Feeds

Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

Weights and measures a 'uniquely confusing shambles'

Boost IT visibility and business value

Lord Geoffrey Howe of Aberavon has demanded that the UK goes fully metric as soon as possible, describing the current mix of miles and kilometres and pints and litres as a "uniquely confusing shambles".

Speaking yesterday in the House of Lords, the former chancellor and deputy prime minister insisted: "British weights and measures are in a mess. We have litres for petrol and fizzy drinks but pints for beer and milk. We have metres and kilometres for athletics and the Ordnance Survey but miles per gallon for cars. We have the metric system for school but still have pounds and ounces in the market."

The ex-Foreign Secretary said that while "every civilised society has recognised the need for one set - and only one set - of standard measures", Blighty is a nation "living in the imperial past", and divided between a "metrically literate elite" and a "rudderless and bewildered majority".

Lord Howe noted that he'd been responsible for the metrication programme, as minister for consumer affairs in the Edward Heath government, but as a "penny-saving Chancellor of the Exchequer" had "readily accepted the decision to abolish the Metrication Board".

While his argument that us Brits should "complete the changeover to metric as swiftly and cleanly as possible" has merit, we'd advise him not to hold his breath. The peer himself admitted: "As long ago as 1862, a Select Committee of the House of Commons unanimously recommended the adoption of the metric system which had swept across Europe and elsewhere."

Since we've already taken around 150 years to not become a fully metric nation, and have at times resisted attempts to have foreign measures rammed down our throats, it seems likely the "dithering" will continue for the foreseeable future. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.