Thursday, January 20, 2005

Why metricate archives?

No doubt there are some archivists who believe that metrication is about standardisation. Others may believe it is something modern to be embraced along with microwave cookers and mobile telephones.

Putting aside issues as to why standardisation is so necessary in a diverse society, how we accommodate Imperial weights and measures in a heritage environment or why we don't standardise to Imperial, the real reason for metricating is rather more ominous.

Martin Bangemann

Martin Bangemann, the EC commissioner, said in 1996 to the British Weights and Measures Association:

Britain is in an anomalous position, as a full partner in the EU but sharing a common system of weights & measures with the USA, thereby enjoying an unfair competitive advantage in transatlantic trade.

The USA is of course the world's greatest economy and the UK's biggest trading partner.

Hence the EU policy of compulsory metricaton is an attack on what Europeans perceive as a pillar of the Anglosphere, English customary units of weights and measures.

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