of the American Union Carbide Corporation and guess how many American executives were held accountable and thrown in jail?

Zero.

The hypocrisy stinks like a Texas whorehouse and Obama knows it. By going for the popular vote to appease clueless fat Americans who have about as much awareness of world events as they do a healthy diet, Obama has yet again paraded the arrogance and obnoxious streak of the USA which for far too long has been allowed to get away with murder.

And so it is that His Holiness Obama has wasted no time in vilifying BP and demanding a $34 billion dollar fund in compensation for victims of the oil spill. In contrast, the Indian government spent 15 years pursuing a $3.3 billion dollar claim against Union Carbide and eventually had to settle for a mere $470 million.

The amount of compensation demanded by the US is a joke. Never mind that pension companies on both sides of the Atlantic rely heavily on BP dividends or that no such similar funds were set up when all the American banks collapsed, the US is as greedy for money as it is for the 20 million barrels of oil it consumes daily, more than any other country in the world and as much as the top 10 global consumer economies.

So what about our owned esteemed Prime Minster? David Cameron refused to condemn Obama for singling out "British" Petroleum over the disaster even though BP dropped the word "British" from its title several years ago and employs more Americans than Brits.

Meanwhile, BP has been bullied, cowed, silenced and forced into having to accept whatever El Presidente wants without so much as a token gesture of protest against the other spiv American companies directly responsible for the disaster.

Time for BP to start standing up to this fool and time for Cameron to get off his knees when dealing with the Messiah.