The Edge of Reason 176

Until the time, not too distant, when we achieve Scottish independence and a moment of political flux where we can attempt to build a fairer nation than the one in which we now live, I am entitled sometimes to get depressed by the appalling injustice and inequity against which I see people struggle daily. Sometimes that depression binds my typing hands and prevents me from writing for days on end. I have been feeling this lately rather acutely.

A couple of days ago I was buying some coal with my son Jamie and reminisced about the days when I worked on a coalyard, shovelling coal into hundredweight sacks. I then explained to him a hundredweight was (strangely) 8 stone or 112 pounds, and tried to express a hundredweight in kilos. By chance it was a fraction over 50 kilos. As we were straining to carry 25kg sacks, I was puzzled how at age 16 I had dealt with 50kg ones. Harder times.

The memory of this conversation led me this morning to decide to write a satirical piece about crazy Little England Brexiteers now being able to bring back Imperial weights and measures and get rid of these awful foreign kilos and metres. Then a little research this morning told me that, about the time I had the conversation with my son, a conservative Minister was mooting exactly that.

You just can’t out-crazy the Tories at the minute.

I was visiting England over half-term and was truly shocked to hear the experience of an Italian friend of mine who lives in London. She had been buying vegetables at a stall and had asked for zucchini. The vendor had replied “They are called courgettes. Use the proper English word or I am not serving you.” She decided to take this as a joke, smiled and said “sorry, courgettes” but the man then said that he couldn’t wait for Brexit when she would be kicked out of the country.

After a couple of days, she decided to report the incident to the police as the upset had not died down. The police were ostensibly very friendly and offered to take action, but they impressed on her the matter was very serious and would lead to the man being arrested and put in the cells. I was, from her account, dubious whether the police had not been emphasising the nuclear options to persuade her to withdraw the complaint while ostensibly doing the opposite, ie taking her complaint at its most serious. They did not outline other possibilities, ie a good talking to and a caution on his record. Not wanting to risk sending the man to prison, she withdrew the complaint.

This is only one piece of anecdotal evidence. I am not yet convinced by evidence that Brexit has created more racists. But that it has socially empowered racists and brought racism into mainstream political discourse is undoubtedly true. That is likely to create still more racists eventually.

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176 thoughts on “The Edge of Reason

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  • Republicofscotland

    One does wonder where that, self righteous little Englander Brexiteer attitude arose from, though I think the majority of English people are good and decent folk. This is the 21st Century, and people move from country to country seeking work, and in the process making new lives and friends.

    However in times of hardship, often the indigenous folk will look for a section of society to blame for their ails. The Tories have created the time of hardship, and have virtually pointed the finger at the section of society they want us to blame.

    Though a dislike of foreigners, is inherent in some people, and can lie just under the surface, waiting for the right social and political climate to arise. Has that climate began to rise in England? I hope not.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Oh, absolutely. I didn’t have time to dig deeper for less tarnished sources! Still and all, RoS complaining about the ‘self-righteous’ (comic stereotype) Brexiteer was pretty rich as well.

          • Republicofscotland

            You won’t have long to wait until tomorrow’s Express, I’m positive, they’ll have at least one SNPBAD story kicking about.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Seriously, RoS, see yirsel as ithers see ye. There’s nothing in the evil, awful, prejudice-enhancing Express which isn’t mirrored in your posts on this subject. Except a certain sympathy for Putin.

          • Republicofscotland

            Oh please.

            I and many others know exactly how Westminster sees Scotland.

            I’ve been following the Express, Daily Mail Scotsman Daily Record etc, closely on the independence subject since 2012, I know a anti-Scottish independence rag when I see it.

            As for Putin, he’s been in power since around 1999, either as PM or President, he’s corrupt and a bit of dictator too boot. But even I have some sympathy for his predicament, as the West attempts to break Russia.

            Still we’d better not mention your favourite subject Tony Blair and his mention that Brexit makes Scottish independence more likely, oops I think I just did.

    • Sharp Ears

      Speaking of ‘times of hardship’ and when we hear that there are already 19m people in the country who are ‘just about managing’, how will these proposed cuts and changes to OUR NHS affect those who are also sick or suffering.

      ‘Hospital services in nearly two-thirds of England could be cut or scaled back, BBC analysis of local plans shows.

      The proposals are part of a programme to transform the health service and save money across 44 different areas.

      The BBC found 28 proposals affect hospital care, from full closures to centralising services, such as A&E and stroke care, on fewer sites.

      NHS England argue patients will receive better care in the community to compensate for the hospital cuts.

