24 October 2009

Don't put clocks back (again)


If you find the darker afternoons that start tomorrow a depressing and pointless exercise, you might be interested in an article in The Times a few days ago (HERE for the full story from last year).

Apart from relieving the gloom, not putting the clocks back tonight would reduce electricity consumption by 1-2% and save NHS expenditure on dealing with accidents and emergencies:

“During an experiment 40 years ago, when British Summer Time was used all year for three years, there was an average of 2,500 fewer deaths and serious injuries each year. Opposition from Scotland contributed to the decision to return to putting the clocks back in winter.”

If putting the clocks back is such a big deal for the Scots, why don’t we let them do it on their own, especially now they have their own parliament in Edinburgh?

A different time zone in Scotland might be marginally inconvenient for the rest of us, but no more so than it already is when trying to plan meetings in other EC countries.


Chris Rose said...

I certainly agree that the clocks should not be changed twice a year, but I would prefer to stick with GMT all the time. After all, it's 'our' time.

We no longer live in a world which is governed by the factory hooter and the demands of a command-managed economy. We work at all sorts of times of the day to provide the services our customers want.

If the clocks were left alone, we could soon adjust our lives to the circumstances of daylight. Schools could open and close earlier, if they wanted to; other organisations could adjust as they thought fit.

So, now they're back, don't put the clocks forward again! Let's decide for ourselves how to make the best use of daylight.

Max Atkinson said...

But GMT is only an arbitrary connection between longitude and time that was originally fixed on Greenwich because of our maritime history, and not recognised internationally until the International Meridian Conference of 1884.

The trouble with having GMT all the year round would be that it would institutionalise the disadvantages mentioned in my post, whereas having BST all the year round would not only reduce the number of needless deaths and energy consumption but also cheer people up - and especially those who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Chris Rose said...

All right, why not perpetuate our maritime history? It's a major part of our culture.

Any time system is arbitrary. If we were to keep to a constant time, we would soon learn when we wanted to get up and when to go bed. I like to get up earlier in the winter than in the summer, because then you don't lose so much of the short daylight hours. In the summer, it doesn't matter when you get up as there is far too much daylight to use fully.

However, in principle, I do agree with you: stop messing about with the clocks.