Wednesday 16 May 2012

Being savaged by a dead sheep

No words are adequate to describe my feelings about this speech which is simultaneously angry-making and yet very soporific. 

Miles, pints and ounces should be abandoned in favour of a fully metric system because visitors to the Olympics will think Britain is living in its “imperial past”, a former Tory chancellor has said.

What a ghastly sign of the times and from someone who should understand what conservatism means.

People think the Thatcherites, of whom Lord Howe was one, were social conservatives (a term which had not then been coined because it had not become needed). Nothing could be less true (even the law stopping local authorities proselytising for homosexuality was intended to stop wasteful spending).

I suppose he is a late 20th century Plantagenet Palliser, though not of high birth.

I am proud to belong to the bewildered rudderless majority. I agree with Charles Moore writing thirty years ago that the decimal system is atheistical. Twelve is the number of the apostles after all. There are other arguments but that will suffice.

I was taught both systems exhaustively at my primary school (including chanting '20 chains make a furlong' ).  I understood the metric system but had forgotten it  until I lived in Europe and was forced to try to use it. 

I remind myself in my head that metres are like yards and that 1 kg = 2.2 lbs. as it said in big letters on packets of sugar in the 1970s. I was surprised when an uncle told me many English people talk about metres and kilograms.  

When do people use decimetres? In the juniors' school, decimetres were my favourite metric measurements. I like the sound of the word.

No comments:

Post a Comment