Monday 31st October
So, another year and the clocks going back; spring forward, fall back was how we were taught to remember it. And yes, it is lovely to escape those cold dark mornings but I wonder if the loss of an hour in the evening is really worth it. Of course it is a complete misconception that any hours are either lost or saved, there are the same twenty-four hours as there ever were, and I am sure that the sun neither notices nor cares as it continues its’ hurtling path through the universe, as we continue our own around the sun; it is this trajectory and the angle which any point on our humble planet happens to be tilted towards it that dictates the hours of darkness or light. In any case the mornings will continue to get darker earlier and earlier, and that hour ‘saved’ will soon disappear. I can remember, when I worked, and how depressing it used to be travelling to work and home again in the dark, especially as most of the offices I worked in were in windowless basements, or large open plan affairs where my desk just happened to be on the furthest wall from the windows and any hint of daylight. There is actually a medically accepted syndrome called SAD (seasonally affected disorder) which I believe affects us all to a greater or lesser extent, though some people become really ill ; I only know that I hate the early drawing in of the evenings, so putting the clocks back seems worse than leaving things as they are.
Every year there are lengthy letters in the Telegraph explaining at great length the advantages or not of this quite old-fashioned system of adjusting our clocks to try to correct what some perceive as a problem. I believe it was initially introduced to facilitate building and other outdoor workers who traditionally started at eight in the morning and because of the still encroaching darkness couldn’t start until it was light enough, I just wonder what happens now as they have to stop working at five, then four-thirty and so on, or have floodlights solved the problem somewhat. And then there is the whole issue of Scotland and as they are so much further north the problems of darkness are always exacerbated by any changes.
And now there are reports in the papers that the Government is considering changing over to Western European time, which is an hour earlier than our summer time anyway. I can simply warn them that though many will complain at any change, very few will thank them for it. We are a nation that really dislikes change being imposed from above, but in a strange way the public are often far ahead of the politicians. Most people would welcome some really Green policies which successive governments appear to shy away from, whether because of the powerful big business lobby or just lack of will I am not sure. And the smoking ban which the last government so tentatively proposed was welcomed by a nation sick and fed up with having meals and drinks and even trips to the theatre ruined by the bitter stink of tobacco. So, maybe the government should actually ask people what they would like for a change, they might be surprised, there may be a large consensus out there. I think most people would opt to not go through this charade of changing the clocks every six months. But I may be wrong.