EU to abolish the Crown
Since 1699 the stamp of the Crown at the top of a glass has constituted a guarantee that it delivers a full pint. It is a symbol of British sovereignty and legal conformity. But now this symbol is to be replaced by the 12 stars of the EU. This may sound minor, trivial, and utterly insignificant, but it is a further indication of the extent to which a 50-year-old institution is supplanting the UK’s centuries-old institutions, and its infallible directives increasingly know no bounds. It is no longer for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Weights and Measures to ensure the public are not deceived, but an EU ruling gives the Conformité Européenne (CE) mark primacy to ensure conformity and accuracy across the Union. Yes, the new mark is French.
Make no mistake, the loss of the Crown will be followed by the loss of the pint itself, with British drinkers being required to switch to metric measures. We have already seen greengrocers hauled before the courts for refusing to abide by EU rules that fresh produce must now be sold in kilos and grams, rather than pounds and ounces. Metric is supplanting Imperial inexorably. Of course, the pint will not be abolished next week; that is not how the EU works: it erodes and chips and fragments incrementally, and then constructs by stealth. The important dimension to this is that the EU does not recognise imperial weights and measures. The usurping of the Crown with the EU’s 12-star logo is therefore transitional. Eventually, we will be drinking our ‘pints’ from litre glasses, still with the EU logo, and no-one will have noticed.
But the UK has agreed a temporary derogation. A DTI spokesman said the ruling applies ‘only to glasses that went on sale since October. No-one has to get rid of the Crown-stamped glasses they are already using. Glasses already in use are unaffected and can stay in use as long as they last.’ So that’s alright then. It’s simply a case of persuading Britain's drunken louts not to smash too many of them on Friday and Saturday nights, in the hope that they might be preserved for their children, and their children's children...