      The proposals also include the creation of “super” community hubs of GPs, care workers and district nurses, seven-day access to GPs and getting hospital specialists to run clinics in the community.’


      Get your health insurance or credit cards at the ready.

      The plan is to .. Destabilize….Demoralize…. Dismantle…. the NHS.

    • Habbabkuk

      Or, alternatively:

      One does wonder where that self righteous little-Scotland independentist attitude arose from, though I think the majority of Scottish people are good and decent folk. This is the 21st Century, and people move from country to country seeking work, and in the process making new lives and friends.

      However in times of suspicion and resentment, often the indigenous folk will look for a section of society to blame for their ails. The Scottish National Party created the time of suspicion and resentment, and have virtually pointed the finger at the section of society they want us to blame (ie, the English).

      Though a dislike of foreigners, is inherent in some people, and can lie just under the surface, waiting for the right social and political climate to arise. Has that climate began to rise in Scotland? I hope not.

      • Anon1

        There’s a nasty atmosphere up there now, with a lot of English folk no longer feeling welcome.

        • Republicofscotland

          Sorry for the late reply, but I couldn’t stop laughing at that comment. ?

          Thanks for cheering me up.

        • Davy

          And there’s a nasty atmosphere down here now, with a lot of Scots folk no longer feeling welcome.

          I could relay to you many, many stories of workplace bigotry I’ve experienced as a Scot working in England, what it’s cost me in terms of opportunities, progression, money, losses, retraining multiple times for different careers (5 now). The bigotry in England might be less thinly disguised now, that’s all.

          • Old Mark

            The bigotry in England might be less thinly disguised now, that’s all.

            Whereas in Scotland, according to BJ’s anecdote on the previous page, anglophobic bigotry has never really felt the need to hide away.

        • Habbabkuk

          If it’s illogical, “Sally”, you’ll have to take it up with Republicpfscotland 🙂

          His “comment” at the very beginning of this thread refers.


          BTW – could you remind me why you use a woman’s name when you post on here? Isn’t it a tad silly?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Contemplate the proposition that it is actually excessive political correctness which has caused a powerful reaction against it. You don’t like being told what to think and how to express yourself. That cuts both ways. I maintain that the Brexit vote, and many of its supporters, represent the “Oh, Bugger This” Tendency. And maybe being traditionally insular has a little to do with being an island?

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Careful. Your hostility’s showing, as well as a certain dour literal-mindedness which can only derive from a fiercely insular Calvinist heritage…but let me clarify:

        “This country”, comprising the merged kingdoms of England and Scotland, with the principality of Wales, in which I live, is an island. I think my meaning was clear. But if you’re feeling picky, then Ireland is another island, so I will accept one-and-a-quarter islands, to cover the balance of the UK.

        • wildcat

          There was a union of the crowns in 1603. There has never been a merger of the kingdoms of England and Scotland.

        • fred

          There are other islands, the Western Islands, the Channel Islands, Man, Wight, the Inset Islands.

          The UK is an archipelago.

  • T.H

    I dont follow, now, on the one hand you talk about fairness in society and then you blast Brexit as something that was brought and supported only by racists.

    Alot of people that voted for Brexit, was of course people that you just described, namely poor, impoverished people that have not gained something from the globalist EU project. To insinuate that these, quite regular people are all racists is nowhere factual nor productive.

  • Alan

    The police no longer offer the option to a complainant of them pressing charges or ‘having a word’ (which has always been my wife’s and my choice when reporting dangerous or careless driving around our bikes). By offering only the nuclear option (which most reasonable people, like your Italian friend, don’t want to pursue) the cops save themselves a lot of (wo)manhours. ‘Having a word’ may be the most effective way of improving people’s behaviour and making life safer for everyone but it ticks no boxes on the performance indicators… Just another quiet cut in public services.

  • glenn

    As with the Trump and “alt-right” (i.e. fascist) followers, Brexit has certainly been taken as giving licence to those of a racist persuasion to be much more open about it. I’m not sure racists are actually being created as a result of the politics in play at any given time.

    When living in the US I had to get used to hearing courgettes being called ‘zucchini’, and obergines ‘eggplant’, and even more annoyingly, herb pronounced ‘urb’. Corrected them on their poor English and bad spelling every time, of course, but it was entirely without rancour.

    It’s not just Brexit though – I have experienced more in-your-face racism and unpleasantry while living in England, than I did anywhere else in the world. This is besides the usual slurs, insults disguised as attempts at humour which is par for the course.

