Saturday, October 25, 2014

The evenings really were longer when I was young

The sort of people who think we should have British Summer Time all the year round are like those who think voting should be compulsory or that Richard Branson should be prime minister.

In all these cases, find someone else to talk to as soon as possible.

If you doubt me, revisit the question of putting the clocks back around 6 January and ask yourself then if you really want it to be an hour darker and an hour colder when you have to get up for work.

But I was surprised by a fact in the Independent's article suggesting this could be the last time we put the clocks back.

I knew there had been an experiment with year-round summer time in the 1960s. There is an archive clip of children, bundled up against the cold and looking a little quaint to modern eyes, going to school in the dark that the BBC wheels out every time this debate takes place. It is a little odd to think that I must have looked like that.

What I did not know is that this experiment lasted four years: from 1968 to 1971. So the reason I remember longer light evenings when you could play out when I was little is that they really were like that.

A reader complains: Isn't this rather self-centred. You were fine with year-round summer time when it meant you could play out, but now you have to go to work you are against the idea?

Liberal England replies: Not at all. Under the present regime, which I support, I sometimes have to put up with a 23-hour birthday. We all have to be prepared to make sacrifices.


Tom Barney said...

I suggest another reason to be against year-round summer time: that we should appreciate the turn of the seasons and not suppose, as those who advocate year-round summer time seem to, that summer is the only season that is pleasant and worth valuing. For instance February gets a bad press but it is one of my favourites: February is when the spring is gathering its hind legs ready to leap.

Phil Banting said...

This debate has been going on for years but Britain remains in the same time zone. I hope it always does, and for the reason you have stated. Campaigners for change talk about an extra hour of daylight, but ignore the fact that the number of daylight hours remains exactly the same.

Since street lighting is much more effective now than it was in the late 60's, the argument for road safety is somewhat diminished.

If anyone does want to shift the clock by an hour, just get up an hour earlier - no-one will stop you - but don't force it on me.