This post is not about neo-colonialism. It is about the British obsession with the imperial measurement system, this is still in use in part in the USA (though not in the same form as it is in the UK, we use stones where they use pounds and our gallons are a different size), but has not been used in most of the world since the early 19th century. It covers measures such as inches, feet and miles in length; acres in field sizes; pints and gallons in liquids; onces, pounds, stones, hundredweight and tons (as opposed to tonnes) in weight and so on.
The key problem is that each measurement relates to the other differently even when measuring the same thing. For example there are 12 inches in 1 foot; but 12 feet make 1 yard and 1760 yards (or 8 furlongs) make 1 mile. 2 pints (larger than the US ones) make a quart and 4 quarts makes a gallon; 16 onces make 1 pound, 14 onces makes 1 stone and 8 stones make 1 hundredweight and 20 hundredweight make 1 ton (which is slightly heavier than 1 tonne). Unsurprisingly this makes calculations very difficult and error creeps in. As a result, since the 1970s every child going to school has been taught the metric system and fortunately all things in shops now are shown in these measurements. However, street signs, pints of beer, etc. all use the medieval, imperial system, much to the confusion of visitors. Aside from Liberia, Burma (aka Myanamar) and the USA (though they now permit metric road signs and most products have metric as well as imperial labelling) every other country in the world uses metric.
Despite almost 40 years of teaching children about the metric system (and I believe all schools now do this, though I know in the 1980s some private schools still taught the imperial system) yet again in the media there has been calls to stop 'Europe' (by which people in the UK means the European Commission of the EU) from imposing metric measures on market stalls. The EU has given in and this is portrayed as a 'victory' for the British. It is only a victory for those who perversely want to keep us stuck with difficult, archaic methods of doing things. One reason why traders fear the change is that using imperial measures makes it harder for British people to compare costs with other countries. In the UK food (cars, rent, etc.) is very expensive but having to go through into metric conversion, calculate in the Euro, etc. makes easy comparison hard.
It is argued that the imperial system is a distinct part of being British. Well, it shows how stuck in our ways the British are, which is certainly a characteristic. More embarrassingly (and I will return to this obsession with history in the future) it suggests that they only thing the UK has to be proud about is all in the past; that there is nothing in 2007 Britain that we can point to and say 'we did that; we're proud of it'. So, ironically, all of those who bang on about keeping imperial measures are not really patriots. This attitude has long persisted. It took until 1971 for the UK to move to decimal coinage, before then there had be 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in 1 pound, so 1 pound consisted of 240 pence. The only countries not having decimal coinage are Mauretania and Madagascar, hardly economic giants of the world, and even they worked on multiples of 5 rather than 12 and 20. The British obsession with holding on to old things meant that even the sixpence (actually worth 2.5 pence under the new system) was not withdrawn until 1980.
Imperial measures are difficult, confusing and are not something to be proud of. The British obsession with them does not help the UK economy at all. It might make us distinct, but not for something positive, rather for something which is peculiar and eccentric. These things are fine as tourist attractions but tens of millions of people have to work with these things on a daily basis in order to live their lives. Anyone 40 years old or younger has been trained in metric, so stop old fashioned attitudes and a mistaken sense of what is worth being proud about, hold back the UK any longer.