Feeds

Sun may never set on British Empire's pint

UK metric-system selling to be indefinitely deferred

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Campaigners and Conservative politicos claim to have won an indefinite reprieve for the traditional British pound, inch, foot and - perhaps most importantly - pint.

The BBC reports that the planned 2009 deadline for all UK/European sales to be conducted using the metric system has now been put in limbo, perhaps forever.

The Tories' industry spokesman Giles Chichester said EU commissioner Gunther Verhuegen had told him that the marking of goods in both metric and imperial could "continue indefinitely".

The commissioner agreed it was good for British and European industry to keep imperial measurements as it would make it easier for firms to sell to the US, apparently after Tory lobbying.

Chichester said: "After saving the crown on the British pint I am happy the Conservatives have persuaded the Commission that it is good not only for international business but for the British people that traditional measurements are kept."

The metric system was originally sponsored by French revolutionaries, and despite an early attempt by famed continental tyrant Napoleon Bonaparte to do away with it, has spread worldwide ever since. Resistance has been strong in the UK - as today's announcement clearly shows - but not a patch on that seen in the United States. Despite the fact that they were allied with the Frenchies against their British colonial rulers, rebellious eighteenth-century Americans never warmed to the metric system.

As the times went by, testy Yanks also refused to comply with British innovations in many areas; they refused to drink tea, pay taxes to unresponsive central government, or free their slaves, for instance. Many of these things eventually happened in America, but to this day even the lukewarm British acceptance of metric measures hasn't occurred Stateside - other than among drug dealers, anyway, and younger handgun fanciers - groups with a good deal of overlap.

But the USA is now the world's biggest market, and seemingly it is American intransigence which has saved the erstwhile mother country's measurements. Strange days indeed.

Presumably, Commissioner Verhuegen will now be reflecting ruefully that if you give these Brits an inch, they'll take a mile. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.