I recently compiled a list of all the things I hate about the world around me. It was a long list, pieced together over several days and by the end I had written down more pet hates and random irritations than I could possibly write about before my likely demise at some point in the middle of this century (although I still haven’t quite given up on the idea of living forever).
I considered it a pretty exhaustive list to be honest, allowing obviously for additions as the years tick by and new generations of politicians, TV presenters, Die Hard movies and technological ‘advancements’ are thrust upon us (where are those damn hover-boards they promised us anyway?)
Anyhow, I was pretty sure that I had covered everything and that I wouldn’t be inserting anything new anytime soon. Twenty four hours later however, I am making a new submission to Room 101, and it isn’t something from next week’s ITV2 schedule. It is something that dates back nearly 30 years, and something that until very recently I wasn’t aware that I hated at all; the Weights & Measures Act 1985.
It was an American that pointed out to me the absurdity of this particular piece of legislation, because like most Brits, I considered it part of the landscape. It’s just the way it is and I suppose subconsciously I’d bought in to the whole idea that it was there for my benefit.
In reality, the very opposite of that is true. What they’ll tell you is that those ridiculous optics and stainless steel bar measures are there to ensure that you never receive less than 25ml of the single malt you have just paid through the nose for. What they actually do is in effect guarantee the opposite, ensuring you never get more than 25ml, not a smidgen more, not even a whiff of alcohol infused vapour more that twenty five sodding millilitres.
Have you ever seen 25ml of spirits in a glass with no ice or mixer there to disguise the fact that the alcohol barely covers the bottom of the glass? In a world without the Weights and Measures Act, no barman/barmaid in any pub in the land would pour a measure of less than 25ml freehand, because if they did, nobody would drink there. Not only that, pouring less than 25ml from an open bottle is actually quite difficult to do.
The rest of the world must find the whole concept baffling. The standard internationally accepted procedure for serving a whiskey is to simply place the glass on the bar and pour a healthy glug into the bottom of that glass from the neck of an open bottle. It really is quite simple, and in a world where you give people this freedom, the customer invariably ends up with more because market forces dictate that if you start dispensing meager measures, the customer will head along the next bar or pub where the glugs are that bit more generous.
The Weights & Measures Act 1985 should be consigned to Room 101 with immediate effect. It is bad for consumers, and it is bad for Britain. It makes us look like a nation of petty and officious fuck-wits, and based on this pointless piece of legislation, who could argue with that?