    As was pointed out to me on the other side of the Atlantic, “haters gotta hate” – I doubt if there are more haters now than there used to be. Although there are a lot more people struggling now, with massive inequality meaning the good things in life are constantly waved in their faces even as they’re bumping along the bottom. The gutter-press will ensure the target of their disgruntlement is misdirected to meet the prejudices of the owners of these papers.

  • Bob Smith

    I like the expression ‘socially empowered racists’. It is an accurate and succinct description of the point we have reached. In the 1970s I went to West Ham Police station to report the racist nature of a NF leaflet only to be told by the duty Inspector that he saw nothing wrong with the leaflet and he agreed with what it said. I didn’t let the matter rest and after letters to my local MP received a letter of apology from the Home Secretary. I thought we had moved on a long way from those days but I suspect (I can’t know), that the Police are still reluctant to handle such matters and many will agree with the racist sentiments that still effect our lives through social media and mainstream media. Only last week I had to make repeated complaints to the editor of a local newspaper before he removed some appallingly racist comments from the papers website. The atmosphere in my part of the Fens is toxic and is inflamed by press and politicians seemingly encouraging such behaviour. I despair, I really do.

    • michael norton

      Have u not got anything better to do with your time other than making complaints.
      Brexit is going to happen, get used to it.
      It, as Jerermy Corbyn has said “Brexit is democracy in action, true democracy”

  • Dave Oh What

    Sad though it be, this story raises another piece of craziness by a Brexiteer. Weight (and therefore sizes) of commodities such as coal, sand, cement etc have been reduced in recent years to minimise injuries inder the Health & Safety at Work Act and enabling legislation. It has also been heard recently that once Brexit is in place it may be better to (parapharasing in recollection) get rid of various health & safety ‘red tape’. Dear me.

    • MJ

      some of these Remainers are like the ungracious recipients of a precious gift whose true value so far eludes them. It is called your sovereignty and we have returned it to you on a plate. Craig should know better than to be so scornful.

  • fred

    Imperial measures are the most advanced and I can’t help thinking a child who understands why there are 16 ounces in a pound will better understand why there are 16 bits in a byte.

    I don’t see the point in dumbing down just for the sake of conformity.

  • Habbabkuk

    “..but the man then said that he couldn’t wait for Brexit when she would be kicked out of the country.”

    Unpleasant and offensive – but a criminal offence..? If so, then political correctness gone mad.

    And for God’s sake, Craig and most others: please learn the difference between racism and xenophobia. The one had to do with race, the other with nationality.

    • Republicofscotland

      That’s rich coming from you, and the position you back with regards to you know what.

      Now all we need is for Anon1 to give us his description of xenophobia and racism, and the set will be complete.

  • Ross MacLennan

    What are the chances of tracking this fellow down and letting him know that ‘courgette’ is not an English word?

    • Alcyone

      Then neither is shampoo, Ross.

      But the one single foreign-origin word that fascinates me is shampoo. Here is the etymology:

      shampoo (v.) Look up shampoo at
      1762, “to massage,” from Anglo-Indian shampoo, from Hindi champo, imperative of champna “to press, knead the muscles,” perhaps from Sanskrit capayati “pounds, kneads.” Meaning “wash the hair” first recorded 1860; extended 1954 to carpets, upholstery, etc. Related: Shampooed; shampooing.
      shampoo (n.) Look up shampoo at
      “soap for shampooing,” 1866, from shampoo (v.).

      So what did they use a mere 160 years ago?

      The other aspect that is truly fascinating is that, AFAIK, the word shampoo is used in practically every single language around the world. I haven’t checked that for Russia though–perhaps John Goss can tell us?

  • John Goss

    The vegetable vendor should go to prison for not knowing that courgette is not originally an English word, and courgettes, zucchinis and other squashes are among the least English of vegetables. The Russians call a courgette молодой кабачок (young marrow) and that ought to be what we call them. Here is a list of foreign words equivalent of courgette. Ironically there is no English equivalent among these 96 foreign words for courgette though there a few Welsh words (courtesy of WordHippo). Like English Scots Gaelic is similarly courgette.

    What would you expect from racists? Not knowledge, surely. 🙂

    • Rob Royston

      I know that the website you have posted says that the Scots Gaelic word is courgette but it can’t be as the rules of spelling forbid both broad and slender vowels either side of consonants.

        • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

          A, O, U are broad. I, E are slender. Consonants must be preceded and followed by a vowel of the same quality. Otherwise the sound of the consonant alters. Something analogous happens to the “c” in Italian, if one compares its pronunciation before the broad vowel “a” (capo, casa etc), with its value before the slender vowels “i” and “e” (ciao, ciabatta, cento etc).
          Following addressed generally:

          For “zucchini”, the Online Etymological Dictionary gives:
          – Italian, plural of zucchino, diminutive of zucca “gourd, squash,” perhaps from Late Latin cucutia, which is of unknown origin. –

          For “courgette”, Merriam-Webster gives:
          – French, diminutive of courge (gourd), from Medieval French, from Latin cucurbita. –

          Scots Gaelic-speakers would almost certainly just say “courgette”. However, an online dictionary ( offers “mearag-bheag” (young marrow), which somewhat echoes John Goss’s Russian.

          The standard Irish just gaelicises the French, giving “cúirséad”.

          All of which pedantry brings me to the positive news that three Italian novels have been newly translated into Irish (by Matt Hussey):

          ‘An Tábla Peiriadach’ (Il sistema periodico) by Primo Levi;
          ‘An Grá Pósta’ (L’amore coniugale) by Alberto Moravia,
          and ‘Luascadán Foucault’ (Il pendolo di Foucault) by Umberto Eco.

          The book-launch was yesterday (20th Feb) at the ‘Istituto Italiano di Cultura’ in Dublin.
          I look forward to purchasing these novels at my first opportunity.

          • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

            Mearag bheag no Mearachd mhòr?
            Cuirsèat cruinn no Cur a-mach?

            Sgreamh air Urracha Mòra
            ro thòchd creamh Roinn Eòrpa.

            Buinneagan Bruisealach verboten
            air bùird dhìosgail ar Bùirdeasachd.

            Sgìnean geura gan sàthadh.
            Bainne goirt air dhòirteadh.

            Càise ghorm na Gearmailt
            a’ cur dearg cais orra ‘s gan tachdadh.

            Dubh-ghràin air na Frangaich.
            Làn spàinean dheth air Spàinntich.

            Dol-a-mach Bhreatainn air bheag nàire.
            Gun càl ach brochan dèante dheth.

        • John Goss

          Thanks guys. I guess I’m a wee bit old to be learning Gaelic, Scots, Cornish, Welsh or Irish. But Turlogh O’Carolan is one of my favourite composers. This is Si Bheag Si Mhor on the instrument it was intended for.

          O’Carolan was blind so I guess somebody else transported his harp to the great houses of Ireland.

  • Frazer

    Of all the many years I have known you I never envisioned you shovelling coal. Was this perhaps a scam to get free coal for our Grandmother ? LOL

  • michael norton

    She is not bluffing.

    When is Indyref2 ?

    Biggest gasoline glut in 27 years could crash oil markets
    Russia Today

  • Anon1

    Craig uses “Little Englander” in almost every blog now but does he know what it means? The term has its origins in the days of empire and was given to one who was opposed to foreign adventurism.

    As Craig is obviously very much opposed to foreign adventurism, and as he is quite clearly an Englishman, he should proudly refer to himself as a “Little Englander”.

    • bevin

      And you are right too.
      First Habba and now you.
      The nonsense that people opposed to being ruled by bureaucrats on the other side of the channel are likely to be racists will lead inevitably to the discovery of racism just about everywhere.
      In the States we see the madness of finding Russian influence everywhere- it was suggested there today that the Russian Ambassador’s death was ‘another’ of Putin’s murders- in the UK there is this sudden eruption of ‘racism.’ Common to both of these outbreaks is that they effect liberals in particular.
      The world is changing and it is a world long dominated by liberalism, in its various forms. Unable to cope with it liberals see conspiracies everywhere: Russians, the endemic racism of the working people and much else.
      To put it plainly the moral of the story is that it is stupid enough for the woman to have gone to the police, it is stupider that the silly tale got any currency. But it is truly frightening that the Police were of the opinion that a man could be jailed for talking in the way reported.
      It is an indication of the rotten heart of liberal ideas that this is not self evident. The market vendor is to be congratulated for his dry sense of humour-very British.

      • Habbabkuk


        You’re a bloke – so why do you use a woman’s handle? I mean, I don’t call myself Ruth, do I, and Mary doesn’t call herself Jason. You remind me of that peculiar middle-aged Irish chap ** who used to post under the name of “Sophie” or “Sofia”. Weird!

        ** I must admit that they are legion and all appear to have kissed the Blarney stone.

        • Sharp Ears

          For the umpteenth time, leave people’s names out of your mindless comments.

