The British can be particularly and stubbornly conservative about anything which is perceived as token of Britishness. In these use the same scales that are used nearly everywhere else in the world. But it has had only limited The British can be particularly and stubbornly conservative about anything which is perceived as token of Britishness. In these matters, their conservatism can combine with their individualism; they are rather proud of being different. It is, for example, difficult to imagine that they will ever agree to change from driving on the left-hand side of the road to driving on the right. It doesn’t matter that nobody can think of any intrinsic advantage in driving on the left. Why should they change just to be like everyone else? Indeed, as far as they are concerned, not being like everyone else is a good reason not to change.
Developments at European Union (EU) level which might cause a change in some everyday aspect of British life are usually greeted with suspicion and hostility. The British government has been trying for years and years to promote the metric system and to get British people to use the same scales that are used nearly everywhere else in the world. But it has had only limited success. Everybody in Britain still shops in pounds and ounces. The weather forecasters on the TV use the Celsius scale of temperature. But nearly everybody still thinks in Fahrenheit. British people continue to measure distances, amounts of liquid and themselves using anywhere else in Europe. Even the use of the 24-hour clock is comparatively restricted.
British governments continue to put their clocks back at the end of summer on a different date from every other country in Europe; they have so far resisted pressure from business people to adopt central European Time, remaining stubbornly one hour behind; they continue to start their financial year not, as other countries do at the beginning of the calendar year but at the beginning of April!
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