Daylight saving – a complete waste of time?

This content is 13 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

As I made my way onto the platform at the railway station this morning, I looked across and noticed the sky. Pink and blue. Red sky at morning… shepherd’s warning… I haven’t seen that for a few weeks, but the clocks changed last weekend, so my 06:52 train into London runs at what would have been 07:52 last week.

“So what?”, I hear you ask. “So the dawn came earlier – what difference does that really make?”. And my response would be absolutely none at all.

Whilst some are calling for UK timezones to be harmonised with Western Europe, I’d question the need to change the clocks at all. Twice a year, we switch to/from daylight saving time but, in our 24 hour society, what relevance does that really have?

The BBC has reported that, the Federation of Small Businesses are claiming a potential £1bn increase in revenues if we moved the clocks forward another hour to sync with our mainland European colleagues but I fail to see how that changes anything… are they suggesting that they only work “office hours”? So, do those who work with Chinese, or Indian, or American companies switch onto those timezones? (I suggest not – instead, we get up early, work late, or use alternative methods of communication that do not require synchronicity.)

Others suggest that there are green benefits to be had by staying on British Summer Time – doubtful, given that many offices and public buildings have their lights on all day anyway!

Campaigners in Scotland say that to change Britain’s timezone would be unacceptable in a country where winter days are already short enough (it was previously tried between 1968 and 1972). Well fine – Scotland has a devolved government – why not work on your own timeline too! When I lived in Australia, people were used to various states operating in different timezones and Europe is no different. But “daylight saving time” doesn’t give you a longer day… it just shifts the start and end times of daylight.

And that was the real reason for it’s introduction here in the UK, when we were a nation of farmers and factory workers. Today though, we have electric lights to see by on our way to work/school and, in any case, in a few more weeks it will be dark again in the mornings – and on the way home too.

The whole concept of changing the clocks is outdated so, now that London (including Greenwich) is on Greenwich Mean Time (and Cordinated Universal Time), let’s leave it there!

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