          You think you’re rather clever, don’t you. In fact you are very silly.

        • D-Majestic

          I named myself after a car-but that doesn’t mean that a person called Ferguson is in reality a tractor, does it? Now who’s weird?

        • nevermind

          Habby you are a woman, really, aren’t you, very bitter and selfish at times, why don’t you use a female moniker, rather than that of an obscure ME Uri Geller type mystic?

          You could offer a name swap with Sally.
          Why are you obsessing with gender all the time, have you got none? please explain your obsession, many here must be as puzzled as I am.

          ‘Don’t forget that we won the war’ was the reply to a perfectly normal conversation about public services, were the knowledge of this publican was rather scant, just as that of the majority today.
          Off course,, I first thought, the man’s a racist, but he was a Lib dem voter and quiet pleasant in conversation with others, so how could he possibly come up with such nonsense. Until I told him of my country of birth he did not say any such thing, so what was his reason?

          I can only put it down to the lack of education and the constant drip drip of war propaganda that is engrained in the MSM, the fact that WW2 was the greatest thing that ever happened here and that it is being kept alive as part of a status quo debate that has stifled this country for far too long.
          That younger German, Italian or Japanese citizens can’t undo history and are not responsible for the mistakes of their forefathers does not sink in, it is replaced with the broad NazI brush.

          And those who use the brush are in many cases the worst Brexiteers and fascists around. I don’t like little Englander either, it should be ‘little pirates’ for whatever comes ashore here is subject to ridicule plunder and false attentions.

          I’m waiting for the first attack as I will not stop speaking out about dumbing down of children in favour of robots working in future and I welcome the foreign engineers that will be needed to maintain these robots, for they are manifest to the stupidity that persists. Unless the UK starts thinking about sustainable systems and get away from complicated nuclear arrangements they can’t service, for example, they will always be requiring immigrants who are clever.

          And with the attitudes on display currently by the creme de la creme of Brexiteers, these people will come expensive, they will be charging for the general abuse they’ll receive.

  • Loony

    Another little vignette of racist English people. It is surprising that an Italian would be so thin skinned – after all back in Italy there are things like this happening

    A lot of people might think that this is a rather more serious incident – but I guess there were no English people involved and so it loses its newsworthiness.

  • Anon1

    Of course none of us knows whether Craig’s story is true or not, but at the very least it should be noted that we’re hearing only the woman’s version of events. It could have been that she was behaving in a hoity-toity way and the veg seller lost his cool. She might be a complete snob who laughed at the little man for not knowing his zucchini. I find it very unlikely that a man whose business it is to sell to the public would just launch into an unprovoked attack in the manner described.

  • wildcat

    Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has tweeted that the “SNP would sell their granny to secure independence.”

    He should have used the plural of granny of course. Nevermind that.

    It’s the hypocrisy that’s remarkable. For someone to say this who belongs to a party that went into coalition with the Tories in return for an AV referendum.

    A party that did a volte face on student tuition fees. A party whose UK leader in 2014 lent his name to the fraudulent Vow.

    A party whose only Scottish MP has been shown to be an out and out liar.

    • wildcat

      Correction. He actually said the “SNP would sell their granny on Amazon to secure independence”.

      • nevermind

        well said wild cat, the Lib Dems have failed to prevent the referendum when they were part of the coalition.
        Their puny abstention from the decision to have one was a massive mistake and only shows how little they understood of the drastic change this would make to all our lifestyles, that their clever leader had no intentions of letting go of the power offered for a referendum he did not understand.

        The Lib Dems could have resigned the coalition and caused an election which would have had the referendum as an issue, instead we had lies political bravado and racial innuendo from the likes of Farrage and Gove, with Claggy Clegg being egged out of the MSM, standing on the sidelines having very little influence.
        wherever the wind comes from they will hang their little yellow flag. It used to be the colour of quarantine, but just as the flag wavers, the meaning now is ‘free of disease’. We wish…..

    • JOML

      Willie is prone to the odd white lie himself, having been recorded doing over 80mph in his car on a cycling website, having forgotten to remove his ankle bracelet after a ‘cycle on parliament ‘ rally! Fortunately the App allowed him to delete the record and subsequently deny it to the press.

    • Republicofscotland

      Rennie would do well to remember that he and his party did sell their grannies, to get into government with the Tories. Look how that turned out.

      Of course if you want a Lib/Dem, to tell, the truth ask Alistair Carmichael.

