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Editors Comment: An open letter to the EC

Dear European commissioners / parliamentarians,

I was gratified to see that you took on board my heartfelt comments in the September issue of this magazine regarding the imperial and metric system and the fact that I felt that both could now quite happily co-exist.
Editors Comment: An open letter to the EC
Many criticise you for being slow to react but within days of ACR News hitting your desks you announced that there was no longer a necessity for the UK to completely ditch imperial measurements in favour of metric.

With this latest ruling, it is heartening to know that our children and our childrens’ children will now know the absurdity that is the British thermal unit, and be as incapable as everyone else of being able to use it with any accuracy as a unit in long mental multiplication.

I hadn’t previously realised the influence that this magazine exerted on European affairs but, while I have your attention, could I impose upon you to take a look at these other areas of Euro/British contention:

GMT/BST/Central European Time

Here we are at a clear disadvantage with our cousins from across the water. Is it any wonder that the British no longer come up with many groundbreaking new technologies when the rest of Europe is always at least an hour ahead.

There’s Mr Whiz-Kid Inventor lying in bed with Mrs Whiz-Kid Inventor when he suddenly gets a brilliant idea for, say, a new wingless sprocket. Straight down the patent office next morning he finds himself in a queue behind an egg-head from Marseille, a boffin from Zurich and a line of place-saving towels belonging to the contingent from Baden Wurtenburg – all clutching a similar wingless sprocket and all having been there at least an hour previously.

And our contractors fare no better. When competing in Europe, UK bids are always late and, if not exactly late, at least an hour behind everyone else.

So, why don’t we change our time to match yours? It’s because of the Scottish farmers, apparently. It’s never been satisfactorily explained to me as to why, but Scottish farmers are always blamed for our clocks going forward, back, and, I think, just generally revolving. I think it’s because they can’t get up in the morning or are afraid of the dark or something, but they’re obviously a powerful lobby group as these times have been in place for years. Take my advice, just don’t mess with them.

Driving on the right/left

I know standardisation on this point would solve a lot of problems and, being in the minoroty, it would make obvious sense for us to change over to drive on the right, but I feel such a move would be frought with problems.

Based on our track record with the changeover to metric measurements, where the imperial and metric have now existed side-by-side for years, a similar laissez-faire approach to a change to driving on the right is likely to bring carnage to the highways and byways of this sceptred isle.

So, it’s you lot who will have to change, if also for the fact that the Scottish farmers are getting more and more involved in exports these days and are adamant that their tractors are not designed for left-hand drive.

F-gas regulations

Rumour has it that the European-wide standard qualification for refrigerant handlers is to be so stringent and all-encompassing that none of our engineers will currently qualify – not even those from Star Refrigeration who, I should also point out, being based in Glasgow, have strong connections with the Scottish farming lobby.

In the short-term, servicing vital equipment will be a problem as a recent UK survey has indicated that few, if any, of our nuclear physicists are prepared to fill in doing a spot of brazing at the local Sainsbury’s while fridge engineers go back to school.

So, would it be possible to make the refrigerant handling qualifications more appropriate to the job in hand. After all, it is not necessary to understand, and be able to explain, with suitable diagrams where necessary, the life cycle of the Argentinian fire ant, merely to re-gas a simple split-system.

There probably won’t be much opposition to this move either. I have had a discussions with the Scottish Farmers Association and they have reassured me that on this particular matter their members couldn’t give a monkey’s.

Hoping you can pay prompt attention to these matters, I remain your obedient subject,

Neil Everitt- Editor

PS: Would you remind the honourable member for Saxe-Coburg that his annual subscription to ACR News is about to expire. Could he forward the necessary Euros to Miss Cringeworthy in our circulation department at his earliest convenience.

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