Saturday, October 27, 2012
Why oh Why do we Keep Putting the Clocks Back?
[Last year, about this time, and all the years before that since 2005, I expressed my indignation at the absurd putting back of clocks every year by that precious hour. I have not heard one single person in favour of this measure which continues to shroud in gloom a period of the year which does not need any more more gloom than it already has. So I'm republishing my post of last October and intend to do so until this ridiculous outdated practice is done away with(I know, I know).]
No doubt most people in this country have felt the first chill of autumn as recent unseasonably warm temperatures begin to give way. This reminder that winter is at hand is bad enough but what astonishes me is our government's insistence on putting the clocks back by an hour; this year it's today 27th October.
The case against this joyless annual donning of a temporal hair shirt is as follows:
i) studies show that while there might be more accidents in the mornings these would be more than compensated for by fewer in the evenings; The Guardian some time ago, quoted studies predicting a net saving of 140 lives.
ii) 80 per cent of the population want to keep summer time throughout the year.
iii) Many influential pressure groups favour it, including the CBI, the Police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
iv) the experiment of maintaining BST through the winter 1968-71 was, as far as I recall, a substantial success.
v) It would extend the tourist season, the sporting season and..., perhaps most important of all it would make us all feel a damn sight better about the miserable imminence of winter.
The case against reversing the measure is summed up in the two words: Scottish farmers. They would face much darker mornings as the sun would not rise until 10.0am. However, against this it can be adduced:
i) The rate of decline in accidents would actually be greater in Central Scotland(5.5%) than in the south of England(2.5%).
ii)When I used to visit Northern Sweden regularly, farmers up there did not see daylight until much later than 10.0am and accepted it as part of their cost for living in that latitude.
iii) Now Scotland has its own parliament, why doesn't it set its own regional time and do us all a big favour?
iv) is it fair that a nation of 60 million should suffer merely because a few hundred farmers should be able to see their cows more clearly on a winter's morning?
In the war we had a clocks turned forward two hours- Double Summer Time!- why not return to those good old days? Brown might even find his recently flagging popularity recovering immensely if he introduced this simple yet highly popular measure.
I know this is a futile gesture as it will make no difference but it's become a matter of principle with me so I'm going to carry on until someone sees sense. It's also a measure of how much I really do hate the darker nights.
One way of looking at it is that if Scotland gets its independence we can happily stop worrying about their sodding farmers and introduce a time regime which conforms with the wishes of the majority of those living south of the Scottish border. Never thought I'd offer any word of support for Alex Salmond!
Er...would it be unfair to point out that I equally consistently posted comments in support of this measure on this very blog in 2008 and 2009, although not the last two years as I have been busy in October?
Personally I like the lighter mornings, and I prefer, if we have to stick with one time, to go with GMT (which is closer to the actual time as measured by the sun).
Forgive me for forgetting your comments in previous years. I know I bang on about this I ought to shut up and grow up but I do so hate the day being artificially truncated as it now is and driving home from Liverpool, n ow I'm resident in Leeds.
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