It’s time to say a final goodbye to summer and welcome the longer winter nights as Europe put the clocks back early Sunday morning while the USA follows suit next weekend.
Once again, as soon as Britain’s daylight saving time ends and the clocks go back one hour, there are calls to end the practice, Instead, some people want to keep summertime all year while others want to go to double summertime which would make British time equal with most of mainland Europe.
Supporters of such a move talk of the danger to children returning home from school in the dark. They are saying that there are more accidents at that time of day at this time of year. Maybe that’s true but have they considered the alternative? And by that I mean the risk of children suffering accidents on their way to school in the morning murkiness.
Then, of course, there are those who live further north. The days in winter are shorter in Scotland, for example, than in the south of England, so they notice the dark winter mornings more there; and David Cameron’s government does have to think about all the UK as it is still one country.
Of course, there is nothing new in the idea of not putting the clocks back. In fact, it has been tried before. From 1981 to 1971, the UK kept its daylight saving British Summertime all year round. It was ditched after the figures showed an increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured.
More recently, in 2011, a Conservative MP put forward a proposal to bring in permanent daylight saving time but it was dropped for lack of parliamentary time. An opinion poll that year found that 53% of Britons supported moving clocks forward an hour permanently while 32% opposed the proposed change.
As I suggested earlier, the idea was not welcomed by the Scots with Scottish Nationalist Party MP Angus MacNeil saying that any change would have “massive implications for the safety and wellbeing of everyone living north of Manchester”.
At this point, we all need to consider the farming community both in Scotland and elsewhere.
From personal knowledge of looking after farm animals all year through, I well remember the feeling of relief when the clocks went back to lighten the mornings. And that was in North Wales not in parts of Scotland where the sun wouldn’t rise until 10am. Even ignoring the risk of there being more deaths and injuries from accidents, I have to feel for dairy farmers, who wake up before 5am and would have to work even longer in the dark. Then there are other workers who need sunlight to carry out their jobs. They’d have to work later into the evening.
Perhaps, if some people are desperate to see an end to daylight saving time, to satisfy those north of the border, the UK should have a different time in Scotland to the rest of the UK. The Scots could have an independent time. That could be the first step along the rocky path leading towards the break-up of the supposedly ‘United’ Kingdom.