David Cameron Wishes Britain Would Abandon The Metric System

David CameronBBCPrime Minister David Cameron on Newsnight.

Over 40 years since Britain committed to the metric system as part of its membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) Prime Minister David Cameron has said he’d prefer the country to abandon it.

Asked by BBC Newsnight presenter Evan Davis whether children in schools should primarily be taught in grams or in pounds and ounces the Prime Minister replied:

I think I’d still go for pounds and ounces. Rather like we use miles and pints.

There is a difference between wistfully suggesting that it would be nice if kids learned in feet and inches and actually introducing a bill to roll back the global scientific standard for weights and measures, of course. Cameron is unlikely to try to persuade parliament to bring back the furlong and the fathom.

But the call will be seen as a sop to traditionalist wing of his Conservative Party, after a month in which Cameron has seen two of his MPs defect to the UK Independence Party. With the ability to use budgetary giveaways to win back support constrained by a commitment to a programme of harsh cuts after 2015, his party will rely on convincing wavering supporters of his conservative credentials to win them back before the General Election next year.

None will be more pleased than members of Britain’s Metric Martyrs Campaign, launched after greengrocer Steve Thoburn was convicted for selling goods only in imperial measures in 2001. Thoburn had been caught by Trading Standards officers selling bananas by the pound and was convicted of breaching the Weights and Measures Act 1985.

In his judgement district judge Bruce Morgan said the case had focused on the “most famous bunch of bananas in legal history.”

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