23 JANUARY 2017

YOUR WORDS


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Article from BTNews 23 JANUARY 2017

AND FINALLY: Imperial v Metric – What after Brexit?

Miles v Kilometres – Pounds v kilogrammes

Half a pound of tupenny rice
Half a pound of treacle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop! goes the weasel

If Brussels had its way the nation’s favourite nursery rhyme might have been banned. 

Once Brexit is complete are we going to go back to imperial measurement?  Did we ever leave? 

We talk of flight levels in numerical terms – "FL310" is 31,000ft.  

Few will recall that the Metrication Board was set up in 1969 and proved to be a disaster. It was wound down in 1981.

Britain has never really been in favour of continental measurement.  The speeding signs are 30mph, 40, 50, 60, or 70. 

We use A4 paper and are probably stuck with it, whilst the US are still into foolscap.

Whoever heard of anything other than ‘missing by a mile’.  Every sports-loving German knows what that means.  According to FIFA the 6 yard line is 5.5 metres but the French call it the 6 metres line anyway.

Airbus, an aircraft builder very much in Europe, sells its seat pitch in inches.

As ever the BBC likes to think that ‘Auntie’ knows best.  The weather these days is in centigrade but as a gesture to the new President of the United States why don’t they go back to Fahrenheit, invented by Daniel Gabriel of that name, a German.

What happens after Brexit?  Do we weigh in with a new government department holding the grand title of “The Imperial Measurement Organisation”?

Will “can I have a pound of spuds” be heard again?  Or “a quarter of tea”.  0-60 and not 0-62.  And the British pint is still a pint.

Perhaps Mrs May has more important things on her mind.  She might put on a few lbs not having to rush off to Brussels, or is it Strasbourg?

How does the PM weigh it all up?  Will Whitehall prevaricate?

We bet a penny to a pound our readers can think of more examples (see below).

Let’s go Imperial!

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OUR READERS FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum


Tony Hesketh-Gardener, England

Allied to metrics in sport is time. In a 100 metre race a sprinter runs at about 10 metres a second and one can see the distance between the competitors. But in F1 qualifying sessions all that is given out is the lap time. In one session last year, the commentator said that the difference between two drivers - Hamilton and Rosberg, I think - was three thousands of a second. It would be so much more meaningful if they had a chart which would enable them to say "that is 20cm" or, better still, eight inches. The same applies to ski racing.


Louis Gonzalez, London UK

Fahrenheit counter-intuitively to us, wanted the boiling point of water to be zero and freezing point at 100 degrees lets keep things the way we are.. a happy compromise.. PS never was illegal to sell in metric units as long as they were measured in metric and converted : http://www.metric.org.uk/myths/consumer-protection#sunderland


Tony Hesketh-Gardener, England

How about including rugby? I was still refereeing when we went metric but the Rugby Football Union stuck with the five yard line, the 25 (yard line) and the 10 yard line either side of the centre line for quite a time. Pitches were a maximum of 100 yards long so the centre line was 50 yards and the 25s were midway between the goal line and the centre line. Now it is five metres, the 22 and the 10 metre line, so there is no logic. We invented rugby not the EU bureaucrats!


jackie , Malvern

I think part of the charm of the UK is that we can and do measure ourselves in Stones & Pounds whilst cooking in Grammes, measure rooms/furniture in metres but drive miles and still use Guineas and Hands for horses! Oh, and I am an engineer (BSc) & housewife ! :-)


jackie , Malvern

I think part of the charm of the UK is that we can and do measure ourselves in Stones & Pounds whilst cooking in Grammes, measure rooms/furniture in metres but drive miles and still use Guineas and Hands for horses! Oh, and I am an engineer (BSc) & housewife ! :-)


John Burke, Sussex

The measures in monosyllables of the Anglo-Saxons, who migrated from the Continent, make common sense for ordinary people. Leave all the centi-, milli-, kilo-, hecta- metres and litres for precision in science and technology, but pints, feet, pounds and square yards for homes and housewives.


Andrew Sharp, Surbiton

I agree with Laurie. Do you have any authority WHATEVER for "If Brussels had its way the nation’s favourite nursery rhyme might have been banned."?


Henk Heiden, The Netherlands

Interesting fact about German born Fahrenheit, is that he most of his time lived in The Netherlands where he invented the thermometer. What about Britain going to the Kelvin temp. scale? That was invented by William Thomson who later became Lord Kelvin. It can't be more British I think.


Mike Pitman, Jersey

Chill out Laurie Price! I detect a large tongue-in-cheek about this article!!


Laurie Price, Horsham

You'll be quoting from Trump next! If you purport to be a credible entity, stop knocking the EU and or please tell your readers how UK will be better off out than in? You are living in an unreal world of nationalism, nativism and nostalgia!


Robert Shaw, Burgess Hill

Let\'s NOT go imperial. Temperatures - in centigrade 0 degrees is freezing point, what could be simpler ?


, Edinburgh

It is Burns Night on Wednesday. Written in April 1795 it was sent to Mr Jackson, editor of the Dumfries Journal: Be Britain still to Britain true, Among ourselves united; For never but by British hands, Must British wrongs be righted!


Jock Smith, Edinburgh

Written in April 1795. The poet sent it to a Mr Jackson, editor of the Dumfries Journal


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