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Coppers

Back to the future?

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Yay, team. Maybe so??

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Surely not?

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4 hours ago, Coppers said:

Ha ha - nonetheless, the bonfire of EU regulations is a good thing, especially when you read lines like this:-

Quote

 "However, the EU allowed Britain to use imperial measurements alongside metric"

Very gracious of them. They also had an army of jobsworth council acolytes to rigidly enforce the rule. 

My own view is that it's up to each trader whether they use imperial, metric or both. I'd personally use both give that we've now got different generations familiar with one or the other.   

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4 hours ago, Coppers said:

Any chance pre-decimal coinage may be making a comeback?

It would be a hell of a boost to our IT industry! Can you imagine the amount of work needed to convert all our old systems to £sd?

When I was with IBM in the 1990s we used to joke that that was the way to really create "jobs for life".

 

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5 hours ago, 1949threepence said:

Ha ha - nonetheless, the bonfire of EU regulations is a good thing, especially when you read lines like this:-

Very gracious of them. They also had an army of jobsworth council acolytes to rigidly enforce the rule. 

My own view is that it's up to each trader whether they use imperial, metric or both. I'd personally use both give that we've now got different generations familiar with one or the other.   

No they didn't. Typical Daily Mail invention 0% based on fact. The EU did not have officials over here checking on food labels etc.

And we were only ever half-assed metric anyway: pints etc in pubs. Miles not kilometres. Lots of food sold in 454g (1lb) packs. Same with our membership of the EU : not in the Eurozone. Not in Shengen. A big budget rebate making our contribution the lowest % of GDP of any member. And in return, we had lots of lorry drivers and no empty supermarket shelves.

.

The only generation comfortable with Imperial-only is the faux-nostalgic old fogeys who won't be around very much longer.

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We have been essentially metric for many decades now and I can't believe we want to go back to the less intuitive imperial system. 100p to the pound, 1000g to the Kg, 100cm to the meter is just far more logical than 240pence to the pound, 28 grams to the ounce and 12 inches to the foot.

Even those in middle age are not comfortable with the imperial system. Youngsters won't have a clue. As Peck has pointed out, we still use a little Imperial occasionally for nostalgic reasons like pints for beers and milk. 

Let's use the "freedoms" from Brexit to do worthwhile things rather than taking steps backwards in time.

 

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1 hour ago, Peckris 2 said:

No they didn't. Typical Daily Mail invention 0% based on fact. The EU did not have officials over here checking on food labels etc.

And we were only ever half-assed metric anyway: pints etc in pubs. Miles not kilometres. Lots of food sold in 454g (1lb) packs. Same with our membership of the EU : not in the Eurozone. Not in Shengen. A big budget rebate making our contribution the lowest % of GDP of any member. And in return, we had lots of lorry drivers and no empty supermarket shelves.

.

The only generation comfortable with Imperial-only is the faux-nostalgic old fogeys who won't be around very much longer.

I'm afraid they did - and here it is in a good old pro EU Guardian link

The officials themselves obviously weren't hired by the EU, but they were from the council acting on the EU's behalf, by proxy, with the acquiescence of our government.  

Quote

 

Sunderland council, which has been vilified for its prosecution of Mr Thoburn, said it did not believe the public fully understood the details of the case or their intent in pursuing it.

"It was not the council's purpose to seek to bankrupt this person in what is clearly a test case and the council has endeavoured to act magnanimously by not seeking an order for costs at this stage."

They will seek costs, however, if the case goes to appeal. It has been estimated that the council has spent £75,000 on the case. The defence costs have been put at £35,000.

 

Yes, it was only weights and measures, and I agree that the current generations (including mine as it goes) was brought up on metric. But surely that's not the point. The underlying issue is one of freedom of choice and not being fined for using your measurement of choice in retailing goods. 

At the end of the day, both imperial and metric are absolute measurements and easily converted one to the other, in the same way as Fahrenheit to Celsius.

Did you ever hear the one about the Labour MP going door to door before the 2010 election, and when he was defending the compulsory use of metric measurements. A constituent asked him what he weighed - "13 stone" came the reply - "OK", came the further question, what's that in kilos? MP didn't know. Nor for that matter did he know what his height was in metres.    

