The British Can Count in Pounds and Ounces Again Lord Brexit Announces
The British are allowed to sell their fruit and vegetables in imperial weights again. With this announcement by Lord Frost, aka Lord Brexit, the ‘Metric Martyrs’ are proved right after a struggle of twenty years.
The abolition of pounds (453g) and ounces (28g) has played a significant role in Eurosceptic sentiment in the UK. “Brexit makes us more British,” was the jubilant response of primaeval Brexiter Nigel Farage.
Sunderland was the first city to vote in favour of Brexit on referendum night in 2016. After all, that’s where the revolt against European regulations had started fifteen years earlier after greengrocer Steven Thoburn was convicted because his scales only showed imperial measurements. This was discovered by an investigating officer who, posing as a customer, had bought a bunch of bananas.
Thoburn was the first greengrocer to be convicted by the court, but certainly not the last. ‘Metric Martyrs’ appeared in court in several places in the country, even when they sold their apples and pears in both sizes. The European Commission looked on with dismay as British officials and judges seemed to go beyond the guidelines prescribed here.
In 2009, the British decided to change the regulations and still allow the display of imperial measurements. The idea that Brussels wanted to ban imperial sizes altogether was already widespread by then, as was the story, aided by Boris Johnson that Eurocrats determine how crooked bananas can be. The call is now sounding to posthumously quash the conviction of the ‘martyr’ Thoburn, who died in 2004.
The Johnson administration is now also allowing greengrocers to use only imperial sizes. That will be fine for older Brits but could again create confusion for the younger generation who have been raised in metrics. Except for the United Kingdom, only the United States, Burma and Liberia use Imperial units. The British never went all the way to decimal. For example, both kilometres and miles are used in traffic.
Johnson has also announced that beer glasses with a crown stamp will be returned. Since the days of King William III, innkeepers had to serve beer in glasses with a crown and a number. In 2007 this was replaced by a European quality mark. The Campaign for Real Ale, a pressure group championing the traditional pub, has always fought this change and can now toast to their win.