Empire strikes back in pint glass war
The future of the pint measure in Britain was assured by a recent European Commission decision to allow the ongoing use of this and other imperial measurements.
Earlier proposals would have seen these measures phased out by 2009.
The Commission’s initial proposals were to disallow measures such as pints, pounds and miles, but it now proposes to “indefinitely extend the use of supplementary indications next to metric units.” According to European industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen, “This is a pointless battle and I could not see that this issue affects the European single market, or cross-border trade, but it does affect the British tradition, culture and lifestyle which I, for one, highly value.”
Verheugen added that “as far as the commission is concerned there is not now and never will be any requirement to drop imperial measurements”.
According to the British Beer and Pub Association, however, the imperial pint measure for beer was never threatened by EU intervention.
The decision, the conclusion of decades of discussion and debate on the subject, is being attributed to the commission’s increased emphasis on consumer opinion.
© Clinton Cawood, db 12/09/07