My earlier post, ‘Hands off GMT!’, triggered a lively discussion. My thanks to everyone who participated. Most of us wondered why the question about clocks has arisen yet again.
Commenter Mintee left a couple of links which I have now had the chance to explore in more depth. The first is an October 2009 paper by Elizabeth Garnsey and Brendan Cronin; this is a revised edition of their 2007 paper, ‘Daylight Saving in GB: Is there evidence in favour of clock time on GMT?’
Dr Garnsey is on the Academic Staff of Cambridge University’s Centre for Technology Management (CTM) and a faculty member of the university’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), tied into the Engineering Department. The IfM is one of the UK’s Innovative Manufacturing Research Centres (IMRCs).
In 2007, Mr Cronin was ‘a student in the Department on the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development’. The aforementioned paper concluded:
No evidence in favour of imposing Greenwich Mean Time in winter was found.
Furthermore, page 5 of the paper states:
Folk memory is in error in holding that there were more accidents during 1968-1971, the period when the clocks were not set back in winter.
The words ‘folk memory’ (as well as ‘imposing’) stand out. Since the 1990s, my better half and our friends (all of whom are English) have discussed the statistics that emerged after that three-year trial period. They appeared in newspapers, were read out on news programmes and so forth. They were not an old wives’ tale.
In the comments to the Telegraph articles I cited in my original post, a number of the newspaper’s readers have been trying unsuccessfully to get hold of these data, but to no avail. This leads some to believe that they might have been scrubbed or ditched.
I looked at Mintee’s other link, leading to Lighter Later. Clicking on the link reveals an interesting logo, which a number of us will recall from last year. It is the infamous 10:10. Remember Richard Curtis’s eco-terrorist 10:10 film, No Pressure? If not, here’s a reminder:
This is where a teacher, a senior manager, a footballer and a studio technician simply pressed a red button to explode those unconvinced by climate change arguments into an unfunny, bloody mess.
In closing, below are a few comments from Guardian readers in response to a December 2010 article, ‘Wouldn’t changing our clocks make our lives better?’
I fail to understand how an increase in road deaths and accidents during the period of the experiment can be statistically changed into a cut in the number of deaths and accidents?
There is no actual evidence substantiating these claims by those that want to fiddle about with the clocks, just studies and estimates and guesses and opinions. In fact, virtually all of the results of actual countries or regions which have done this have shown the exact opposite to the claims these campaigners make. I just dont understand it.
Its not called GREENWICH mean time for nothing- it’s the time on the meridian of Greenwich – not the meridian for Poland.
@JohnRuddy – You are totally right, there are no figures to back these claims up …
The reason that this idea keeps being rejected is that the facts that supposedly back up the argument are never presented, leading me to believe there [are]n’t any clear facts to support it. By looking at the data myself I cannot see a clear and definable difference between the deaths and injures sustained during lighter summer months and the darker winter months, and therefore see no reason to change GMT.
… Great Britain fought hard for Greenwich Mean Time to be adopted as an international marker; why would we want to move away from it permanently? The day will not be longer; the evening will not be longer – the day will be exactly the same length. If we want to maximise our time in daylight then we need to start organising our lives around it …
And, finally, Peter Jackson — who like my better half and friends — remembers dark, depressing days at school during the trial period 40 years ago:
I was at school in Manchester during the previous experiment in 1968-71, and even that far north – not Scotland, note – it was bloody awful. Not only going to school in the dark, but having half the morning lessons in the dark as well. Try reading the Parliamentary debates on the subject before it was changed back again; it was dropped because of widespread public opposition.
All this seems like another attempt by so-called experts with spurious science to bully us and our MPs into accepting yet another plan to notionally save the planet and tell us we are death-deserving idiots if we don’t follow along.
Red button, anyone?