  • Anon1

    Is this story about Craig’s Stakhanovite days shifting sacks of coal meant to endear him to the working class? He has nothing but contempt and disdain for the working class, who stoutly refuse to support
    his elitist middle-class ideals and are thus to be derided as racist and thick.

  • BJ

    A few years ago, my son was on business in Clydebank and had arranged to meet his father in law at a public house on the corner of Stewart Street in Dalmuir, whilst waiting for his arrival and ordering a drink at the bar, he was verbally abused, jostled and threatened with a physical beating; his mistake; to speak with an English accent.
    His wife Scottish, her parents: Scottish, his maternal grandmother: Scottish; born in Rutherglen; her ancestors in Perthshire since the 1500s and his daughter born in Dumbarton.
    He was saved by the arrival of his father in law, who pointed out to the aggressors that my son was in fact born Welsh, not English.
    Given a choice between a beating by racist Scottish thugs and being required to ask for a courgette as opposed to a zucchini, I guess he’d choose the courgette option every time.
    Despite being very shaken by the incident, he chose not to report it to the police, being persuaded by his father in law, that he’d be wasting his time as they’d be highly unlikely to do anything about it.
    Racism and the dislike of foreigners is by no means confined to England and the English.

    • Davy

      I suppose there are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals in Scotland as well as in England – goodness knows I’ve encountered many of them down South. I note Old Mark’s moralising and sanctimonious attitude when I described the problems I’ve had as a Scot trying to make a life in England. I encountered bigotry in many workplaces until I finally had to give up on the notion of working in English workplaces altogether. This is with several postgrads as well, and where I’ve generally been the most educated person in the building, amongst “locals” that were never the brightest. Obviously your son experienced an unpleasant incident, but nothing that was career-destroying, or that deprived him of life opportunities (the bigotry disguised only with a thin veneer of English “politeness” and “appropriateness”). I’d guess that Old Mark is probably a sloganeer for the Union that does not recognise Scotland as a political entity at all. If English people feel that way about Scots, there’s a solution – just let Scotland leave the UK. Why are the English parliament hanging on to Scotland so determinedly? Why get so exercised over the issue? Brexit is sure to be disastrous, and seemed to be no more than a vote for bigots – Scotland wants no part of that and the people made their preferences clear in how they voted.

  • Clark

    Oh grief. I love the metric system. It’s based upon nature, and saves me from having to clutter up my brain with a load of arbitrary conversion factors.

    What next? Do we abandon all our tills and start building “new” old-fashioned ones to do pounds, shillings and pence? Why not groats or cubits? Velocity in furlongs per fortnight anyone?

    • Clark

      This is going to be a disaster for science education, and it’ll stratify students into technical and non-technical groups.

    • Clark

      I know a litre of water is a kilogramme. C’mon little Englanders, what’s the mass of one pint? Oh hang on, the imperial system doesn’t even have a unit for mass…

      • fred

        Next they’ll be wanting to make time metric and have 100 minutes to the hour.

        Well not on my watch they won’t.

        • Rob Royston

          You could always get a US quart, that’s about a pint and a half of beer. A pint and a half in Scotland was a pint and a whisky chaser,

          • Rob Royston

            Sorry for any confusion. Glenn was comparing a US pint to a UK one. The US Gallon is quite a bit smaller than ours, about 6.66 UK pints, so a US quart is a quarter of that or slightly over 1-1/2 of our pints.

          • glenn

            JSD: A quart is indeed two pints. But the Yanks mistakenly believe a pint is 473ml, whereas we know it to be 568ml. So they get short changed on every pint, quart and gallon. No wonder they have trouble holding their booze and end up whooping it up, making fools of themselves in the process, when they get to our more civilised parts.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            I see. I’ve often seen references in US literature to “a pint” of bourbon, or whatever, which the characters merrily consume. Always in a flat bottle. I thought it must be a thundering tall flat bottle to hold a pint – and they can’t half hold their liquor, imagine swallowing a pint of bourbon. Makes a little bit more sense now. Thanks. J

    • fred

      When I buy a pair of shoes I want them measured in barleycorns, you know where you are with barleycorns, I haven’t a clue how big my feet are in metrics.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I suspect that the hankering after Imperial measures is due to older people still being not very confident with metric measurements. I think I am just on the cusp – I am 49 and I am entirely comfortable with centimetres and metres except when measuring the height of persons, when I much prefer feet and inches. I am not at all confident with grams and kilograms, much preferring ounces, pounds and stones. My children are very different. I suspect that a person ten years younger than me would be very different also. Take the matter forward forty years, and I would think few people would care to revert to the Imperial system.

