Metric Views reported a few days ago on the mixed fortunes of some of the parliamentary supporters and opponents of a single system of measurement for the UK. This produced several comments about the prospect of a new Government.
Metric Views will offer some thoughts on this topic in due course, but in the mean time, we are pleased to pass on some of the comments from our readers.
As a result of transferring these comments from another article, several appear to have been published at the same time. The actual time of posting appears at the end of such comments. Please accept our apologies if the publication of your comment was delayed.
6 thoughts on “The UK has a new Government. So what?”
With Gordon Brown resigning, change is coming to Number 10 Downing Street no matter what. Let’s hope the government, whoever leads it, will bring in someone to lead DfT that understands the wisdom of converting road signs and does not conflate it with any sort of “knuckling under” to Brussels or, conversely, that keeping Imperial road signs somehow shows the UK’s “independence” from the EU.
(Posted on 2010/05/10 at 20:01)
As a Non-British correspondent to your circulation, I wish to say that the ultimate mover of the metrication process in the UK will be based on economics. When the forever tradition-bound US begins to feel the pinch of lost global businesses due to dualism, the metrication process will gain grounds in this last bastion of traditional hodge-podge, and the UK will undoubtedly follow suit, create a strong movement in favour of metrication. Until then, however, the British champions of the illogical measurement muddle will have an excuse to remain square pegs in round holes.
Budai, Andrew E. educator, active assistant to Canada’s conversion to SI
(Posted on 2010/05/11 at 02:15)
At the time of writing, David Cameron (leader of the Conservative party) has just become the Prime Minister with an announced intention of forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, subject to ratification by their respective parties.
Chris Huhne (Liberal Democrats), who is a likely candidate for a cabinet post in such a government, is a strong supporter of metrication.
This can only be a good thing.
Personally, I very much hope that this new government does prove to be stable and that it manages to steer Britain out of the current financial crisis as painlessly as possible and with fairness to all, not only because I care deeply about my country and its people, but because it will show that coalitions can work and will be a credible demonstration of what a PR system of voting could produce.
(Posted on 2010/05/11 at 23:39)
Who will be Transport Secretary, looks like being a Conservative filled post at the moment – could be crucial ?
(Posted 2010/05/12 at 13.46)
Perhaps the new Minister of Transport (whoever that turns out to be) will be willing to take a few preliminary steps to completing the last major gap in metrication in the UK, namely road signs.
I’m thinking the DfT could make it clear that private signs on roads showing distances in meters are legal. The DfT could also begin a program of replacing distance signs with those using meters (which is how the Irish began their process) even if they have to be covered with overlays in Imperial for the time being to prevent a hue and cry.
Lastly, DfT could do all the planning for converting speed limit signs (new rules on what the speed limits would be in km/h; lining up suppliers and getting quotes for delivery of speed limit signs with possibly Imperial overlays as well, etc.)
Once all this has gone forward, the government could choose a time after it is established in popularity but well before the next election to “pull the trigger” on the project to replace the speed limit signs, beginning with a public education campaign prior to removing Imperial overlays (following the public education program implemented by the Irish).
(Posted on 2010/05/12 at 19:28)
We have heard a lot in the last few days from senior politicians of all parties about the importance of putting the national interest first.
In 2006, UKMA published a report “Metric signs ahead” in order to demonstrate that “… it is in the national interest to fix a date for the adoption of metric road signage” (p. 6 para 1). Predictably, in the discussion that followed, considerations of cost drowned out those of the national interest.
I can’t see this changing in the near future, but who knows?