The lorry driver shortage is Europe wide. It has zero connection to brexit, but the pandemic aggravated an already existing problem - link    

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I use both systems interchangeably, often on the same equipment.

An intelligent example:  from the late 60's onwards, Rupert Neve and Co. made the modules that sit in their studio recording consoles 45mm wide.

The consoles channel sections, or 'buckets' that hold the modules, commonly in sets of 8 or 12, were multiples of 1.8" wide.

In the horizontal aluminium extrusions that make up these buckets, lie threaded strips so the modules can be held in with thumbscrews.

The tapped holes in this strip are spaced .2" apart, even on 'later 'metric' consoles, and can therefore hold the 45mm modules 1.8" apart.

The result of this is two-fold:  The modules, when in the console, have a gap between them of .7mm, since 1.8" is 45.7mm, and therefore never jam, or are a sloppy fit.

The second benefit is that the console frame metalworker only has to work to two significant figures, everything being multiples of 1.8",

and the module metalworker only needs to work to 45mm.....

 

A very elegant  use of two systems at once.

If I'm making a big piece of gear, I'll join it with M4, M5 M6 bolts etc, but if the work requires a very tight tolerance,

I will cut the aluminium using millimetres, but tap the threads BA. This is FAR better than using metric in aluminium, for many reasons.

A _much_ better thread for soft  thin materials - stolen from  Swiss watchmakers 100+ years ago.

( BA is actually a 'metric' thread- they all have a relationship to each other, and the clearance size of one is the tapping size of the next, in the even or odd number sequence. The even numbers were  used widely, the odd numbers rarely, which is why the GPO made all their equipment use the odd sizes, so employees wouldn't steal the nuts and bolts...! )

 

If you have a small telescope or camera, the thread in the bottom is 1/4  20tpi BSW (Whitworth), NOT metric,

and the thread ( often in the plastic bottom of a camera) therefore doesn't wear quickly, like it would with metric.

 

If you are interested in mechanics, both systems should be used.

If you have no interest whatsoever in nuts and bolts or measuring things, the metric makes sense.

The Americans take Imperial a bit too far- if you buy firewood, you have no idea how much a 'Cord' is,

and to sound impressive, they insist of using 'thousand of pounds' when describing the weight of a truck, or the thrust

of a jet engine, when 'tons' would make more sense, and is easier to envisage....

 

Just my 2¢  (1.5 pence)

 

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7 hours ago, 1949threepence said:

I'm afraid they did - and here it is in a good old pro EU Guardian link

The officials themselves obviously weren't hired by the EU, but they were from the council acting on the EU's behalf, by proxy, with the acquiescence of our government. 

You missed the crucial paragraph in that link:

"Customers can ask for a pound of bananas but traders are obliged to weigh them in metric units. Thoburn had used imperial scales."

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7 hours ago, 1949threepence said:

The lorry driver shortage is Europe wide. It has zero connection to brexit, but the pandemic aggravated an already existing problem - link    

Fair enough - I didn't know that. HOWEVER... the total shortfall across Europe is 400,000 of which 76,000 are disproportionately in the UK. And a large part of that is due to Brexit as the East European truck drivers have all gone home. Yes, Covid is a facet too, but Brexit is cited as contributing factor.

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39 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

You missed the crucial paragraph in that link:

"Customers can ask for a pound of bananas but traders are obliged to weigh them in metric units. Thoburn had used imperial scales."

That was the whole point. Lack of shopkeeper freedom due entirely to EU rules. 

Obviously customers can ask for what they like. 

33 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

Fair enough - I didn't know that. HOWEVER... the total shortfall across Europe is 400,000 of which 76,000 are disproportionately in the UK. And a large part of that is due to Brexit as the East European truck drivers have all gone home. Yes, Covid is a facet too, but Brexit is cited as contributing factor.

Many of our drivers came from Poland whose driver crisis is worse than ours. The effect of Brexit is marginal at most. This would have happened even if we'd never left. 

The average age of a driver is 55, and many have used the pandemic as a reason to retire completely. I know for a fact how fed up to the teeth they were - not only with lousy working conditions, but also the fact they were held personally legally liable for any illegal migrants - not the firm they were employed by, but them personally. Border Force have issued fines of up to £20k even when the stowaways have been declared. An ex lorry driver in the local news round here asked, how many times were they supposed to check the vehicle, five, ten, twenty, a hundred times - and then risk violence from the migrants. He's now asking why Border Force aren't being fined for escorting them in - the irony is sick making for the drivers.   