      • fred

        We could use both.

        Fahrenheit is better when it’s warm and centigrade is better when it’s cold. We could use Fahrenheit in summer and centigrade in winter.

        • Rob Royston

          Yeah! That’s a good idea, we could get a psychological temperature rise. But seiously, I always use both at my work depending on what I am doing. It’s important to not jump from one to the other as I’ve seen horrendously expensive errors done writing down or tapping numbers into calculators wrong.
          In the Imperial system there were a lot of great ways of working things out in your head, A diagonal across a square would be the side of the square in feet plus 5 inches for every foot. It was not perfectly accurate but you could lay things out as near as dammit and then do your accurate dimensioning, We used to call this the 5/12 rule and it was based on the Tangent of 22.5 degrees (.414) or the sq root of 2, minus 1.
          For working out weights of steel plates, all I needed to know was that 200 sg ft of 1/4″ plate was slightly less than a ton, so a 3/4″ plate with a surface area of 50 sg ft would weigh < 3/4 ton. No calculator, computer, tables, pencil or chalk, just mental arithmetic.
          I remember our science teacher telling us in school how a VW beetle could be driven off the production line at 70 mph, in his words they were far ahead of us. I was in Germany in my early twenties and we all had German trainees working with us. I was shocked at how backward they were compared to the countries that then worked in Imperial systems. A couple of years later we threw all that away and basically started from scratch in Metric. Thank God we struck oil.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            According to my calculations 50 m sq of 1″ steel plate weighs near enough a UK ton, so what’s the problem? 🙂

  • bjsalba

    Courgettes (or zucchini) in winter is one of the items that is going to get a lot dearer after Brexit as they are all pretty well imported. Time may come when the stallholder will be glad to see any customer -regardless of where they hail from.

    • fred

      “Courgettes (or zucchini) in winter is one of the items that is going to get a lot dearer after Brexit as they are all pretty well imported.”

      There’ll be rioting on the streets of Glasgow.

    • Phil E

      Grow your own, they are easy and freeze well as soup, makes fantastic gravy. If they aren’t in the shops: like it or lump it, as my dear old racist dad used to say.

  • lysias

    Here in the States, very few people would know what a “courgette” is. Here, we only use “zucchini”, both for the singular and the plural.

    Interestingly, the Italian word is zucchina (plural zucchine). I suppose the “zucchini” pronunciation here in the States must derive from Italian dialect.

    Similarly, very few people here would know what an “aubergine” is.

    • Alcyone

      lysias, more likely the Italian language than a dialect. I know America is a much older country than Italy, but still.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      More likely a cloth-eared Yank mispronouncing ‘zucchine’. Which would be ironic since the entire family of uninspiringly bland platefillers* originated in the Americas. Where they still seem to be preferred to food.

      *Well, perhaps that’s unfair on cucumbers and gherkins.

  • Athanasius

    Honestly, I feared this coming for a long time. I spend quite a bit of time in rural and provincial England and know it to be a very different place from the big cities where various ethnicities have to rub along. Trouble is, that difference is what makes the English English. They just don’t like foreigners, and though it’s very non-PC to say this, that dislike is part of their cultural identity. And now, with the spectre of splendid isolation looming, they feel more themselves than they have in centuries. “Themselves” can mean anything from a benevolent paternalism to the London Mob, but whatever the manifestation, it’ll always put England first. If there are still any “my country is the UK” Scots out there, I suggest you go down to the English provinces for a few months to get a taste of what’s awakening.

  • tatters b

    Where I live there are migrants everywhere who don’t work; don’t add anything to the society; have adopted none of the Scottish cultural offerings; live on benefits; for the most part are right wing non progressive types who are at the age in life where they are dependant on the Scottish NHS.-Then there are my East European neighbours who go to work each day, send their kids to the local school where the kids excel at Burns poetry reading, aspire to play for Scotland and embrace the local culture. Welcome to rural Perthshire.

    • Old Mark

      tatters b-

      Scottish NHS FFS what is that ?

      When these ‘English incomers’ were living south of the border did they not pay tax and NI to support the UK wide NHS just like their present day Scottish neighbours ? And who is to blame them for ‘shopping around’ to get the deal deal available- just as the Calais junglers shopped around to seek entry to the European country whose health and other arrangements best suited their requirements ? (And did you support or reject the aspirations of the Calais junglers in this regard- sauce for the goose n all that ?)

