The clocks change on Sunday 26 October 2014, going backwards for 1 hour at 2am.
Time for a bi-annual rolling of eyes and snort of derision. Let’s set the clocks forward then backwards then forwards and back again. It’ll be ‘beneficial’ yes?
It is the time of year I consider the children who leave school in the dark. I prepare high-vis and reflective accessories for each family member. (The teen gets harder to cater for, unless Fred Perry make safety wear?)
My body clock adjusts to the darkness of winter slowly creeping in, days gradually getting shorter then we jump a whole hour.
I start wishing the year to end, I get in my pyjamas at saddo o’clock, whilst my teen is hormonally programmed despite the official clock movements, to stay up as normal thus reducing her sleeptime to Thatcherian proportions.
Let’s face it, in winter mornings most people are going through routines, work or school. It’s after these obligations that we have choice, transition irregularly, be it gym, cafe or detention. And it’s this choice that is impacted by our ‘extra hour’ and thrown in the dark.
The clock change negatively effects road safety as drivers are maladjusted to the time and such make more faults than normal. I also drive fearing the sudden sight of a pedestrian at the pitch black time of 4.45pm dressed in colours of the night randomly crossing the road (on a blind corner from behind a bush – true story), and would appreciate it if either (1). everyone wore high visibility clothing or (2). the Government did something about this stupid clock malarkey.
The origins of Daylight Saving stems from an idea that earlier starts in summer will save on the cost of lighting.
In 1916 during World War I, William Willetts‘ campaign for daylight saving was adopted in England in concert with campaigners and countries across Europe and America. Efficiencies in energy for lighting and other resources was paramount as societies were stricken by war. Willetts also thought that bright summer mornings were to be harnessed not luxuriated with slumber.
The connect between energy efficiencies and a nationalised start time for work was cemented. Time was no longer a geographic calculation, the world was no longer synchronised.
As war ceased, British Summer Time (BST) ended only to be revived and redoubled during WWII. Double British Summer Time!! was invented, with clocks one hour ahead in winter and two hours ahead in summer. Such untiring efficiencies!
In 1968-71 the UK experimented with a permanent BST, one hour ahead of GMT throughout the year. Intense evaluation concluded that this foray was both successful and unsuccessful. In 2010 the Daylight Saving Bill focused on year long BST was introduced but failed it’s passage through Parliament. The sole reasoning for maintaining the forward/backward switch is a consideration of daylight in northern regions of Scotland who would otherwise get a first glimpse of daylight at 10am during winter.
Had the 4 year experiment and evaluation taken place in recent years, the Bill would be triumphant. Arguments for keeping a standard year long time include positive impacts on human body clocks, health, depression and road safety. The original reasons for daylight saving are outdated as people work ‘all’ hours and electrical gadgets are perpetually switched on, lighting is longer a significant percentage of electricity consumption.
Perhaps it is my bias towards allowing our bodies and minds to adjust naturally to the seasons that gives me an appetite for change. Dear Parliament, you can stick your daylight saving where the sun don’t shine!
So don’t forget to change your body clock and enjoy the extra hour in bed!