Working conditions, wages, plus park up clean and rest facilities have got to be massively improved before new drivers are attracted in. It'd also help if regular toilet stops could be incorporated as many drivers develop renal problems in later life due to not being able to stop for hours to take a pee. 

No wonder these guys are leaving in droves. 

ETA: the last straw for many was that prolonged hold up just before Christmas last year when they were forced to hang around in their vans for days waiting for covid tests. The only people who brought them some warm food were the local Sikh Gurdwara, and the local mosque. Nobody else bothered. That's how much they mattered.    

Edited by 1949threepence
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22 hours ago, 1949threepence said:

That was the whole point. Lack of shopkeeper freedom due entirely to EU rules. 

Obviously customers can ask for what they like.

Eh? Why on earth would someone use an ancient set of scales, and why would you regard that as "lack of shopkeeper freedom"? There are EU regulations that businesses had to comply with, but there were also UK regulations and I don't hear you complain about those.

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10 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

Eh? Why on earth would someone use an ancient set of scales, and why would you regard that as "lack of shopkeeper freedom"? There are EU regulations that businesses had to comply with, but there were also UK regulations and I don't hear you complain about those.

Why shouldn't they use what scales they like? The customer isn't being defrauded either way. 

The prosecution against Thoburn was based on EU law:-

Quote

The prosecution stemmed from a 1994 EU directive that was signed into British law and took effect last year, making it an offence to sell loose goods in pounds and ounces. Customers can ask for a pound of bananas but traders are obliged to weigh them in metric units. Thoburn had used imperial scales.

 

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It's really quite simple - my generation was raised on feet and inches and pounds and ounces. We think in those units and can estimate in those units. Don't ask me to describe a person's height and weight in metres and kilograms. I can't do it - full stop. I have to do a mental conversion whenever metric is used. Use the 2 systems in parallel until my generation is dead.

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28 minutes ago, 1949threepence said:

Why shouldn't they use what scales they like? The customer isn't being defrauded either way.

You might as well say that shopkeepers should be free to use £sd instead of decimal. Oh wait, the EU had nothing to do with our going decimal :lol:

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4 minutes ago, secret santa said:

It's really quite simple - my generation was raised on feet and inches and pounds and ounces. We think in those units and can estimate in those units. Don't ask me to describe a person's height and weight in metres and kilograms. I can't do it - full stop. I have to do a mental conversion whenever metric is used. Use the 2 systems in parallel until my generation is dead.

Mine too, and I find it hard to think of heights in metric and weights also. But I'm the same generation as you (probably) and I recognise that to anyone under 60 using metric heights and weights is natural. They're the future, not you and I.

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25 minutes ago, Peckris 2 said:

You might as well say that shopkeepers should be free to use £sd instead of decimal. Oh wait, the EU had nothing to do with our going decimal :lol:

Well in conclusion all I can say is that we've left the EU in accordance with a democratic mandate, and there's no going back.

I'm not convinced that everybody under 60 does think in terms of heights and weights in metric. I'd naturally describe my height in feet and inches, and weight in stones and pounds. That's what I and they were brought up with at home, regardless of what is taught in schools. 

I suppose now that the generation under 30 are bringing up kids of their own, they probably will just be referring to metric heights and weights, and the old imperial will no longer be recognised. So your wish will be granted - eventually.      

I'm afraid I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to new things. Especially if they're imposed without consultation.   

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It was a mistake in my view that we did not go entirely metric in the 1970s. Some people would have complained, but everyone would have adjusted to metric in a year or two, and there will be no need for arguments today. 

Everyone understood that 100p make up a pound very quickly. This was due (at least in part) to the fact that we did not allow the Lsd system to continue alongside the decimal system. 

I still give my height in feet and inches, and my weight in stones and pounds. I measure my waist and collar in inches because Imperial units are still the norm in such situations. I have simply memorised my weight in stones, and have to use myself as a guide when estimating other people's weight. But do I have an intrinsic feeling as to how much one stone is? Not really. I do however know what a kilogram or gram feels like. I can give an accurate estimation of the length of a meter but not of a foot. I am clueless how long is a yard. 

