Ounces instead of grams: Britain wants to return to imperial system – economy

Many Brexit supporters had recently become a little impatient. They wanted to know from Boris Johnson when the benefits of leaving the EU will finally be felt in everyday life. After all, the Prime Minister had promised nothing less than the return of freedoms thought to be lost. Now the wait is over: the UK government has released a list of projects that are creating excitement in the Brexiteers camp.

The most applause went to the plan to abolish EU rules on units of measurement. In the future, UK stores will again be allowed to display merchandise in pounds and ounces only. This was not allowed by EU rules; the weight had to be specified in grams or kilograms at the same time. This “metric martyrdom” had long been repugnant to Brexiteers. With the return to the imperial system, which recalls the heyday of the British Empire, the government again wants to separate from the continent.

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Grocer Steven Thoburn (right) was fined in 2001 for refusing to give the weight of goods in kilograms.

(Photo: dpa)

A glance at the Conservative papers on Friday shows just how great this need is. The Times and Daily Telegraph aren’t the only ones remembering the story of fruit and vegetable seller Steven Thoburn, who was fined in 2001 for failing to report 34p of bananas in kilograms. At the time, the judge had formulated a sentence which reads like a warning from a Brexiteer: “As long as this country remains a member of the European Union, the laws of this country are subject to the doctrine of Community law”.

In the Brexit camp, the Thoburn affair is seen as a kind of starting signal for the Leave campaign. Boris Johnson was also wonderfully upset by the verdict. As editor of the conservative Spectator magazine, he wrote: “Why are we forcing the British to use Napoleon’s measures as the imperial system survives and thrives in America, the world’s most prosperous economy?

This can be confusing: you fill up a liter of gasoline, but you don’t buy a liter of milk, but two pints.

So this will soon be the case again in the UK: ounces instead of grams. A Times reader probably correctly pointed out that the imperial system “is not known to anyone who has left school since the 1970s”. The ounce as a unit of measurement in particular is hardly ever encountered in everyday life.

According to the government, the planned amendment of the law should take place “in due course”. But consumer advocates are already warning of a mess with units of measure. On the other hand, people in Britain are used to a number of back and forths. So you fill up with about a liter of gasoline, but don’t buy a liter of milk, but two pints, which in turn is 1.14 liters.

You always order a pint in a pub

Many British peculiarities also survived the UK’s accession to the EU. Britain, for example, stuck to the fact that road distances were given in miles and yards. And in the corona pandemic, notice after Brexit no one came up with the idea of ​​replacing the two-meter distance rule with a foot-inch variant, although it is quite common to indicate your own height. in these units of measure.

If there is one almost everlasting constant, it’s probably the pint you order at the pub. This unit of measurement survived EU membership, unlike the so-called crown stamp on beer glasses. For centuries this was considered proof of the correct calibration of ships, but was replaced by the EU-wide CE mark in 2007. Now the royal crown can return to beer glasses.

The Daily Telegraph on Friday called the Crown Stamp “a cornerstone of British life”. She survived two world wars and the collapse of the Empire, but she had no chance against Brussels. After all, this shame should soon be overcome.

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