A Case for Imperial Measurement

Britain and the United States use Imperial units of measurement by law. It is the choice of the people. So why are metric units being forced upon us against our will ?

In Britain, the Mile, Yard, Foot, Inch, the Pint (of beer and cider and of milk in returnable containers) and the Troy Ounce of precious metals, are still in use – by law.

Wherever you look these days however, metric measurements are being forced at us from every angle. TV documentary programmes, TV News and weather bulletins, TV advertisements, magazines and papers, our own Government and all those who claim to have power under the Government, quote metric units where out of courtesy for the viewer or reader, Imperial should be used. They know we use and understand Imperial measurements but arrogantly believe we should be forced to accept the European units because that is where they think we should be. These people show no courtesy or thought at all for their fellow countrymen and women.

Eight independent surveys carried out over the last 7 years have shown conclusively that over 70% of the population, young and old, prefer to use Imperial measurements and understand them better. A survey carried out by the International Committee for Measurements and Instrumentation (ICMI) showed that only 2% of British people did not know their height in feet and inches (probably new arrivals to this country) while 71% (35 times as many) did not know their height in metres. There is similar ignorance in terms of understanding distance. British people use feet, yards and miles despite attempts by the European Union, the government, the BBC and most prolifically, Sky TV to make us think differently. Still more relevant, ICMI polled 1,005 people in the U.K. aged 18 and over. Asked if they preferred miles and yards or kilometres and metres, 86% said ‘Miles and Yards’ against 8% preferring kilometres and metres, with 6% ‘Don’t Know’ or ‘Don’t Care’. The figures were identical for 18-24 year-olds despite the metric units of measurement taught in schools. Moreover, when did the British people actually say to Government that we wanted metric units to be used ? So far as I know, we were not consulted at all.

Imperial measures are a tried, tested and trusted weights and measures system which has been in use in Britain for over 2,000 years. They are therefore an integral part of our national history. Not surprisingly, European leaders claim that our use of Imperial measures gives Britain an ‘unfair competitive advantage’ in our trade with the United States because the U.S. use a similar system. But they would say that anyway even if Britain were no longer a part of the EU, since the Europeans hold a very dim view of the U.S. for its greater success.

The Imperial weights and measures of this country are part of our tradition and part of our culture. The attempt to impose metric units by stealth and deception has been going on for many years by a minority of politicians and is an act of outright cultural vandalism by our political elite whom we pay to run (read, “ruin”) our country in our name. It must be remembered that officials are there to carry out the wishes and preferences of the taxpayer and not to pursue agendas of their own. If people feel their wishes are ignored by officials who think they can do what they like, public confidence in officialdom is more than eroded.

One of the greatest metric offenders is Sky TV together with Sky channels such as Discovery and National Geographic and the many Canadian film makers all of whose staff seem to believe they are above question in whatever they do. The vast majority of their TV programmes produced specifically for the British viewing public are spoken in perfect Queen’s English by well known British narrators and personalities but are narrated in metric measurements only – as if we all clearly understood their relevance. Yet in these same programmes, all interviewees and others appearing in the films together with all diagrammatic presentation unanimously use Imperial units because the many programmes are made in Britain about British things. Even Sky weather forecasters cannot be trusted to understand and get right, the metric measurements they casually and confidently quote. Some tell us that we are to experience snow or rainfall which when converted to Imperial units, amount to greater than monsoon proportions. If Sky staff do not comprehend metric scales, why do they force them upon British viewers ? There is I believe, a deep conspiracy to make us European whether we like it or not. Written complaint has no effect upon these un-listening people. They do not have the courtesy to reply and such complaints though well mannered, are ignored outright.

In aviation and seafaring matters, international law requires the use of Imperial units only. All air traffic communication and aircraft instrumentation is in Imperial and altitudes and flight levels are given in feet. At sea, depths are given in feet or fathoms (which are measured in feet). In both disciplines, distances are given in (nautical) miles or an alternative at sea is in thousands of yards. And I believe it correct to say that aviation fuel is measured and pumped, in (U.S.) gallons or pounds weight.

The sheer arrogance with which metric units are thrust in our faces is deeply insulting, irritating and exasperating. Imperial units are as much a part of Britain as we, the people are. Isn’t it high time that we British stood up and had our say about this ?

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