Brexiteer Nigel Farage is among those celebrating ‘the return of Britishness’ after a government statement outlined plans to let businesses re-adopt imperial measurements and print the Crown Stamp on pint glasses.
In a press release on Thursday, the UK government announced plans to “capitalise on new Brexit freedoms.” The text includes blueprints for repealing a number of EU laws which aren’t deemed to be of benefit to British business, while addressing other legacy regulation issues.
“From rules on data storage to the ability of businesses to develop new green technologies, overbearing regulations were often conceived and agreed in Brussels with little consideration of the UK national interest,” Minister of State at the Cabinet Office Lord David Frost said in the statement, claiming that the announcement was just the beginning of such changes.
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Among plans to “supercharge” the British economy through endeavours like reforming laws around artificial intelligence, the statement outlines proposed changes that would permit “the voluntary printing of the Crown Stamp on pint glasses” and a review on the EU’s ban on imperial measurements – Britain’s historic unit of choice before it was outlawed by Brussels in the 1990s. However, the UK never fully adopted metric measurements, with the EU making concessions in 2008 allowing Britain to retain the pint and mile, while making other aspects conditional.
Among those celebrating the announcement was former UKIP party leader Farage, who proudly announced on Twitter on Friday morning that “Brexit is making us more British.”
“Great news. The Metric Martyrs case took 20 years but now we can buy goods in pounds and ounces again, not just Napoleonic measurements. We even get the crown back on pint glasses,” he wrote, delighting many of his followers.
However, it’s fair to say others weren’t convinced. “Utter dipstick,” was one of the kinder messages Farage received in response to his tweet. “Brexit is making you more stupid, if that is even possible,” another person wrote.
More broadly, Twitter users have mocked the British government for reviewing a return to the use of imperial measures. “Imperial measurements, Love thy neighbour and Carry on films on 24×7” one person wrote, asking whether there’d be a total return to the 1970s, when there were three-day weeks and frequent power cuts because of industrial action.
Another asked whether this was the only reason PM Boris Johnson backed Brexit, sharing a photo of the German and French leaders laughing.
“ … so then Boris says that reason for this Brexit disaster is: to go back to imperial measurements – no, really.” pic.twitter.com/qi0wqpLDg3
— Rob B (@RobBfromDerby) September 17, 2021
While plans to permit a return to imperial measurements appear to be a minor part of the government’s post-Brexit strategy, it has certainly been well-reported by the British media.
In 2001, a greengrocer from Sunderland made headlines when he was convicted in the UK of breaking EU rules which banned the sale of fruit and vegetables in pounds and ounces. He, among other campaigners, were dubbed “metric martyrs” in the UK press – a phrase which has since been a rallying call for those who despised EU interventionism in British business.
After years of talks, concessions were made by the EU on the matter in 2008, as the UK and Ireland had still not fully transferred to metric, allowing conditional use of imperial measurements. The British government hailed the EU directive as the saviour of the pint and the mile.
EU laws also saw the end of the Crown Stamp on glasses of beer. The stamp was introduced in 1699 to reassure suspicious drinkers that they were not being sold short by unscrupulous landlords. In 2007 it was replaced with the EU’s CE mark, which stands for ‘European Conformity’.
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