Posted by: secretperson | July 23, 2008

Battle of Acre

It seems a lazy junior minister has failed to extend the UK’s exception from an EU ban on the acre. The EU, very kindly, let us keep pints and miles, but only for a fixed time otherwise the legislation to standardise everything looks weak. However they understand the situation and keep extending this period as we request. Uncharacteristically reasonable you might think.

However one of the problems with the EU is that it can be used by our government to avoid parliamentary scrutiny, and to blame for their decisions. I don’t know quite the effects of this ban, it may be possible to use acres and hectares in tandem still. But why is it government’s business anyway.

The Tory Shadow Europe Minister said:

“Whether we use hectares or acres should be a matter for Britain to decide, not the EU.

I disagree, it should be a matter for individuals. If someone wants to sell me an acre of land and I am happy to buy it, that should be fine. If they want to sell me an acre but describe it in hectares, or sizes of London buses, or football pitches that should be fine. The only time criminal law need be invoked is if someone sells something other than an acre and describes it as an acre (or hectare or whatever). This is not an EU problem but an intefering state problem.

There is a slight EU connection, in that the desire to standardise everything often comes from EUphiles, and they tend to be the same people who share the desire for the state to tell us how to live every aspect of our lives (while at the same time “celebrating diversity” of course). One wonders if the unit under threat was a traditional West Indian or Cornish measure, for example, the minister in question would have been protecting diversity?

Anyway, people understand imperial measurements and will continue to use them. School children have apparently been taught in metric for years (I was), in science I use SI units (hardcore metric, speed in metres per second etc). But I am still 6 foot tall, weigh about 14 stone and live 100 yards from the end of my road, drive in miles per hour and if I was insecure enough to measure a certain part of my body I would measure it in inches.

And of course I drink pints. No bureaucrat, European or otherwise is going to steal the extra 2.40 fl oz (68.3 ml). They can have my pint glass when they take it from my cold dead hands.



  1. unfortunately: In fact the acre is not to be abolished. All that has happened is that, since the UK’s Land Registries have for many years used hectares rather than acres for land registration, it has been agreed that the exemption for acres for this purpose (and this purpose only) is redundant. So the decision is a tidying up measure that makes no practical difference to this or any other uses of the acre.

  2. So is it legal to buy and sell land in acres of people choose?

    And if not, why not?

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