In the House of
Lords on Monday 15 July 2002 Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Steyn and Lord
Scott of Foscote refused the Metric Martyrs leave to appeal against their
criminal convictions for selling bananas, mackerel, granny smith apples and
sweet potatoes by the pound.
This was a day of
rejoicing for the 7% of the population who strongly prefer metric units for
For the vast
majority of the population it was a black day, for we are now firmly set on the
road to the complete annihilation of our traditional imperial measures for use
in trade, public administration and health and safety, according to European
Union directives. Any reference to pounds and ounces, feet and inches, and
pints and gallons will be completely outlawed in a few years time.
It was also a black
day for the British constitution. The Lord's ruling confirmed that all law is
subservient to the 1972 European Communities Act. Prior to this ruling a key
principle of British law was that any later Act overruled an earlier Act. This
allowed parliament to correct unwanted and erroneous earlier legislation. No
longer, all Acts later than the 1972 EC Act are now subservient to it. This
includes the 1985 Weights & Measures Act that allows the continued use of
imperial measures. It is null and void.
are devastating. No longer can a government pass an Act in contravention of the
1972 EC Act.
For example, if a
government decided to repatriate our vast fishing grounds that have been
devastated by the European Union, it can be overturned. If a government wanted
to ban the planting of genetically modified crops already approved by the EU it
can prevented by invoking the 1972 EC Act. Even if the government wanted to ban
the import of small quantities of meat and dairy products for personal use by
long-haul travellers, the 1972 EC Act can be used to stop it.
In other words, the
1972 EC Act exists to cancel new legislation that contravenes it.
A black day indeed!