Summer Time, Winter Time, We’ve Got To Do Whatever The EU Says

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There’s a worry that the European Union might stop all this bother with summer and winter time, changing the clocks to greet the changes of the seasons. This then bleeds over into they’ll insist we do change, or don’t, as they decide for themselves. That’s not quite how it’s going to work out. We’ll be #freetodowhateverwedamnwellwant – and we’ll be damn fools if we don’t do whatever it is they decide.

Coordination being the point here, not whatever savings the change itself may or may not provide:

Britain could be forced to end daylight saving time by the European Union after Brexit, a Lords committee has warned.

The European Commission is planning to end the changing of the clocks a month after Brexit in April 2019, during the transition period.

It has raised concerns that daylight savings time is disrupting people’s sleep, damaging their health, and inhibiting productivity at work.

It comes as Britain is set to change the clocks back next Sunday, which could be the last time under the EU’s plans.

The EU won’t have the power – the legal power that is – to tell us what to do. So, force in that sense doesn’t, erm, make sense. However, barring some outbreak of idiocy – no certainty given that we’re talking about politics here – they can and will force us to follow whatever their decision is. For think what happens if we don’t change when they do, or do when they don’t? Absolutely every cross border activity is now out by 60 minutes, isn’t it? Every flight slot at every airport is now shifted an hour with respect to take off. Or landing of course. Train journeys, we’ve now got that 6 am express charging through what is now 7 am commuter traffic as it crosses the border. Ferries aren’t that much of a problem as ports are rarely full enough to have precise time slots.

To see the truth of this consider why we even moved off Sun time in the first place. London used to be some 9 minutes (pendants might remind me that it was 11) off Bristol time and when transport between the two was by horse, cart or Shank’s this was a matter of supreme indifference to all. The Sun was at that point in the sky, that was the time. Then Mr. Brunel laid that engineering marvel which is the Great Western Railway. The first of those new fangled that was largely west to east rather than north south, and thus suffering significantly from this time problem. Sun time thus gave way to railway time so that signals and schedules and all that worked off the same clocks. A 9 minute time difference causing significant problems on a busy iron road. Or at least used to, GWR did start out more regimented than today’s this is Tuesday to the Weston Super Mare service is going through.

The point being coordination. The entire point of standardised times being coordination. And if we’re to change, or not change, differently from our neighbours then we lose that, don’t we?

Whether or not there are advantages to changing is something others can argue about. But if there is to be a change then we’ve all got to do it together. And that’s the force that the EU will apply whether they mean to or not.

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Quentin VolejghRhoda KlappMoosealot Recent comment authors
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Moosealot
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Moosealot

Airports seem to manage the 3 weeks in March between the USA turning “daylight time” on and BST arriving, and the only piece of railway where commuter traffic and continental traffic share the same tracks — the section of HS1 between Ebbsfleet and St Pancras — has “clock face” slots, so the same type of train has a path at the same time every hour (sometimes in the off-peak these slots aren’t used) Thus, provided you’re shifting in quanta of 1 hour there won’t be a problem there, either. I would be far more inclined to sync with America. Firstly… Read more »

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

You might not like DST. There is a substantial argument not to bother. But the arguments you bring in favour of keeping with continental practice no matter what do not stack up. We can manage the time differential and the inconvenience it may bring, easily, just as they do in the US where DST is implemented on a state-by-state basis, some even having two time zones within the state. Those arguments are like scottish cows going to work in the dark. It’s only a clock, you can do things when you like.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Yes, but I can’t get to a 10:00 meeting ‘sewer le continong’ except by staying over. Which is a continuing PITA. And if I travel out and back in a day, I’m limited to about 6 hours of time in the office.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

Have the meeting at 11.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Have you heard the expression “the customer is always right”? I’m damn good at what I do, but not uniquely so. I have to consider the possibility that my clients might prefer to use a local expert instead.

I’m not complaining (much), but as there are plenty of other arguments for moving our clocks forward (lighter summer evenings), and the only antis seem to be a few crofters in the far north of Jockland, I’m at a loss to understand why we don’t just do it.

jgh
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jgh

Discussion seems to have got confused between not changing the clocks at all, and being one hour out all year. The EU is proposing not changing the clocks, full stop. If the UK does nothing that means we’ll be out of sync *half* *the* *year*. If we also stop changing the clocks we’ll be out of sync with some part of the EU by an exact multiple of one hour, depending what we fix to and which part of the EU we compare to. Supreme common sense would say we fix to whatever Ireland fixes to. But, as our host… Read more »