Sunday, October 31, 2010

The last change to GMT ?

The clocks went back an hour today prompting the usual range of press speculation about whether we ought either to make British Summer Time permanent or go back to the wartime practice of having the clocks an hour ahead in winter and two hours in summer. So should today be the last change to GMT?

Although I appreciate it is much harder to get people to shift behaviour and habits than to fiddle with the clocks, and would cost more, (e.g. printing new timetables, opening hour signs, etc if we were ever really serious about getting people to get more benefit from the hours of daylight, it would be a more effective and appropriate way to address the issue.

E.g. the day after a change from BST to GMT you would insist that schools opened at 8 am rather than 9am, the evening news went back from 10pm to 9pm and so on: in terms of when we actually did everything it would be exactly the same as the previous week but the times would be stated an hour earlier.

Then six months later, when the clocks went forward again, the time shift that some people are always campaigning for would take place.

The rules would have to be carefully written to encourage most people to make the time shift while leaving room for exceptions (e.g. so that those who are strongly opposed to doing things earlier could move their timetables back again after six months if they really insist.) You'd probably pass an enabling act which says that all timetables must be automatically assumed to be adjusted by an hour on the relevant date unless the organisation concerned gives special notice to the contrary.

I'm not campaigning for this and I don't think it will happen. But if we ever really wanted to shift the time we do things, that would be a better way than fiddling with the clocks.

2 comments:

The Boiling Frog said...

Whatever we do, the practice of changing clocks every six months is EU law. Permanently staying on BST is a non-starter unless we exit.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/c_061/c_06120060314en00020002.pdf

Jim said...

Why dont we use GMT in the winter time and then in the summer we could all set our clocks to UTC.

Also since we are sharing defences with the French, UTC would also show that we can compromise with them (they wanted to call it TUC, Temps Universel Coordonné and We wanted CUT, Coordinated Universal Time). So they came up with a compromise that suited no one and called it UTC.