This month’s prize political prat is former chancellor Geoffrey Howe, now Lord Howe of Aberavon and well known for stabbing Margaret Thatcher in the back.
Seems his lordship has decided that 2012 is the year that we should abandon miles, pints and ounces and fully embrace the metric system. Apparently he believes that visitors to the Olympics will think that Britain is hanging onto its imperial past, and that this is a bad thing!
He believes that the mixture of metric and imperial in this country is a ‘deeply confusing shambles’. Well, it might confuse a doddery old bastard like Howe, but I for one am quite happy with things the way they are. Furthermore, he says that the lack of any attempt by the government to clarify matters was a glaring ommission from the Queen’s speech.
Howe made these astonishing pronouncements during the Lords debate on the said speech. He went on: ‘Weights and measures are in a mess. Litres for petrol and fizzy drinks, pints for milk and beer, metres and kilometres for athletics and the Ordinance Survey, miles per gallon for cars, the metric system for school, still pounds and ounces for the market.
‘This muddle does matter. It increases cost, confuses shoppers, leads to serious misunderstandings, causes accidents, confuses our childrens education and, quite bluntly, puts us all to shame.’
Well, it might put you to shame, Geoffrey, but some of us are actually proud of our heritage and our way of life and would rather dump the metric system than the other way around…
But there’s more: ‘The country has been dithering on the issue for 150 years (really??) and that has led to a split between the metrically literate and a rudderless, bewildered majority. The only solution is to complete the changeover to metric as swiftly and as cleanly as possible.’
And while we’re at it, yer lordship, why don’t we drive on the right and change all our electrics to 110 volts like good little European drones?
For being completely and utterly out of touch with reality, and for lacking any sense of what’s really important right now, Lord Howe of Aberavon gets my ‘Political Prat of the Month’ award…