Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Mine's a Pint - Brussels Backs Down on Imperial Measures

There hasn't been very much worth commenting on in the media lately, with all the interesting stories being drowned out by the interminable McCann saga.

Take this piece from the Times, for example: Pints, pounds and ounces are here to stay as Brussels relents. If they weren't driving themselves to distraction with breathless speculation as to whether the McCanns did, or did not, do away with their kid, and if they did, how, that spectacular Brussels climbdown would have been a front page headline on several of the major dailies.

As it is, a story that's been ongoing for years, and has seen one guy, Metric Martyr Steve Thoburn, jailed for daring to sell fruit and veg in Imperial measures, is reduced to a minor mention. Poor Mr Thoburn died a convicted criminal because of this crazy scheme, and I think its humiliating withdrawal deserves a little more prominence.

Besides, there's more to this than just metric vs Imperial measures. Pressure is building for a referendum on the appalling new EU Treaty that appears to be the discredited EU Constitution in all but name, and there's a pretty good chance that, if put to the vote, the public would, quite rightly, reject the damn thing.

It doesn't take a genius to realise that, in any forthcoming referendum, the emotive issue of Brussels meddling with all aspects of our everyday lives - such as pints, pounds and ounces - will come up and be used in support of a "No" vote. It also doesn't take a genius to realise that it's probably better for Brussels to accept a little humiliation by withdrawing the metric requirement in the interest of disarming critics of the Treaty.

Unfortunately, it's not working. Think about it - if we didn't like Brussels meddling in our measurements, to the extent that they feared it would cause the Treaty to be rejected, how much less will we like the new meddling proposed by the Treaty? Clearly, Brussels thinks the Treaty is more important than Imperial measures, and therefore we can conclude that it will give them more benefits (read power and influence).

So, although the recent retreat over measurements is an important victory for the British way of life, it is by no means an absolute victory. It seems to me that the EU Treaty is going to give far too much power to Brussels, and I can't think of any good reason for us to go along with that. In fact, I can't see any overwhelmingly good reason to stay in the European Union at all. We don't need them, they cost us a lot of money and they want to tell us how we should behave in our own land.

Perhaps it's time to withdraw - while we still can.

Billy Seggars.

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