Single/Double Summer Time?

Provided Wikipedia’s got it right, I have been subjected to the winter time/summer time changes since the age of ten. I don’t remember what it was like without them, but as far back as I can remember I hated the concept. In my opinion we were getting up and going to sleep too early* even in winter, and summer time only made it worse.

Moreover, I have never heard a convincing reason for these changes. All the arguments I ever heard looked specious to me. Articles about somebody gathering signatures under some anti-summer-time petition came as no surprise to me, although I considered such attempts futile. (The authorites would have to admit somebody else knew better than them. Inconceivable.)

Likewise, I wasn’t surprised to find a set of ‘pedia userboxes claiming the particular user ‘observes‘, ‘begrudgingly observes‘, or ‘loathes, but is forced to observe‘ the DST. There are quite a few editors using the latest on their userpages, including me.

What did surprise me was when before the latest change I came across several articles about proposals to have summer time in winter and double summer time in summer. (I knew from Whiskey Galore double summer time was in use in World War II, but put it down to the Allies finding it convenient to have a single time zone all over Europe west of Germany.)

First there was a report supporting this made by the Policy Studies Institute and welcomed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Next an Internet survey indicated Scots in general might be narrowly in favour. And then Dave Hewitt mentioned some other organizations backing the idea.

After the initial shock subsided, I considered all the arguments given – and remained entirely unconvinced. People are more likely to have a road accident due to darkness when going home in the evening (presumably tired from work) than going to work in the morning (presumably not yet 100% awake)? Don’t give me that. It would be harder to get children to school in October when they can get up an hour later than in March when they have to get up an hour earlier? What sense does it make? And so forth.

Nevertheless, the Hewitt article did disclose something to me. For the first time I understood one of the other people’s reasons for supporting the changes. I finally accepted that one more hour of sunlight in the evening does for some people have the worth of having to get up one hour earlier. Only I still don’t see any profit for the rest of us. Okay, we can’t all have it our way; okay, let them have it their way; but don’t make up lies about how in fact we benefit as well.

* I don’t know how much nine-to-five working hours are the norm in the UK, but where I live the norm was and still pretty much is six-to-two. Maybe this makes a difference. Maybe it doesn’t.

UPDATE, 4/12/10: In another twist, Westminster wants to look at possible advantages of switching the UK to the CET, which is strongly criticised by the SNP.



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