Sunday, 19 September 2021

Weighty Measures?

Emails from old friends across the Atlantic and in the far Antipodes ask what Britain's precise role in AUKUS is supposed to be, confirm that Australians and New Zealanders assume Britain to have been fully metricated for as long as their own countries have been, remind me that Americans assume that Britain has always been completely metric simply because of where it is on a map, and add that they also generally assume that we use the euro.

We are just another European country to the Americans, as they themselves have never denied. We happen to be a particularly craven and compliant one, but that is up to us. There is a story, which may even be true, that Yale originally arranged to pay Tony Blair in euros, on the assumption that that was his London bank account usually took. After independence from the EU, independence from the US.

I have also been asked how hard it already was to buy a pound of apples in Britain. The answer is, not at all. We do it all the time. It is just that a metric equivalent is also displayed, and you can buy in metric units instead if you prefer. I honestly cannot see what any legislative change would even be, much less achieve. You call this a culture war? You call this Brexit? I could give you some decidedly more concrete proposals for each and both.


  1. I've heard that Blair and Yale story, too. And you're right, what change are they proposing in the metric law?