The metric system is a much more logical system, and the one to teach to the kids. Those of us aged 50+  have managed to learn to use much harder things like computers, mobile phones, internet, etc. People would have adjusted and coped. 

However, since we did not completely get rid of the imperial system totally and it has been used alongside metric for so many decades, we might as well let it die a natural death in due time.

 

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4 hours ago, Sword said:

It was a mistake in my view that we did not go entirely metric in the 1970s. Some people would have complained, but everyone would have adjusted to metric in a year or two, and there will be no need for arguments today. 

.....

The metric system is a much more logical system, and the one to teach to the kids. Those of us aged 50+  have managed to learn to use much harder things like computers, mobile phones, internet, etc. People would have adjusted and coped. 

However, since we did not completely get rid of the imperial system totally and it has been used alongside metric for so many decades, we might as well let it die a natural death in due time.

Agreed. I believe the main reason we didn't lose miles was due to the cost of changing every road sign and signpost? As for pints, they were just part of 'pub life' that was so prevalent in the 70s. Now, with pubs being much more continental in style with kids welcomed and the biggest profits from food, I think it wouldn't be so horrendous to change to litres etc. I'm not a Luddite, I just find people's heights and weights  in feet and stones easier to deal with but for everything else I'm happy enough with metric.

 

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22 hours ago, 1949threepence said:

I'm afraid I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to new things. Especially if they're imposed without consultation.   

There was no consultation about changing to decimal currency, though there was a competition for the designs which Chris Ironside won.

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16 hours ago, Peckris 2 said:

There was no consultation about changing to decimal currency, though there was a competition for the designs which Chris Ironside won.

Slightly different as that became a national fact in being, against which it was literally impossible to do anything about. That's not the same as coercing a shopkeeper to display goods in metric weights, on pain of prosecution for default, when there was a traditional, established and perfectly viable system already in place, which the customers of private traders were not complaining about, and arguably most preferred.     

Sorry but the mantra of "you've got to this because we say so, and woe betide you if you don't", when there is no reasonable case for having to do so, goes right against the grain with me, and also many others. As far as I know, no legitimate and convincing arguments were ever put forward, propounding the positives of abruptly switching to metric and ditching imperial, merely "it's now the law", being enforced by some goon from the council.     

Edited by 1949threepence
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8 hours ago, 1949threepence said:

Slightly different as that became a national fact in being, against which it was literally impossible to do anything about. That's not the same as coercing a shopkeeper to display goods in metric weights, on pain of prosecution for default, when there was a traditional, established and perfectly viable system already in place, which the customers of private traders were not complaining about, and arguably most preferred.     

Sorry but the mantra of "you've got to this because we say so, and woe betide you if you don't", when there is no reasonable case for having to do so, goes right against the grain with me, and also many others. As far as I know, no legitimate and convincing arguments were ever put forward, propounding the positives of abruptly switching to metric and ditching imperial, merely "it's now the law", being enforced by some goon from the council.     

The 'traditional established and viable' system only applied to the old imperial scales, and those haven't been manufactured since the 60s or early 70s. I'm not a Luddite and I have no problem with "we're now metric, get used to it". However, I *AM* against heavy-handed bureaucratic methods, and feel they're only appropriate where someone is - for their own personal reasons - waging a deliberate 'war' against something accepted by society at large. At least Luddites were fighting for their jobs.

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Australia changed to the metric system in the early 1970s and is now entrenched.However many things retained their imperial size and were soft converted. For example 3” x 2” timber became 75 mm x 50 mm. Drinks in pubs stayed the same as a midi or pot was half a pint or 10 oz.a schooner three quarters of a pint or 15 oz and a pint or 20 oz. I think these were US fluid oz. as a UK pint is 16 fluid oz. and if it is water weighs a pound.. Having said that I think the adoption of the metric system has led to a marked decline in arithmetic skills in this country as the imperial system required an understanding of units to survive. For example when school leavers were confronted with a time sheet they were incapable of performing the calculations necessary to complete their weekly time sheet. For the most part they could not handle a system based on 60 rather than 10. Not only that a good understanding of units is essential for anyone considering a science based career. Imperial units are still in the language ie missed by miles, give or take an inch etc. Babies birth weights and the surf have also retained their imperial units

Edited by ozjohn
Typo
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