1 December 2015

Metric Measurements: We Should Adopt Them Fully

Adopting metric measurements makes sense. Having two system running in parallel is nonsense.

In 2007 the EU Competition Commissioner announced that plans to force the exclusive use of metric measurements onto Britain were being abandoned. I welcomed the decision, even though metric measurements are more logical and are used widely across Europe. But if some stubborn people in England want to buy their potatoes in pounds and ounces, it does little or nothing to impede intra-EU competition. In that case there is no good reason for the matter to fall within the remit of the EU.

Britain, in fact, made the decision to “go metric” in 1965, but in over four decades the country has been unable to complete the job. Generations of school children have rightly learned the easy-to-use and internationally recognised metric measurements, only in daily life to be confronted with arcane imperial ones. The mixture of the two systems creates all kinds of absurdities. What nonsense is it to buy, as I once did, 10 cm wide shelves sold in lengths of 6 ft?

Those who say that Britain’s national pride depends on retaining imperial measurements are demeaning Britain because surely pride in one’s country should depend on more than retaining some illogical way of doing something. Britain should complete the job of going metric, not because of anything to do with the EU, but because it is a sensible thing to do.