      If you are so concerned about ‘health tourism’ you may find, when the new rules about foreigners accessing the English NHS come into being, that you get even more of it in Scotland than you do at present- as the Scottish NHS appears to be happy to continue with the current exremely lax enforcement of recharges for foreign visitors.

    • Old Mark

      live on benefits;

      tattersb – do you know for sure whether these English neighbours of yours are actually getting non contributory pensions credit, rather than a retirement pension thay have paid into ? If the latter WTF is the problem ?

  • Sid F

    I thought Craig had managed an entire article about Brexit without labelling anyone disagreeing with him (an Englishman masquerading as a Scot) as a racist.

    Then he managed slip the R-word in three times in the final paragraph. Good job.

  • Habbabkuk

    According to the big Zanichelli it can be either “zucchino” (masc) or “zucchina” (fem).

    This is a very important fact which should be remembered when next discussing the situation in the Middle East.

    • Republicofscotland

      “This is a very important fact which should be remembered when next discussing the situation in the Middle East.”


      Yes, lets not mention 18 months for cold blooded murder, lets stick to the very exciting topic of vegetables.

  • Habbabkuk

    “I recall, the Yes movement and the SNP welcoming refugees and immigrants, not threatening to use them as bargaining chips, like the Brexiteers intend to do.


    People who go on about the above should calm down a little and in particular avoid the use of silly little expressions like “bargaining chips”. It seems fairly clear that it would be unreasonable for immigrants into the UK to get a better deal than UK immigrants into the rEU. I suggest furthermore that the sort of tit-for-tat game which some commenters on here are obviously hoping for would not necessarily play in favour of the rEU given the fact that the percentage of retirees among Brits living in the countries of the rEU is high whereas the vast majority of rEU immigrants into the UK are economically active, in fact, economic refugees from the high unemployment in their countries of origin.

    • Republicofscotland

      ” It seems fairly clear that it would be unreasonable for immigrants into the UK to get a better deal than UK immigrants into the rEU. ”


      Indeed you’ll do well to remember that, for Britain cannot expect a better EU deal than a EU member. That’s why a firm example will be made of Britain by the EU bigwigs, to deter any other EU member from leaving.

      Britain will be know in years to come as “that’s what happens” when you leave the EU. Followed by oh my what a shame.

        • glenn

          It does sound rather that way. Surely a club/organisation/society should positively welcome members, and make it wonderfully attractive, rather than punishing those with the temerity to leave because they can’t stand it any more?

          So you have to decide – put up with it until the disadvantages of staying outweighs the penalty of leaving. What a choice!

          I bet they don’t talk about that when recruiting new members. This should be a severe disincentive to anyone considering joining, absolutely deter anyone from re-joining, and ought to give pause to those considering staying after all.

      • Loony

        It is true that the EU troughers led by trougher in chief Jean Claude Juncker are fantasizing about punishing the British for leaving the EU.

        Note that Juncker does not say whether the punishment he intends doling out to the British will be greater than the punishment he has already doled out the Greeks for NOT leaving the EU. Of course no mention of the punishment inflicted on the Spanish for their crime of simply being Spanish.

        There are a variety of European elections coming up – and there are reasons to suppose that the fake news narrative will be exposed once again when Marie Le Pen “unexpectedly” emerges as President of France. The fake feminist movement will be exposed for what it is as wimmen of the world resolutely refuse to embrace the sisterhood and adopt Marie Le Pen as the antidote to the cult of misogyny that the identify everywhere (except France presumably)

        Separately, or perhaps not, the Germans have suddenly discovered that there are problems with the euro – maybe they think that they are approaching the end game of their pan European looting operations.

    • Laguerre

      “It seems fairly clear that it would be unreasonable for immigrants into the UK to get a better deal than UK immigrants into the rEU. ”

      Classic nonsense. Then no agreement will ever be made, for as everyone knows, the residence of UK citizens after Brexit, is not the affair of the EU but of the individual countries. A deal has to made with each of the 27 individually, whereas Britain for the moment is one country.

  • Soothmoother

    I voted for Independance and voted for Brexit. However, I think it is should be a two thirds majority before any change is made. It is ridiculous and unfair to make such changes without a clear majority. I think the SNP pro EU stance is a tactic they knew they could use should the last independance vote fail. We can’t keep having vote after vote with such small margins for defeat or victory. Imagine each year we have a referendum and each year 49.9% vote yes, then one year 50.1% vote yes and everything changes forever and you can’t go back. Labelling the English and Welsh as racists is another tactic. We’re morally better than them seems to be the message. And I’m sick and tired of all this PC sh*t. Labels for everyone you disagree with.

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