October 30, 2014 by Paul Goldsmith
Here’s something that can be devolved to Scotland for ever. I was standing in the park today watching my kids play on the swings and climbing frame and it got dark at 4:30. Over the next two months this is going to get worse, with darkness closing in around 3:30.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Because the Scots insist that we abandon British Summer Time for these five months otherwise in some areas in the far north of the country it wouldn’t get light in the morning until 10am. It’s a compelling case, so in the interests of “Devo-max” let them have their Greenwich Mean-time. Given we promised them everything else under the sun anyway in our desperation not to lose the independence referendum, this is an easy win-win for all of us.
The case for rest of the UK keeping British summer time in Winter (and adding an extra hour of clocks in March) is strong. First of all, opinion polls throughout the countries involved show a healthy support for it. This support is backed up by a range of studies that back up this “daylight scheme” would save money and save lives as well as causing an improvement in health. It would also, lest we forget, bring this country’s time in line with Central European time.
Longer hours in the evening would decrease our need to use artificial lighting in our homes, which would in turn cut household energy bills as well as provide benefits for the environment. Even with the clocks turned back as they are right now, it is basically light when most people go to school work but dark when people return from school and work. Making it lighter would, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, save about 80 lives and prevent about 200 serious injuries,
There have been several attempts to do this, but all of them have been stopped at source by the Scots and other special interest groups who certainly do not make up a majority in our society. The benefits of this outweigh the costs, and so, if we let the Scots keep their own timezone, which means Greenwich Mean Time in the Winter and British Summer Time in the summer, that surely is what devolution is all about is it not? I have a sneaking feeling that once they see us all returning home in the light, they may, quite literally, see the light on this one too. Surely it’s time now?