Thursday, 23 February 2006

Signs

“Our imperial road signs . . . contradict the image – and the reality – of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future is approached with creativity and confidence.”

Lord Kinnock, quoted in “Call for metric road sign switch”, BBC News Online, 23rd February 2006

The reality of this modern, multicultural, dynamic place must be rather fragile if it can be contradicted by imperial road-signs, or is the fragility only in Lord Kinnock’s sense of proportion? They’re only road-signs, after all; but then in so disproportionate a term as he uses, we might glimpse that Lord Kinnock and his ilk will not tolerate even little differences in this modern, multicultural, and dynamic place; and so I suppose that even over such small matters, great battles of principle must be fought, lest we find ourselves travelling “with creativity and confidence” up the road to a fully rationalised and homogenised future.
.....In losing my sense of proportion for a moment, I wish Lord Kinnock and his ilk be strung up from imperial road-signs until they stink in accordance with the odour of their ideals.

2 comments:

David Duff said...

Ah, but he's Welsh, you know!

(Taps side of nose whilst winking slowly.)

Akaky said...

Oh, the metric thing again? I wonder why they make such a fuss over it. A couple of decades ago Canada and the United States decided, more or less at the same time, as I remember it, to go metric, our political masters making said decision without much input from the folks who would have to live and work with the new system. The Canadians, being Canadian, of course, went along with the government's dictates without so much as a murmur and starting going metric with a vengeance, whereas in the States the people looked at this pronouncement and looked at their lives, saw no reason to change something that had worked for so long simply to satisfy a bunch of foreigners who didnt like to use soap, and then proceeded to ignore the government's ukase as if it had never existed. I think there's still an office of metric conversion somewhere in Washington, proving once again that, next to God, only bureaucracy is forever.