15 February, 2011


A very quiet anniversary

I had not realized until it was mentioned very much in passing on the wireless this morning. Today is the 40th anniversary of the introduction of decimal currency in the UK. Which I guess is appropriate as my main memory of "D-Day", Monday 15 February 1971, was how smoothly everything went. No collapse of commerce, no rioting mobs in the streets. Just a modicum of traditional British grumbling while everybody just got on with it.

XX Just a modicum of traditional British grumbling while everybody just got on with it.XX

And everything doubled in price over night. Exactly as I warned them it would do when we got the Euro forced on us here.

Something that was sixpence (2,5 (decimal Pence), became 6 (new) pence.

They were very carefull though, both there and here.

They could not get away with doubling the price of a new Mercedes, but when it came to a can of beer that WAS one Mark, overnight, it was 1 Euro. At two Marks to the Euro.

In the 70s it was so much worse, because then a lot of things WERE actualy PENCE to buy.

Follow ups to....

Indeed. There were some quite heated arguments in the late 60s between those who favoured using 10/- as the major unit (as happened in Aus, NZ, etc) and those who insisted on retaining the pound because of its supposed importance as an international reserve currency.

Apparently all the oil sheikhs would be horribly confused and would immediately move all their ill-gotten gains into CHF and USD.

The poundites won the argument, and in consequence 3/11d became the cheap-sounding 19½p rather than the easily comparable 39c.

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