We take a metric view of the changes around the Cabinet table.
OUT. David Cameron.
He said this on Newsnight on BBC2 in 2014 when asked which units he preferred:
“I think I’d still go for pounds and ounces, yes I do.”
Perhaps he did not pay attention during maths and science lessons at school, and then failed to appreciate the benefits of a single, simple and universal measurement system, if not for himself, then for his children.
OUT. George Osborne.
He wisely avoided becoming involved in measurement issues during his six-year stint as Chancellor. We must hope his successor does the same.
OUT. Teresa Villiers.
She appeared on Question Time in 2006, when in opposition, and argued strongly that road traffic signs should remain Imperial in an otherwise metric economy:
IN. Philip Hammond. Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In 2010, when Transport Secretary, Hammond ignored the results of a consultation on phasing out imperial-only height and width restriction road traffic signs, a proposal that had wide support and which would have saved around £8 million. He said:
“It is completely unacceptable that they (Labour) were going to spend over £2 million of taxpayers money to do so when we have one of the biggest budget deficits in Europe.”
Maybe he has become more aware of the realities of measurement around the world during his time as Foreign Secretary. He now faces a budget deficit that is still one of the biggest in Europe.
Metric Views can confirm there is no truth in the rumour that he intends to revert to £sd.
IN. David Davis. Brexit Secretary.
Mr Davis enjoyed a photo-opportunity with a reluctant-to-change market trader in Hackney in 2007. We hope his responsibilities in his new Department, and its high profile, will ensure he stays out of mischief for the next few years.
IN. Liam Fox. International Trade Secretary.
In 2000, Dr Fox sent a letter of support to the British Weights & Measures Association. In his new role he will no doubt discover, if he did not know already, that the old British weights and measures are little used in international trade.
IN. James Brokenshire. Northern Ireland Secretary.
In a letter in 2007, he told a constituent that Imperial speed limits are satisfactory “as they have been around for a long time”. When he has crossed the border with the Republic a few times and encountered two measurement systems for speed limits, he may realise that longevity is not always a guarantee of usefulness.
IN. David Lidlington. Leader of the Commons.
He proposed, in 2000, a Bill to permit the continued use of avoirdupois pounds and ounces. This issue of order versus freedom of choice will be one that he faces in his new job.
Abolished. The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
In his letter to President Elect Obama in November 2008, Pat Naughtin, www.metricationmatters.com , pointed out that there is one SI metric unit for energy, but around two hundred terms currently used as energy measures, including therm, calorie, foot-pound and kilowatt hour. Faced with this proliferation, one wonders if it was DECC itself that lost the will to live.