Oops. Due to being upset by the time change, my excuse and I am sticking to it, I said clocks went backwards but of course they leapt forwd one hour. All the more reason for abandoning the habit of changing clocks twice a year.

Original article

Morning, if you are awake yet. Did you oversleep? Take a lie in? Or rush to work an hours earlier than usual.

Overnight at 1am the clocks went back to midnight, cutting an hour off the night hours. Digital clocks will have adjusted automatically. Many people will be adjusting their analogue clocks. A few won’t bother and will allow for the extra hour.

The twice annual changing of the clocks is a century or so old practice conducted without ceremony. The concept was daylight saving, getting more daylight in conventional working hours. These days there is no such thing as conventional hours.

It is surely time to abandon the outdated practice of changing the clocks twice a year. We should adopt British Standard Time (Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour) as a standard.

A YouGov poll in 2018 found that just 6% of people work 9am to 5am. The largest preference for workers was shifting the day forward to 8am to 4pm. Many people work part time, around 8.2 million in the UK at the last count. Flexitime is growing, with 4.6 million people working flexibly. Another YouGov poll in 2023 showed that while Germans were enthusiastic about getting rid of daylight saving, other countries were not as keen, with 45% in Britain wanting to keep it and 39% wanting to scrap it. The European parliament voted to scrap daylight saving but no action has been taken by the commission.

Daylight saving has its origins in the 19th century but came into its own during the early twentieth century with the need to save energy. In was never, despite what has often been said, about helping farmers. In America, farmers campaigned against it.

The UK has experimented with ending daylight saving. Between 1968 and 1971, the UK remained on British Standard Time (BST) all year round. There was a 12% reduction in accidents but MPs voted against keeping the change permanent. A private members bill in 2011 for a new trial gained the support of prime minister David Cameron but failed to become law.

The argument that daylight saving saves energy is outdated. Academics recently suggested that the average household could save £400 a year in energy costs if clocks remained on BST all year round. Daylight saving also disrupts our circadian rhythms. We have barely settled down to a changed time before it changes again.

I think it is time we abandoned what is now an archaic practice of changing the clocks twice a year. We should remain on BST all year round. However, this country can be very conservative and some changes are hard to get agreed.

Now, don’t get me onto the UK using miles when it should be using kilometres…

4 thought on “In our modern world, should we scrap daylight saving time?”
  1. Andy – they went forward – you’re 2 hours out if you put them back!! But in essence I agree, what a waste of time, particularly as you don’t GAIN or LOSE any daylight hours at all, they just move forward or backward. This is particularly relevant if the EU decide to ditch flipping back and forth, when they would be 2 hours ahead of us in the winter months. Can’t really understand Scotland – surely easier to change the school hours to 10 till 4.30 – or am I being both naive and over optimistic?

  2. Previous comments prove the point about how confusing it is – not to mention the hours off our lives in aggregated time spent fooling round with changing clocks on the wall, clocks in your heating system, clocks in cars, etc. But I have a sentimental attachment to Greenwich Mean Time (natural, sidereal time). If folk want to get up an hour earlier in the belief it will save them money, let them: but let’s keep GMT.

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