On of the most charming aspects of the European Union is its willingness to prosecute people for the most minor offenses, such as satisfying their consumers by continuing to sell by the pound. Great Britain is particularly famous for its “Metric Martyrs.” Reports the Daily Telegraph:
As part of his campaign to highlight the state’s erosion of our liberties, David Davis – now again MP – visited Ridley Road market in Hackney, east London, to talk to Janet Devers, who runs a fruit and veg stall.
Next January she faces prosecution before a jury on 13 criminal charges arising from the shambles created by the laws which, under EU directives, imposed compulsory use of metric weights and measures.
Mrs Devers is the sister of her fellow-stallholder Colin Hunt, one of the five original Metric Martyrs, found guilty, by the Court of Appeal in 2002, of failing to sell goods in metric.
Mr Hunt originally tried to comply with the new laws, but this aroused such protests from his African and Caribbean customers that, like most of his fellow stallholders, he reverted to selling by the pound.
Hackney council was not pleased by the adverse publicity from his case and Mr Hunt has been prosecuted several times since for minor offences that are routinely committed by other traders without interference. When Hackney’s trading standards officials last September seized two sets of imperial scales from Mrs Devers’s stall, they thought it was owned by Mr Hunt.
Only the day before in Brussels, GÃ¼nter Verheugen, a European Commission vice-president, had made a historic pronouncement that the British could continue to use non-metric measures indefinitely. He even attacked our press for having “erroneously printed stories” about “people having to buy their food from markets in kilograms rather than pounds”.
I’m sure the people of Europe sleep more comfortably at night.