Anorak News | A Very British Mess

A Very British Mess

by | 9th, July 2004

‘IF it weren’t for the fact that most Frenchmen have ten fingers, the metric system of measurement might never have held sway.

Steve Thoburn – 1.829 metres under

Indeed, there is a chance that the European Court of Human Rights would uphold a campaign by Britishers opposed to metric who are blessed with eight, nine or, even 11 fingers.

Is metric not bigoted, they’d say. Is metric not the Nazism of the measurement game?

It’s a defence that might well succeed. After all, as the Mirror says, it’s almost 40 years since the government of the day created the Metrification Board with the aim of converting us all from pounds and ounces to kilos and grams.

But we never went the final yard, or 0.9144 of a metre, as we should have.

And yesterday, the UK Metric Association published a report entitled A Very British Mess, in which it calls for a swift completion of the move from imperial to metric.

Championing the cause for the meltdown of the old iron ulna is none other than the most famous dead sheep alive in Britain today, former Tory chancellor and UKMA supporter Lord Howe of Top Meadow.

‘Plainly we can’t stay where we are with two competing systems,’ says he.

‘And it would be madness to go backwards. The only solution is to complete the changeover to metric – and as swiftly and as cleanly as possible.’

But Neil Herron, campaign director of the Metric Martyr* Defence Fund says this is ‘absurd’.

(*Steve Thoburn was the original Metric Martyr, having been prosecuted under an EU directive for using an illegal weighing machine. He is now six feet and not an inch more under the top soil – but his cause lives on.)

Having told us that we feel warmer if the temperature is given in Fahrenheit as opposed to the colder metric centigrade, Herron says: ‘We British are quirky. The pint, the yard and the mile are part of who we are.’

‘Can you imagine any political party stating in its manifesto that it will force the country to go metric?’ ask Herron.

Well, since he asks, yes we can. But with Herron and his ilk around, such a pledge will meet with stiff resistance.

‘Save the pound’, as Herron and his supporters like to say – and as do some politicians in their manifestos…’

Posted: 9th, July 2004 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink