What’s an hour here or there between friends?

08 Nov

Twice a year we have the opportunity to alter time. We put the clocks forward an hour at the end of March and we put the clocks back by an hour at the end of October. At least once a year a debate breaks out about whether this is a good idea or not.

You know the argument. Keep things as they are or put the clocks forward by one hour and then leave them there. Over the past few years however, double summer time has also been discussed. This would entail moving the clocks forward by two hours at the end of March and leaving it there also.

I’ve kept up with the debate about the pros and cons and I wonder what all the fuss is about? In Scotland double summer time means it will be darker in the mornings (Edinburgh will be fully light by 9.42 AM and then dark again by 16,21 PM on 21 December and fully light by 05.26 AM and then dark again by 23.03 PM on 21 June. The far North of Scotland would vary by 20 minutes or so darker in winter and lighter in summer. London would be 40 minutes or so lighter in winter and darker in summer.

At this point it’s worth pointing out that double summer time just happens to be Berlin time. Another EU alignment? Oh dear

The last time it was changed to permanent summer time I had to wear reflective armbands going to school and be careful to cross with the crossing person. However, I can’t honestly say I can remember much about it and since I lived almost opposite the school gates my experience was limited. Up until recently, I’ve also believed that the safety people indicated there were less accidents. This being down to people being more alert in the morning when it was dark and fewer accidents at night because it was lighter? This however is being challenged and now I often see counter claims, which say more accidents took place when it was dark. The experiment ended because there was no clear outcome from a safety point of view. Modern day nanny state stuff of course dictates that any change will be dangerous.

Of course there are the farmers, builders outdoor workers etc. who insist it’s a very bad idea because they end up working in the dark. I just don’t get this at all.

Time is a human brain thing. It doesn’t exist beyond that. Time is the past the fleeting present and the future so it’s a measurement of motion if it is anything at all. That being the case we are intelligent enough to adapt to any sort of time. Cavemen did what they could when it was light enough and headed for the cave when it started to get dark. We have the 9.00 to 5.00 or thereabouts.

Does it matter when we do things? We have flexi-time in a lot of work places and some people like to start and finish early whilst others like to start and finish late. Some people even work shifts during the hours of darkness! Can’t we just work the hours that suit us? It allows for longer opening hours and better use of assets. Like schools for instance? We wouldn’t need as many schools if kids went to school at varying times over much longer opening hours?

We could get really innovative. We could adopt to different patterns of work which would spread the hours out and in doing so things would be less busy at peak times. You can actually see this in the USA. You can shop from 10:00 AM until 9:00 PM. The malls don’t get that busy generally but they tick along quite nicely.

Lots of nice long summer evenings and not nearly as many dull, dreary and grimly dark winter evenings.

Challenge the status quo! Be radical! But, not for the sake of the EU.

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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in General


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