23 AUGUST 1975, Page 13

Metric madness

An open letter to the Metrication Board

Oh, tell me where is logic found? You scrap the lb and keep the £. Most connoisseurs have thought in metric; I'll grant you that, in things electric, So keep your ohms and amps, but then Stop worshipping the power of ten. Our fathers, when the need arose, Would use their fingers and their toes To count, but found that they had plenty To reach all numbers up to twenty.

A use for feet they also found, Placed heel to toe, to measure ground: And, furthermore, by God's good grace, Three feet made up a yard or pace: Must we give up our use of feet, or Adjust our step to pace a metre?

We'll never measure, right, again A cricket pitch without a chain; Or know how high our hunters stand, Unless we've got a 'hand' to hand.

You're even threatening, I hear, The British workman's pint of beer, (If he won't condescend to treat a Friend four-sevenths of a litre.) You're quite fed up with fahrenheit?

Well, tell me then, and get it right, When it is ninety, in the shade, Just what is that in centigrade? Should your intent, like Shylock's, be low, No doubt, of flesh, you'll have your kilo. Where will it stop? Will every minute Have soon a hundred seconds in it?

Will you adjust the earth and sun, Control the way the seasons run, So each year has a hundred days, In tune with European ways? Turn now, defend those ancient treasures, British weights and British measures; Scorn to be leaving in the lurch Our friend the rod and pole and perch; No matter who shall try to shake us, We'll stand our ground, not hectares, acres Backs to the wall, don't fail or flinch,

And 'never, never, give an inch. Ogilvy Lane