Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
11 September 2007

The EU has agreed to give up trying to force Brits to use the metric system. Without that pressure I fear my son will still have to learn about an archaic, illogical system of measures long past its sell-by date as well as metric. I remember being the first generation to learn metric in the UK and being told it was the future. And so it is – except here, it seems!


  1. Sounds like yet another area where the UK is following the US lead..

    But I thought the UK already used km and kg everywhere. What is it that isn’t metric?

    Comment by Reid — 11 September 2007 @ 7:27 pm

  2. Yes, the metric system has been legal in the United States since July 1866. So it seems to have been the coming thing ever since!

    Comment by David Cowhig — 11 September 2007 @ 10:45 pm

  3. The UK has the worst of both worlds – some things are measured in metric (temperatures) others in imperial (road distances, alcoholic beverages).

    Comment by David Brake — 12 September 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  4. All he’ll have to learn in Imperial measurements are miles (for distances by road, and he’ll learn those as you drive him around) and pints (for his beer). I fail to see what the problem is.

    Of course, you should teach him the Imperial system anyway. All the weird conversion factors will make him good at mental arithmetic 🙂

    Comment by David Cantrell — 12 September 2007 @ 1:31 pm

  5. Don’t forget people here commonly use inches and feet for height (and often other lengths) and stones (not even pounds!) for their own weight instead of kg. But we use litres not gallons for petrol. And of course our imperial measures aren’t even the same as American ones (where a pint=16 fluid ounces)! If we had ruthlessly stamped out Imperial when I was learning metric we wouldn’t have to worry about any of that.

    Comment by David Brake — 12 September 2007 @ 3:01 pm

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