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Roll on Greenwich Mean Time

October 30, 2010

If you didn’t already know – and frankly how could you not? – the clocks revert back to Greenwich Mean Time in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 31 October.

I loathe this time of year. If you scan the internet like I do then it doesn’t take long to see the same usual suspects cropping up in all sorts of news reports pedalling their wares and their agendas in a bid to have us on the same time as everyone else across Europe.

I’m not a little-Englander especially. I’m not against changing the clocks back.I’d just like it if we could all draw a line in the sand. Either we’re going to change the clocks or we’re not. Or – at the very least – someone somewhere says ‘yeah alright we’ll investigate it’ so we don’t have to hear the same tired old voices harping on year after year.

Here’s a snapshot from today’s bandwagon which the internet finds itself wheezing under.

A Saga report suggests that an extra hour of daylight would help the elderly avoid depression. Elsewhere doctors prepare us (oh yeah, alright it’s a piece from a PR firm) for the inevitable rise of Seasonal Affective Disorder and because there’s a solution just a debit card payment away, there’s even a few products which might counter the condition.

Some are even going so far as to say that it will help tackle the UK’s obsesity. Oh come on. Surely, daylight can’t be the only barrier to a fitter lifestyle? For those of you less cynical than I (who are based in the Perth area) you might like to be made aware of a new running group initiative being promoted which aims to enable joggers to run in the dark in safety.

In other areas of the UK economy, opticians are using the time change to guilt motorists into getting their eyes checked. (I’ve read it over twice … I’m finding the link between change in light and the need for eye tests a little strenuous, I’ve got to say.) Where watchdoggy-type people are even suggesting that when the nights pull in so the doorstep scams increase. (So basically, given that summer normally means surburbia is at greater risk from burgalries and now winter sees an increase in scams, we’re just all generally doomed all year round, it seems.)Avoid scams????

The BBC reports on some analysis by London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office saying that the economy in the capital could be increased between £240m and £720m because of 40% of London businesses would be able to operate for longer hours.

There’s the inevitable green angle to be exploited too. After all, if it was lighter for longer then we wouldn’t need to use as much electricity then we’d reduce emissions.

And .. how could we forget the battle cries of parents up and down the country pleading with the Government to make their children feel safer on the streets at night. Aren’t they all indoors playing on the internet, anyway?

And because its such a broad subject which will touch everyone –  safety – cyclists are being warned they should make sure they can be seen on the roads at night – shouldn’t they anyway, for God’s sake?

But my favourite for cutting through the time-related crap has to be this letter from the Telegraph reminding us that its not the construct of time we should be thinking about, more the position of the sun:

SIR – Those who wish to avoid “long winter nights” will need to move nearer to the Equator. Fiddling with the clocks will make no difference at all.

Mike Wicking
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Makes MP Greg Knight’s bid to have the people in the north of the UK be on their special time zone seem like nothing more than shameless political self-promotion. The tinker.

For my money, I rather like this time of year. I like it when there are natural beginnings and ends in the year. Demarcation points, if you will. It’s good for mental housekeeping. And I rather like feeling invigorated when British Summer Time comes around again. In fact, I wouldn’t mind doing what the Iranians do and actually celebrating it with a night-long party. That would be a damn sight more fun than Halloween.

:: The picture used in this blog post was published by Flickr User Alan Cleaver and is used here in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons License

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From → Life & Society

One Comment
  1. What annoys me most is that so many people seem to think that GMT is some sort of strange timezone that we jump to for the winter, and that summer is our normal timezone. When I try and explain that we move our clocks in the summer so as to capture an hour of sunlight we’d otherwise sleep through, they normally just “umph” and argue that they want their hour back.

    We’d miss it if we got rid of it.

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