Changing The Clocks: the 'Lighter Later' campaign
Any questions this weekend (29th Oct. 2010) was not remarkable for its good sense, but on one issue the majority of the panel seemed to agree; switching to European Time is absurd. The audience (if they understood Jonathan's confusing question) seemed to be largely of the opposite opinion. I understand that a serious campaign is currently being waged to get the present system (alternating between GMT and BST) to be changed in favour of the UK joining western Europe and making the same alternation but an hour ahead, so that the sun is at its zenith at 13.00 hrs in winter and 14.00 hrs in summer. (See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10362295)
This seems to me quite daft. The issue does not seem to be one that is up for grabs. Noon is when the sun is at its zenith. Calling that 14.00 hrs is plain perverse. It is like calling Monday 'Sunday' so that you can spend the morning in bed. (Admittedly, calling it 13.00 hrs as we have since 1916, seems a little perverse, but the measure was brought in during World War One, to save daylight and to increase the production of armaments.)
If there is an advantage in us getting up in the dark then let us do so by all means; we can get up at 06.00 hrs and call it 06.00; we don't have to call it 07.00 or 08.00 in order to get up. There may well be an avantage in the City of London opening for business at the same time as Frankfurt. So let them do that. It will be darker here than in Germany; that cannot be helped by any fiddling with the clock. It may well be that conditions for school children in Scotland, for mill workers in Lancashire and for dairy farmers in Cornwall are widely different. We don't need to agonize over a compromise. Let each working day be adjusted to suit.
My main reason for resisting the suggested change to western European time is that I am sure we would soon learn to adapt; we would soon learn to stay in bed till the clock said 09.00 hrs. if that suited us. After all, starting work at 09.00 is not an integral and unalterable part of the human condition. On the other hand, walking about in the dark does not suit the species, and never will.