Posted by Ian
Here it is again, that moment in the year when we have an hour of sleep stolen from us and there’s nothing we can do about it. When our body clocks are thrown completely out of kilter. When time is meddled with for no reason other than to preserve a tradition spiralling back goodness knows how many decades. When the sun is let loose to bake the earth long into the night and render global warming even more of a threat.
Accordingly, here are ten reasons why British Summer Time should be abolished – forever.
1) It means darker mornings. In a choice between getting up in the pitch black, or going to bed in the pitch black, surely the latter is preferable. Nobody enjoys waking up in the dark; it puts you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, and makes the business of climbing out of bed seem akin to ascending the Himalaya mountains. Whereas when the sun is shining onto your pillow first thing of a morning you can’t wait to get up.
2) Putting the clocks forward means you lose an hour of sleep. You might not feel it on Sunday, but you sure miss it come Monday morning and you’re struggling to school or work on depleted reserves of energy, rest and recuperation. It’s plain wrong that we should be robbed of 60 minutes of slumber just like that.
3) Come the middle of summer, the sun doesn’t set until gone 10pm. This is downright unnatural. Your body needs to wind down of an evening in order to get the best out of a night’s sleep; when the sun’s still blazing away as Newsnight comes on the TV, it’s impossible to do this, hence you’re tempted to stay up even later, you get even more tired, and come the weekend you can barely get out of bed.
4) Now that our climate is warming up, summers are hotter than ever and the sun’s rays more lethal. British Summer Times means lighter evenings and hence hotter nights, as the ground has less chance to cool down and lose the heat it has absorbed during the day. Lighter mornings, however, would still give us the same amount of sun but of a less intense, less harmful quality.
5) Clinging to something like British Summer Time is a supremely stubborn obsession. It’s about time we shed our fusty, conservative habits and adopted a more practical, 21st century attitude towards time zones – preferably aligning them with Europe, thereby avoiding that irritating business when taking the ferry or Eurostar of always having to put your watch forward.
6) It’s an inconvenience. If you can honestly say you’ve always remembered to put every single one of your clocks forward on the right day, you’re lying.
7) It’s outdated for a country that has separate parliaments and assemblies. Why not devolve time to the regions? Up until 1916 Ireland was 25 minutes behind mainland Britain. Farmers in Scotland, by dint of geography, have to put up with different sunrises and sunsets; why not allow separate areas of the country to determine their most suitable and remunerative clocks?
8) Whoever decided that "summer time" should begin on the last weekend of March? It presupposes spring is over before it’s barely begun. If we must have it, why not limit it to those months where the weather is more likely to actually involve the sun shining, as opposed to grey clouds, terrential rain and, as often happens in April, snow.
9) Contrary to what always appears in the popular press, longer sunnier evenings lead to more accidents, not less. With children more inclined to be playing out in the street, plus the presence of more cars, traffic incidents go up. Indeed, Portugal actually scrapped their system of summer time after concluding that the risk of more accidents was too great.
10) In this carbon-conscious, environmentally-sensitive age, creating more, not less, reasons for people to stay up late drinking, smoking, driving around and generally creating more heat and pollution is just not on. All politicians appear to agree on the need for a dramatic change in our culture and habits. Scrapping British Summer Time would be the perfect way to start.