Christopher Hope: sycophantic client journalist
“Brexit triumph as Crown Stamp returns to pint glasses and pounds and ounces could return to shops as Boris Johnson plans to rip up EU rules” he announced triumphantly. This was followed by the Murdoch Times: “Boris Johnson is to announce the return of imperial weights and measures, making it legal for market stalls, shops and supermarkets to sell their goods using only Britain’s traditional weighing system post-Brexit”.
Will beer now taste different? Will it buggery. Nor will fruit and veg be any different if it is weighed out using Imperial measurements. That did not stop the Daily Brexit, still called the Express, going full Chicken Paté News over the event: “Frost's Brexit bonfire of EU rules - pounds & ounces BACK in shops and Crown Stamp returns … BREXIT Britain will ditch the EU's CE mark and bring back the Crown Stamp on UK pint glasses while imperial measurements may also return”. Just in time for the shelves to empty this Christmas.
Nige tries to work out how many pints make a session
But for those inhabiting the real world, a problem enters: very few people under the age of around 60 are familiar with Imperial measurements, having learned the rather more simple and straightforward metric system. Take fluid measurements: this requires working in Base 5, then Base 4, then Base 2, then Base 4 (fluid ounces, gills, pints, quarts, gallons).
And, to no surprise at all, dry weight is different again. While there are 20 fluid ounces to the pint, there are just 16 ounces to the pound. Having kicked off in Base 16, you then have to switch to Base 14, Base 2, Base 4 and finally Base 20 (ounce, pound, stone, quarter, hundredweight, ton). Got that? Good-oh - now it’s on to distance measurements.
Lee Anderson. And another self-interested clown
Because they’re yet more different. Here, you have to work in Base 12, then Base 3, then Base 22, then Base 10, then Base 8 (inch, foot, yard, chain, furlong, mile). And you can forget missing out chains, because until relatively recently, every railway line in the UK was measured in miles and chains. Imperial measures were superseded by metric ones for a very good reason: working in Base 10 works. But ardent Brexiteers don’t like it.
Cue former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage to pontificate “Great news. The Metric Martyrs case took 20 years but now we can buy goods in pounds and ounces again, not just Napoleonic measurements. We even get the crown back on pint glasses. Brexit is making us more British”. More laughed at by the rest of Europe, maybe.
Tory MP Lee Anderson, he of the private Facebook group with the sewer of bigotry running through it, declared “This is one of the many benefits of Brexit. The first pint I have with the crown on will taste much better”. Which is complete bullshit: I have recently enjoyed the spread of the craft beer revolution to Bratislava, Genoa, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon, and can confirm that a stamp on the glass has sod all to do with what’s inside it.
This dead cat will not deflect from food shortages, or rising prices. And Messrs Farage and Anderson won’t be rocking up at Chinaski Lavapiés or Cerveteca Lisboa any time soon to tell them having crown stamps on their glasses will make their beer taste better. Idiots.
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Also, Nigel Fuhrage was boasting that the AUKUS pact would not have happened without Brexit. So, forget about the empty supermarket shelves and other shortages, shitty water, crap wages and a health service on its knees. Rejoice that the UK has teamed up with Uncle Sam for sabre rattling in front of 1.4 billion Chinese.
I read this:
The case became a cause célèbre among nascent Brexiteers and the wider issue was seized by Johnson, who was then the editor of The Spectator.
“Why are we coercing Britons to use the measurements of Napoleon, when the imperial system survives and flourishes in America, the most successful economy on earth,” he wrote at the time. “It is monstrous that little tinpot ‘metrologists’ on local authorities should be fanning out across the country, threatening shopkeepers with fines and imprisonment if they fail to comply.”
I wonder if former 'motoring journalist' [well, GQ magazine] @BorisJohnson can define what percentage of US-made vehicles don't need the use of metric spanner?
Ignorance wrapped up in a layer of misplaced nostalgia wrapped up in a layer of xenophobia. Just how damn hard is it to whip out your phone or tablet and use an app to do a five-second conversion from one measurement to another?
This once again proves that Brexit was not about improving the lot of this country and its inhabitants. Rather it was a section of society forever looking backwards through sepia-tinted specs.
