Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Back to the bad old ways

 To be honest, Britain never did fully change over to a metric system of measurement. Distances on roads are still measured in miles and beer is still sold in pints. People refer to miles per hour. and miles per gallon even though they buy petrol in litres. 

Those of us who were at school before metrication was even thought of still have nightmares about some of  the units of measure we were taught.

We had to learn about furlongs, chains, rods, perches, roods and acres. Damn, it took all of our mental capacity to calculate in inches, feet, yards and miles let alone cope with these quaint extras. 

Then we had to master volume - gills,  pints, gallons, quarts, pecks and bushels. 

Weight brought us in contact with ounces, pounds, stones, hundredweights and tons. 

Currency was no better with pounds, shillings and pence added to which we had half crowns, florins, guineas etc. I remember one teacher who delighted in setting mental maths tests where you had to calculate how many three penny bits there were in a given number of guineas. 

Those who followed had an easier time of it and maths teachers gave a huge sigh of  relief. They still had to contend with 60 seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour etc but at least every other measurement was sensibly metric. 

Now, it seems that the Prime Minister wants to bring back imperial units to the UK. Not to replace the metric units but to be used alongside them if people so wish. 

Imagine if you go to the market and one stall sells apples by the kilogram and an other sells by the pound - no problem you can do the conversion in your head to see which is the better value. 

Of course, if you are a company  selling to the EU, you will still have to use metric units. So you could end up with two systems for your goods - one for Britain and one for the EU. You'll also need some imperial scales alongside your metric ones. 

Sorry Mr Johnson, I cannot see any way how this will improve people's lives in Britain any more than issuing blue passports did or putting crowns on beer glasses will. 

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