Parallels with the Brexiteers – winning against the odds

During the Thatcher government of the 1980’s and the Major government of the 1990’s, the Eurosceptics were a fringe movement with few supporters. At the time, UK withdrawal from the EU was unthinkable and few called for the UK to withdraw from the EU, even among the Eurosceptics. Over the years, there were a number of trends that helped the Eurosceptics to gain public support for their cause and Euroscepticism grew in the media and in the Conservative Party. UKMA did not take sides in the Brexit referendum in mid-2016 and takes no position on Brexit or future UK-EU relations. Whatever one thinks of Brexit, the fact remains that the Brexiteers have won against all the odds. Brexit was achieved when the UK left the EU at 11pm GMT on Friday 31 January 2020. How did they achieve this against all the odds and what can UKMA learn from them?

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Government retreats on REUL Bill

The Retained EU Law Bill (REUL) Bill was scheduled for its Report Stage on Wednesday 19 April 2023. The Government has delayed the return of the REUL Bill. No new date has been set for the Report Stage. The Bill could be postponed for a long time, possibly beyond the next general election. After facing cross-party opposition from peers in the House of Lords, the Government is now considering what concessions to make on this Bill.

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Questions Government must answer about imperial units consultation

In June 2022, UKMA member Martin Vlietstra responded to the Government’s Imperial Units survey and downloaded his responses. Just over a week later, he downloaded his responses again and found that one of his responses seemed to have been changed behind his back and the option he picked to one question was removed. Despite the fact that the imperial units consultation ended on 26 August 2022, the Government have not yet published their analysis of the responses. When they do, they must answer some awkward questions about their botched consultation.

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PHSO initial response to my complaint about BEIS

After I exhausted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) complaints procedure and they failed to acknowledge or do anything about their misleading imperial units consultation document or biased survey, I sent off my BEIS complaints form dated 31 October 2022 to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) via my MP. After many months, I got an initial response.

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Metric measurements in airport rules

Following on from the previous MV article about the 100 ml liquid rule, we look at other airport regulations that involve measurements. Where measurements are involved, they tend to be expressed in the metric system, which is used worldwide. Metric units are used in airport regulations around the world. Here, we focus on rules at British airports.

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London City Airport recently scrapped 100 ml liquid rule, which still applies in airports worldwide.

On 4 April 2023, London City Airport scrapped the 100 ml liquid rule. 1 Since 2006, airports worldwide have insisted that travellers can only bring liquids in containers of up to 100 ml in their carry-on bag. 2 These days, we take it for granted that the 100 ml limit for liquids at international airports around the world is exactly the same quantity. This is a triumph for the metric system, which replaced many different national systems long ago. Before the metric system, the same unit names were used for different quantities in different national measurement systems and there was no common definition for these units. The worldwide 100 ml liquid rule shows the benefits of a world standard measurement system for international travellers (i.e., the metric system).

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Recent YouGov survey on attitudes to metrication of road transport

On 4 April 2023, YouGov carried out a survey of 4808 British adults about changing the rules around speed and distance in the UK from miles to kilometres. It revealed insights on different attributes based on region, politics, and age.

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Why the Metric Martyrs were wrong

Over twenty years ago, a group of market traders were prosecuted for using imperial measures (without showing the equivalent in metric units) and using unauthorised scales that could only measure in imperial units. Newspapers called this group the Metric Martyrs after Chris Howell, then weights and measures spokesman for the Institute of Trading Standards Administration (today the Trading Standards Institute), said that they could martyr themselves if they wanted to. As Ministers are thinking about allowing traders to choose imperial or metric units, we look at what is wrong with the Metric Martyrs’ arguments for freedom of choice in measurement usage.

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