I can't wait for the return of the farthing and the guinea. 🤣
As an ex engineer, an awful lot of money was spent converting imperial measurements to metric and using metric screws instead of BSF, BSW, BA etc. Who paid......we did. I can't believe that anyone in their right mind would want to waste even more money (ours!) changing it back again.
But we are talking about Boris.................and Farage................
We await much taking of the opportunities of Brexit to pursue an egalitarian economic policy by harnessing the powers of the liberated British State. Or, it turns out, any taking of the opportunities of Brexit to pursue an independent and peaceable foreign policy.
But it will once again be legal to sell things in imperial measures, not that anyone will. Most of us depend for food on huge corporations that certainly will not. Still, no one should be prosecuted for doing so. And now, they no longer will be. That they ever were was pursuant to an Act of Parliament, enacted by the Conservative Party.
Nor will imperial measures be taught again in schools, because who would teach them? But Britain is the only country in the world where the use of two completely different systems of weights and measures for all official and all unofficial purposes could result in anything other than total collapse. We should cherish the fact that in ordinary conversation everyone gave their height and weight in imperial measures when only the metric system had been taught in schools since before most people had been born.
Whereas Canada, New Zealand, and even Australia all gave up the imperial system decades ago, the never threatened pint of milk or beer will always be readily available in the Irish Republic, which will never leave the EU. Our own and so many other traditional weights and measures survive for the sale of bread or beer all across Europe because they are perfectly adequate, and even ideal, for the sale of bread or beer. They are, however, at least arguably too imprecise for anything much more than that, and an international scientific and technological culture simply could not function without a universally accepted system of weights and measures.
Unlike, I believe that it is correct to say, any part of the imperial system, the metric system was invented by an Englishman. It has a very long history in this country. Even leaving aside how long ago Imperial Britain's industrial zenith was, making it irrelevant to the present day, the bald claim that that was achieved entirely by the application of the imperial system does not stand up to the slightest analysis.
The Americans' system of weights and measures is their own, for all that some shared vocabulary might give rise to confusion. And it does ring true that the United States went to the Moon using non-metric units. If, for the sake of argument, that were the case, then it was more than 50 years ago. But there is no way that the Americans are doing anything remotely comparable in anything other than the metric system today, even if they were doing so in the 1960s, which itself strikes me as highly unlikely.
Remember, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter twenty years ago? Crashed because the software assumed metric but the acceleration data from the engines used Imperial units.
At least Wetherspoon's beer drinkers will be happy that their "Crown" glasses are empty because of Brexit lorry driver shortages.
Nice summary of why it’s a deeply stupid idea at https://mobile.twitter.com/PippaMusgrave1/status/1438559713604608003
Still, I for one look forward to not being able to buy food measured in units dreamed up by Alfred the Great after a night on the cheese rather than being unable to buy it in quantities measured by that ghastly foreign upstart M. Bonaparte.
Of course if you go to Europe, they sell half litres of beer but the mark is well below the rim. By the time it's filled to the top you get at least a pint if not more.
Same applies to many of the other 200 countries that use the metric system. Why would 'Global Britain' (tm) use a different system to, er, almost every country in the world?
Not that imperial measurements have ever been declared illegal by the EU anyway.
The "crown stamp"?
Another way of keeping forehead-knuckling, ruritanian monarchy-worshipping mugs on their knees. While weighed down with duo-decimal bullshit.
Just fuck off.
While on the one hand Bloody Stupid Johnson is determined to drag us kicking and screaming back to 1953, I'm loving* Grant Shapps' notion of the digital driving licence. According to Michael Green “This is a golden chance to shake off the bureaucracy, invest in our future, and realise our potential with world-leading transport that benefits all of Britain”. Sebastian Fox also claimed that this will “make transport fairer, greener and more efficient”. Chuck Champion was unavailable for comment.
Having experienced at first hand the reaction of a USAnian Highway Patrol officer when presented with an old-skool UK paper licence I can only imagine what they'd do if you wave a phone at them. But I expect it will involve guns.
* FSVO “loving”, obv.
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