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British government wants to reclaim imperial dimensions

The potatoes are for sale in imperial terms in Darlington, England on September 6, 2018.

The potatoes are for sale in imperial terms in Darlington, England on September 6, 2018.
Photo: Oli Scarff / AFP (Getty Images)

The UK government has released a 23-point list that it will tackle now that it is no longer part of the European Union. And one thing in particular causes quite a few eyebrows. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government says it wants to allow retailers to place goods exclusively in imperial dimensions not metric.

The UK officially switched to metric in 1965, but like the Commonwealth of Canada and Australia, a mix of metric and imperial units still exists in day-to-day use across the UK.

When the UK was part of the European bloc, EU rules meant that UK retailers could only report imperial measurements if metric measurements were also specified. But Johnson wants stores to again indicate units in feet and ounces rather than grams and liters.

The proposal caused ridicule and confusion from some Brits on the Internet, when one Financial Times writer jokingly said, “YES. I can’t wait to go to the pub again and order a pint of beer. ” The joke, of course, is that you can still order a pint at any bar in the UK because the British have never fully converted to metric.

“There is a branch of British nationalism that is essentially a bunch of older white guys who wish it were still the 1970s,” a Scotland-based political strategist tweeted. Thursday

Historically, the use of the imperial system has created a lot of confusion and even some disasters when people confused it with the metric system. Like at that time the NASA orbiter on Mars crashed into a red planet in 1999 due to confusion in calculations between imperial and metric systems, which led to the destruction of space equipment worth 125 million dollars. Or when a Canadian plane ran out of fuel in mid-flight in 1983 because they measured fuel in pounds, not kilograms

Even the United States, the only large country in the world that still uses a predominantly imperial system, does not have a strictly imperial system of measurement, if you look closely.… American children learn metric measurements in science classes, and metric medicines are handed out in pharmacies from Houston to Des Moines.

After all, many countries around the world use a mix of metric and imperial units, but there is something almost desperate about this new movement of the UK Conservative government. Can Boris Johnson focus on something more urgent right now? Probably considering the viral Photo empty grocery store shelves, a direct result of Brexit.




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