Thursday, February 23, 2006

Give them an inch

It is reported that Neil Kinnock wants to scrap the speed limit in miles and set it in kilometres instead.

About time!

One mile, er that would be eight furlongs, or 80 chains or three hundred and twenty poles, or one Thousand Seven Hundred and sixty yards. A yard is of course three feet or 36 inches. So naturally it makes perfect sense to drive on the motorway at 560 furlongs an hour.

Of course, I was actually taught (some of) this stuff, but the metric system is a load more logical, and it is what we use for virtually everything else. All this "its a federalist plot" to get rid of it is just garbage. I don't care if I drive at 160 kph, or 160,000 metres ph or 1,600,000 centimetres ph or even 1,600,000,000 mm ph. At least its logical and it is what our kids have been learning for nearly thirty years.

The tizzy that the Conservatives have got into on this issue, just reminds me why being Conservative is such a dog-in-the-manger, dead-end ideology. Few people now actually understand the imperial system, but for traditions sake we still use a few bits of it. It is an expensive, irrelevant anomaly. But say, "well lets get rid of it!" and the cry is that we must defend the mile. What is the point? No-one under the age of thirty five has the faintest clue what a perch, pole, rod, acre, peck, quart or gallon is, either in relation to each other or to the SI system which they actually learn and understand. Imperial measures are charming, maybe, but inefficient and stupid. Let us complete our partial metrication, say I

- I'll happily raise 548 millilitres to that.

1 comment:

Will said...

Peter Hitchens was on the radio this morning complaining that you couldn't divide some or other SI unit by three. Dividing one killogram by three is a helluvalot easier than dividing a stone by three - or does he know 3/14 a decimal off the top of his head?

As I understand it, a law to begin the change to metric predated entry into the EU by some years. But we need to stop prosecuting people for using their preferred measures - that's just a waste of time and terrible PR.