It’s the small things that count…

So the British and Irish pint survives in chiming unity. It was gracious of the European Parliament to agree to a status quo that would have cost the EU dear to try to change. The English court case goes to show what can make a human rights issue. But just to show the limits of harmonisation, we parted on miles/kilometres when the Irish authorities went all European – though confusingly for a time we had a mix of local signs in both. How Oirish! The road signs “speed in miles per hour” in the North or kilometres in both languages in the Republic are just about the only evidence of crossing the border these days, apart from (in Donegal anyway) those county council signs welcoming us in German. We’d be lost without them.

One imperial casualty, though, is the acre. The European Commission had said that this imperial measure is no longer used for land registration in either Britain or Ireland and would be “repealed”.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London