METRIC MARTYRS POSTCARD CAMPAIGN
We are now in the tenth year of the Metric Martyrs Campaign and have come a long way since that fateful day in July 2000 when, in a little market in Southwick, Sunderland, two Trading Standards Officers and two Police Officers seized greengrocer Steve Thoburn’s imperial scales.
A hard-working, humble family man, Steve drew a line in the sand and was prepared to stand up to be counted. A daunting task for anyone prepared to take on the weight of the council, the British Government and the EU but when Steve and I looked behind us there was the great British public preparing to stand shoulder to shoulder with us.
Our ‘journey’ may not have been as illustrious as Mr. Blair’s but it has been a journey which has shown that David can take on Goliath despite the odds against. A journey which highlighted the hypocrisy of a Government metricating the country by stealth and criminalising traders whilst the Prime Minister was announcing the birth weight of his little Leo as 6lb 12oz!
From Sunderland Magistrates Court to the Court of Appeal Steve’s case was joined by Julian Harman, John Dove and Colin Hunt, all of whom had received criminal convictions for using imperial measures. From there to the House of Lords then, following the dismissal of the case by the European Court of Human Rights we witnessed the tragic death of Steve Thoburn from a massive heart attack aged only 39.
The Campaign which has been fantastically supported by BWMA’s members and supporters over the years and the British public at large has grown into a formidable fighting force representing the ‘common-sense and fair-minded’ values of the majority of the British public and we are not prepared to rest until justice is seen to be done for Steve’s family and the other four convicted Martyrs.
In 2008 Steve’s widow Leigh launched the campaign for a posthumous pardon for Steve and a pardon for the other three Metric Martyrs but then Hackney Council decided to pick on 64 year old market trader Janet Devers. The bullying tactics of Hackney Council drew the attention of the national press again and finally they abandoned the case when Janet elected for a jury trial but only after Janet had been convicted at the Magistrates Court. It was decided, rather than go through the trauma of another appeal, that Janet would be added to the campaign for a pardon.
Meanwhile, in late 2008 whilst the Metric Martyrs were back in the news the European Commission announced that it was to abandon the Enforced Metrication Programme stating that it had never been their intention to abolish imperial measures. Some duplicitous Ministers in the Labour Government actually attempted to claim credit for ‘saving imperial measures!’
Now that we have witnessed a change of Government we will hopefully see a new approach from the Coalition, which will allow us to finally achieve what we set out to achieve following the convictions of the five Metric Martyrs, and that is confirmation that they will be pardoned and their convictions overturned.
Whilst an ‘unofficial moratorium’ has been declared by the previous administration, it still remains a criminal offence to sell goods by the pound and display prices with imperial prominence.
When they came to power the new Coalition announced that it was:
“ Committed to restoring and defending your freedom – and we're asking you to participate.”
They stated that they want to:
“Restore Britain’s traditions of freedom and fairness, and free our society of unnecessary laws and regulations – both for individuals and businesses.”
Nick Clegg said:
“ - real democracy is unspun; it is the raucous, unscripted debates that always throw up the best ideas.”
Well, we now throw down the gauntlet to Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg to make an extremely populist decision which we confidently predict will receive no public or political opposition and help deliver a posthumous pardon for Steve Thoburn and pardons for John Dove, Julian Harman, Colin Hunt and Janet Devers ... the only people to ever receive criminal convictions for selling in imperial measures.
The law can be changed quite simply and it is unacceptable to be governed by an ‘unofficial moratorium’ with the criminal offence still live on the statute books.
Mr. Cameron will not need reminding of his letter to the Metric Martyrs Campaign which stated:
“I do not think that the Metric Martyrs should be prosecuted. I, together with my Conservative colleagues, believe that local authorities should use their resources more efficiently than persecuting traders who are providing their customers with a service they want in the units of measurement they prefer.
Whether traders choose to sell in imperial or metric should be a matter between them and their consumers.”
It was nice to see that Florence Rose Endellion Cameron’s birthweight was announced as 6ib 1oz following the tradition of other Prime Ministers, the exception being that Gordon and Tony did so while condoning the prosecution of shopkeepers for using the very same measures.
When the late Steve Thoburn’s son was born in 2002 he announced the birth weight as 3,790 grams and said: “If birth weights were announced in metric most people wouldn’t have a clue whether the baby was the size of a small tomato or a premature hippopotamus.”
We trust that the BWMA’s members and supporters will sign up to the postcard campaign to remind the Prime Minister Mr. Cameron that we care deeply about our freedom and democracy and that we will fight to ensure that justice eventually prevails.
Let us hope that Mr Cameron and the Coalition do the decent thing and announce that it will be their intention to move towards a pardon for the five Metric Martyr traders convicted under the metrication regulations and let justice prevail, allowing us to inch towards a victory for common sense
Thank you for your continued, unstinting, generous support.
Let’s make it happen.
To view the postcard and request supplies please click here