Imperial versus metric debate reveals age divide – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Keith Jowett, Woodland Rise, Silkstone Common, Barnsley.

This was Leeds during the July heatwave - but what will a return of imperial measurements mean for weather forecasts?

YOUR leading article discussing plans to review the ban on marking and selling products in imperial units (The Yorkshire Post, September 18) prompted me to review the whole field of imperial versus metric.

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As a teacher of geography for nearly 40 years, I experienced examination syllabuses which involved both sets of units and I feel it is interesting to compare the relative merits of both.

This was Yorkshire during winter snow - but what will a return of imperial measurements mean for weather forecasts?

First, temperature. The use of the Fahrenheit scale, with the boiling point of water at 212 degrees and freezing point at 32 degrees, seems to me far less easy to comprehend compared with the Celsius equivalents of 100 degrees and 0 degrees.

It always amuses me when many newspapers record headlines of low winter temperatures using Celsius, since minus figures are needed and sound more dramatic.

However, in summer, the headlines scream out as temperatures come near to 100 degrees, using the Fahrenheit scale of course. I think Celsius is a clear winner here and wonder when TV weather forecasters will cease to give temperatures in both units.

When it comes to distance measurement, you mention that almost invariably road signs use miles rather than kilometres, although I note that most low bridge warnings use both, presumably with safety considerations for foreign drivers.

I have yet to hear a person exclaim: “You can see for kilometres” on seeing a spectacular view. But athletes will, I suppose, prefer to boast of having completed 10k, rather than six miles.

In the field of science, SI units reign supreme and imperial measurements are non-existent. The comparisons could go on. I wonder if preferences are a generational matter?

From: Peter Brown, Shadwell, Leeds.

IT’S been frustrating to be a Labour Party supporter lately. It’s been annoying to see its leadership ignore most of the open goals that Tory Brexit has presented, for example.

But, for the first time in a while, I feel able to write the kind of letter I want to write. The Labour spokespeople you quote indicating the Conservative Party is “out of touch” on imperial measurements were spot on.

What kind of issues are Tory spin doctors trying to avoid with their PR distraction flannel? Labour stayed on message and told of Universal Credit cuts and rising consumer prices.

They even mentioned the damaging consequences to British firms of Brexit (thank you, Shadow International Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry).

Gullible Tory-supporting elements in our national press will likely continue to lap up the imperial measurements stuff.

But that doesn’t mean Labour has to be distracted by this – or whatever propaganda is thrown out next by Boris Johnson’s failing government. It still looks weak following the Cabinet reshuffle.

For example, Michael Gove has been charged with turning “levelling up” into more than just an empty slogan. That’s the same Michael Gove who was responsible for Brexit preparations.

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