Thursday, May 10, 2007

An ounce of prevention... worth 0.4536kg of cure. The decision not to force Britain to abandon completely the imperial measurement system is both the right one for Britain and for the EU. Why it's right for Britain is patently obvious. The imperial system is infinitely more instinctive. How many of you think of your weight in kilograms? Or your height in centimetres? If Steve Harmison bowls you a ball at 94mph, I think that's a lot more descriptive than 151kph (although that's a bit academic if it's you he's bowling at I suppose).
So many if not most people prefer to use the imperial system for domestic and informal measurements. That's one good reason to keep it. A better one is that parallel measurements allow us to sell both to the US (imperial) and the EU (metric) without having to use different packaging - a not inconsiderable saving. So both for practical and more emotional reasons, it's best for Britain to keep using the imperial system. It's also, frankly, bugger all to do with the EU. What the hell is it to them that we use miles, inches, pounds and ounces?
And that's why this is the right step for the EU. It's hard to stir the British out of their habitual apathy to the EU - you ask the DK or Trixy. But one thing that would have virtually guaranteed rebellion and mayhem would have been the removal of the right to drink a pint. I shudder to think of it.


Blogger Clanroyden said...

Although some of the US imperial measurements are different. The mpg figures on a US car's trip computer can be quite alarming until you do the conversion. Actually they are still pretty alarming after the conversion....

10:06 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

It's probably the fact that the mpg stats are displayed as a decimal that's most concerning.

12:59 pm  

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