Reform UK is a right-wing Eurosceptic party, formerly called the Brexit Party. Its support has recently been roughly as high as the Liberal Democrats, at around 9% of the electorate. Its slogan is “Let’s Make Britain Great”, which sounds similar to former US president Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”. How has Reform UK gained support in recent times without saying a word about imperial units?
I looked at Reform UK’s website to find out what they had to say about regulations in general and measurements in particular. In their own words, Reform UK says that they want to “remove vast swathes of unnecessary regulations that hinder growth”. They don’t say what these are or how they hinder growth. This suggests that they support the objectives of the Retained EU Law Bill, which threatens a lot of weights and measures legislation as described in the Rees Mogg’s Legislation Time Bomb Metric Views article. It is unclear from their website whether they see weights and measures legislation as unnecessary regulations.
They do not say anything about measurement policy in their manifesto or anywhere else on their website. This suggests that they do not see any votes in competing with the Government to reintroduce imperial units. Nevertheless, their polling gains have been mostly at the expense of the Conservatives. Reform UK focuses on bread-and-butter issues such as taxes, immigration, energy supplies and prices, NHS waiting lists and the economy. These are issues that matter to the general public. UKMA takes no position on these issues.
Reform UK has been exploiting dissatisfaction with the economy, immigration, soaring energy and food bills and long NHS waiting lists. They promise lower taxes, lower immigration, secure borders, cheaper energy and zero waiting lists.
Despite the Government’s plans to reintroduce imperial units and scrap thousands of EU-derived laws at the end of this year, it is not helping their popularity. In recent times, PM Rishi Sunak and senior ministers have been silent on these issues and have been talking about the issues that matter most to the public, such as the economy, cost of living and the NHS. The ruling Conservative Party has recently been polling in the high teens and low twenties and are around 20 points behind Labour in the latest opinion polls.
When will the Government get the message that the reintroduction of imperial units will hardly make any difference to their electoral prospects? As the UKMA Still a Mess report reveals, weights and measures policy makes very little difference to the outcome of elections. The reintroduction of imperial units will not help the ruling Conservative Party to increase their popularity or win elections.