As Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Blessed Margaret, Geoffrey Howe was responsible for scrapping Dennis Healey’s pip-squeaking 98% top tax rate, shifting the balance from the spongers to the entrepreneurs. But he was also a dripping ‘wet’ who advocated abolishing the Pound and signing up for the Euro. How did that idea work out, Geoff?
Speaking to the House of Lords this week, Lord Howe turned his attention to our tried and trusted system of imperial weights and measures. He said:
“British weights and measures are in a mess. We have litres for petrol and fizzy drinks but pints for beer and milk. We have metres and kilometres for athletics and the Ordnance Survey but miles per gallon for cars. We have the metric system for school but still have pounds and ounces in the market. Certainly, this muddle matters. It increases costs, confuses shoppers, leads to serious misunderstandings, causes accidents, confuses our children's education and, quite bluntly, puts us all to shame.”
Lord Howe is wrong! Shoppers are not confused by imperial measures. When asked, the public have repeatedly stated that they wish to retain pounds and ounces. America is the largest economy in the world and they manage to get along quite nicely using the imperial system.
We were not consulted about changing gallons for litres at the forecourt and if school children are unable to convert yards to metres, then sack their useless teachers rather than abolish a system which has worked for centuries.
There is a well known adage. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When are dinosaurs like Lord Howe going to get it through their heads that the public are sick and tired of politicians telling us what we can and cannot have, interfering in the minutiae of our everyday lives? In case Lord Howe hadn’t noticed, the economy is going down the pan. His time would be better spent trying to find a solution to our woes rather than worrying about people wanting to buy a mile and a half of bananas.