Go Brexit, ditch metric

Jon Danzig |

The government has announced that it will bring in a new Brexit law to allow traders to scrap metric measurements and sell products and food in just pounds and ounces only.

Do you know what 1kg of bananas is in imperial measurements? No, I didn’t think so.

(It’s around 2 lb 3 ounces.)

Since 1974, all state schools in the UK have been required to teach the metric system as the primary system of measurement.

Older people (say, born before about 1960) will have learnt only imperial at school, but they’ve had ample time and opportunity to become familiar with metric units – and many have done so without difficulty.

So, what’s the point to scrap metric and go back to the old measurements, just because of Brexit? I can’t see any point. It’s daft.

Just after the EU referendum, veteran Tory Eurosceptic, Sir Bill Cash, MP, penned an article in The Sun with the headline:

‘WEIGH TO GO Top Tory explains why we should return to imperial measures NOW and stick two fingers up to EU bureaucrats’

He wrote, ‘The criminalisation of retailers for daring to sell groceries in pounds and ounces was one of the biggest outrages of EU policy.’

And he added, ‘Now an end to that injustice with the so-called ‘Metric Martyrs’ is within sight.

‘The fanatics and bureaucrats — who are often the same thing — wanted to persecute shopkeepers just for using imperial measurements their customers understood.’

But as the European Commission pointed out in response:

‘The EU has never banned pounds and ounces or other imperial measures.

‘EU law does require metric measurements to be used – though already in 1965, eight years before joining the EEC, the Wilson Government decided to initiate the UK’s metrication programme, in response to global moves in this direction.’

EU law has always allowed imperial measures to be used alongside metric ones.

The so-called ‘Metric Martyrs’ were prosecuted in 2001 for using illegal scales, which were not capable of weighing in both imperial and metric systems. They lost their court cases and appeal.

At the time a government spokesman commented,

‘In the UK we have been moving to metric since 1965. This is not a European issue. Most of the world has gone metric.’

Back in 2001, the EU Commission also commented:

‘Metrication in the UK is not the result of British membership of the EU.

‘In 1965, eight years before joining the EEC, the Wilson Government decided to initiate the UK’s metrication programme, in response to global moves in this direction – Ireland and all Commonwealth countries had already adopted the metric system.

‘The transition has been a gradual one but, for three decades now, children in British schools have enjoyed a metric-only education.’

But ardent Brexiter, Sir Bill Cash, stated,

‘We have a complete culture of traditional thinking on the subject of imperial measurements and yet metric was just imposed on us.

‘There will be people who say, ‘I have been brought up at school being taught in metres and kilometres, and other metric units’, and that is perfectly understandable.

‘They should not worry. There will still be grams and kilograms.’

Added Sir Bill:

‘But there are many people who wish to return to traditional imperial measurements and there is no reason on Earth why they should not be allowed to do so, alongside metric.’

And that’s exactly what we’ve had when an EU member. So, why the fuss, and why change anything?

The government’s new Brexit thinking, however, is to allow traders to sell in imperial measurements only, without the need to show the metric equivalent.

To me, that’s just bananas.

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