The time it has a changed

The clocks if not the times they have a changed (one of the best Dylan songs along with Blowing in the wind; both sung here by Joan Baez). Once again the lighter evenings are upon us. This year and last there has been renewed interest in changing our time zone with the Daylight Saving Bill going through parliament. This bill (if passed) will require the government to assess the costs and benefits of shifting the clocks so that we would be on Central European time. This has been tried before during the war and also from 1968 to 1971. The government are not currently keen on the change.

The arguments in favour are centrally to do with increased road safety and increase in business whilst those against tend to be about how dark it would be well into the morning in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Whilst there may be more support for the change in the Midlands and South of England and less in Scotland and here it is not a simple north south spilt issue.

Surely one central objection, however, is the simple factual one. If we decide to get up and go to work, leave work etc. etc. an hour earlier that is fair enough but why pretend that it is actually an hour later than it is? At noon in Greenwich the sun is at its highest point: that is one thing we cannot change, even if we pretend it is 1pm in the winter and 2pm in the summer.

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  • wild turkey

    Turgon

    there should be BST year round and double in the summer. the sun, and indeed the son, is good. end of story

    but because you are one of the soundest and sanest commentators on this blog, even if we don;t often agree on mere politics a wee tune, or as we say back home, a blast from the past

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYeXvG2ptwk

    take care buddy and, ah, you and the family sleep well

    wt

  • Turgon

    Wild Turkey,
    the annoying thing is that I need to go to bed soon but do not feel tired yet as it still feels only 10.20pm.

    Regards

  • Drumlins Rock

    one of the UK main sources of income is the financial sector, and despite its bad press it is still essential to the economy. One of the main advantages London has is its ability to trade with the far east in the morning and west coast USA in the evening, the latter would be severely curtailed if the times were changed.

  • Are you another Dylan fan, Turgon? Have you been to the dylanfest down at Moville? I’ve been there nearly every year so far. Yes, we’re officially in summertime. Now all we need is a summer.

  • Skinner

    I’ve often though that. Why do we not just go to work at 8am instead of 9am, and finish an hour earlier, if we want a wee stretch in the evenings. It’s not such a problem in NI because we have nearly an hour more daylight in the evening than London anyway.

  • Skinner

    Basically, the problem is that people’s daily routine has evolved such that 12 noon is not actually their mid-day.

  • John D

    The trouble with the 1968-71 “experiment” was that it was BST (British Standard Time) all the year round, with no change-round in the autumn or spring. This meant that the UK was in step with Continental Europe in the winter but not in the summer (the rest of Europe was still putting its clocks back and forward in the usual way). Meanwhile the London-based tabloids (I was working on one at the time, as it happens) were making a fuss every time there was an accidental death of e.g. a child walking to school in the dark, ignoring the fact that there were fewer accidents after school as a result of lighter winter evenings, at least in England. The press campaign had its effect, and Parliament voted to end the experiment.
    Now that I’m living on the north coast, where it gets dark by 4 in November, I don’t think I’d welcome any change that would make the winter afternoons any shorter … And would that make the farmers any happier?
    Incidentally, the whole time-zones thing has some irrational aspects: Portugal is in the same time-zone as the UK but Spain isn’t; the whole of China is one time-zone but Russia is split into about 10

  • Skinner

    I have never understood why it makes any difference to farmers of all people. Surely a cow has to be milked every morning whether you call it 7am or 8am? Putting the clocks back or forward does not give you any more or less daylight in any one day.

  • Reader

    Turgon: Surely one central objection, however, is the simple factual one. If we decide to get up and go to work, leave work etc. etc. an hour earlier that is fair enough but why pretend that it is actually an hour later than it is?
    That’s OK once everyone agrees. If your employer loves the 9-5, it may still be difficult to get away in time to take full advantage of the summer evenings. Whereas CET, or just double summer time, would in practice give me a lot of extra exercise in the evenings at the price of a little less alcohol. (Cutover from sailing to drinking tends to happen when it gets dark).
    An *agreed* time shift alows people to benefit collectively, not just individually.

  • Younger Sluggerettes or Sluggerettes with young adult children will be familiar with silent discos in which kids bring along their headphones and dance to their own music.

    Similarly we should allow individuals to set their own clocks. After the inevitable initial mismatches we have enough adaptability, sufficient peer pressure and self interest where it matters such as in schools or transport links, and plentiful technology to make it work. Most people live and work in very small ponds, this can be mapped to suit everybody.

    I shall be giving my first TED lecture tomorrow.The time is irrelevant.

  • otto

    “one of the UK main sources of income is the financial sector, and despite its bad press it is still essential to the economy. One of the main advantages London has is its ability to trade with the far east in the morning and west coast USA in the evening, the latter would be severely curtailed if the times were changed.”

    I once coordinated aspects of a time critical pan-EMEA project working from the US’s eastern seaboard. It was an incredibly productive way of working – sending work requests to Europe at the end of the day and coming in the next morning to find them completed. Not sure of the general application but on that kind of project collaborating US/European teams effectively have twice the number of hours in the day. Worthwhile selling point when trying to get US investment in Ireland. Going too far to European time removes an hour of the overlap in the working day between the US and Ireland (ie the east would start six hours, not five behind us and on a standard eight hour day the western seaboard wouldn’t really overlap with CET at all – nine hour difference).

  • JAH

    I remember the experiment. In Ulster you got up in utter gloom and pottered off in it for seemingly hours. Add in our glorious climate and it was a really depressing cold period. Npbody seemed to miss it.

  • John D. About the ten Russian timezones, Medvedev has recently abolished them so Russia is toio have a single time through from Moscow to Siberia. I remember us going to school in the dark morning at half past nine, as the Standard Time coincided with my last three winters at school. So when they abandoned it, for october 1971, I was at tech college.