Let's end the metric muddle

THE Government is being urged to complete a measure first proposed 150 years ago – switching Britain's imperial system of weights and measures to metric.

I OPPOSED the invasion of Iraq, not because I believed Saddam Hussein was a peace loving democrat but took the view that it would provoke the Arab world, fan the flames of Islamic terrorism, and justify marching into other countries which had regimes with which we disagreed.

I also wanted to see evidence of these weapons of mass destruction, which were allegedly pointed at British interests and which could be mobilised at 45 minutes notice.

Saddam posed no treat to world security. Last week, a congressional report in the United States berated the CIA for pumping up the volume - tomorrow, the Butler Report will indict MI6 for exaggerating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and is likely to castigate Downing Street for itsa spin operation to convince Parliament and the public that we were in imminent danger.

Yes, Saddam was evil - his torturers regularly cut out the tongues of political opponents with garden pruners - and he gassed and bombed his own people, including the Marsh Arabs. But the way to have dealt with him was to allow the weapons inspectors to finish their job and then send in a military force under the auspices of the United Nations.

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So I found myself torn watching Michael Moore's extraordinary diatribe of a film Fahrenheit 9/11. He believes President George W. Bush is the devil incarnate, foisted on an unwinning United States by the machinations of his brother who fiddled the vote in Florida and the Supreme Court which repaid George Bush senior who appoibted him by ordering the vote re-count in Flrodia to be stopped.

He wants to stop Bush being re-elected and his film is designed to porray the President in the worst possible light. The first casualty of propaganda is accuracy. Thus to make Moore's falacious point that the United States defied world opinion when it invaded Iraq, he totally ignores the considerable role of the UK, plus the armed forces of Poland, Italy, Spain and Japan in the "coalition of the willing."

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And in trying to portray Bush as a dithering, inadequate dunderhead, he overlooks the bipartisan praise for the President's response to attack on the World Trade Centre. Instead, he dwells on the seven minutes spent reading My Little Group with Florida school children after he heard of the second plane crashing into the twin.

The problem for Moore is the Democrats' choice in the November election. John Kerry is as uncharismatic as Al Gore, who Bush beat in 2000. If the Democrats has wanted to overthrow Bush, they would surely have drafted Hilary Clinton.

MICHAEL Howard's pronunciation of the word school - as sch-ooh-le- brings a typical puerile response from the booh-boys on the Labour backbenches during Prime Minister's Questions. Every time it's uttered by the Tory leader, they set off on a round of loud "oohs."

No wonder outsiders shake their heads at such loutish behaviour - although I'm pleased to say that Ipswich's Labour MP Chris Mole finds it as tasteless and juvenile as I do.

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