The UK Metric Association wants all signs on Britain’s roads converted from miles by the time of London’s 2012 Olympics (Times). Neil Kinnock wrote the foreword for the UKMA’s report:
“Our imperial road signs contradict the image of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place… If the recommendations of this report are followed, Britain can join the modern metric world by the time that the all-metric Olympic Games open in London in 2012.”
A spokesman for the Department for Transport was unimpressed:
“We don’t think there are any demonstrable benefits for making the change. Frankly, we have got better things to do with taxpayers’ money.”
The DfT estimates that a changeover would cost £750m. The UKMA puts the cost at only 10% of that.
Geoffrey Howe joined the Kinnock-side of the argument at the end of this morning’s Today programme. At least I think he did. I think I may have nodded off as he started to make his case. Today found Peter Hitchens to oppose Lord Howe. The cost of conversion was too great, he said. The US was still largely imperial and was the world’s most dynamic economy. The British people hadn’t been asked their opinion. And, in a clinching argument likely to appeal to Christopher, his brother, he noted that no decent bottle of wine is sold in litres.