Sunday, June 01, 2008

Metricity and Dumb-ocracy

Why are all the road signs in Britain still in miles? Nobody knows what a mile is. Well, nobody under 10 anyway. And they're the only ones driving these days.

It's ridiculous that we haven't completely changed over to the metric system yet. Why didn't they just change over completely in one go back in 1870, or whenever they invented metricity?

Serious historical note - Trafalgar Square was designed and laid out in metric measurements, even though it was finished in 1845. (Well, I say 'finished', but it took them until 2003 to pedestrianise parts of it - don't get me started on that one.) Apparently Sir Charles Barry, who designed and built the place, was a big fan of the metric system and supported a campaign for Britain to go metric.

Didn't that campaign do well. It's 2008 and we still measure our height in feet and distances by road in miles (ironically distances to London are all taken from a point in Trafalgar Square).

Oh, while I'm ranting...

I invented a word today. Dumbocracy. It's the political system whereby every idiot is asked his opinion, which must be based on insufficent or misleading information.

And I think if you asked most people in Britain whether we should finally accept this new-fangled 'kilometre', the majority would probably say no. That's dumbocracy in action.

(By the way - here is a very funny blog entry about Britain by the excellent Mocean Worker, who I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours with yesterday. But if you're under 18 don't read the blog entry after that one - he uses all those naughty words I'm not allowed to know because I'm a children's author. And he uses them in the right order too.)


Anonymous said...

How old are you? You sound like you are turning into a grumpy old man venting your spleen on the imperial system, dumb people and Colin Farrell (and Jacqueline Wilson a few weeks ago on your radio show)!!!!
Anyway I tried to access that link to the blog about Britain and here's what came up:
The site you have chosen has been categorized as: Hate Speech, Profanity
I'm even more curious now....

Joe said...

It's OK - I've always been this grumpy. I just let it out more now that I'm approaching the grand old age of 25.
And I've updated the Mocean Worker link so it should hopefully come up now...

Ninja Shoetrees Pop said...

Metrication - now there's a question. If you really want to know the reason why read my Dad's autobiogaphy "A Grandad's Life" by Jimmy Humble. He was Director of the Metrication Board at the time it was abolished!