Let's put an end to this madness: death to daylight savings | Jack Marshall's column

The sun, which must be respected more, peopleThe sun, which must be respected more, people
The sun, which must be respected more, people
Your microwave probably didn’t get the memo, but your phone will have done. Your analog watch will need changing, but your TV will be fine. Your car could go either way.

That’s right, the clocks have gone forwards and British Summer Time is upon us. For a weird period, you won’t be able to trust the concept of time, forced to double-check the oven against your watch and triple-check with your phone, just to be sure.

Daylight savings is an inherently silly thing. For some reason, I had it in my head that we go through the whole rigmarole for farmers, but a cursory Google reveals that - like so many things on our charming little sceptred isle - is an unhappy hangover from the war.

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Basically, in 1916, BST became a thing to save fuel for the war effort by reducing the need for lighting in the evenings. Fair enough. Standardising time was in-vogue back then: we’d already established Greenwich Mean Time in 1880 for the sake of railway timetables and so that, 140 years later, trains can be reliably late as opposed to properly all over the place.

Why do we still do daylight savings now, though? The original reason is null and void: we still use about a million screens even when the evenings are longer, so we ain’t halting the climate crisis with daylight savings.

And, each time the clocks change, it feels like we’re exacerbating what nature is already doing to our own detriment.

As the days close in and the mercury falters, descending limply alongside the yellowing leaves, we sacrifice an hour of precious daylight. Then, just as we begin to blow away the cobwebs of winter and the days start to thaw, we cull an hour in bed for extra-long already-long days.

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In winter, the evenings already come too early, so what do we do? Bring them forward an hour so we can all go to bed at 4.30pm. In Spring, the evenings are lengthening; they don’t need supplementing at all, but we roid them up good and proper so we can have 11pm sunsets.

Beyond being silly, daylight savings are also killing us and costing us money.

The alteration to our circadian rhythm (don’t mess with the rhythm, people) causes an increase in heart attacks, traffic collisions, workplace accidents, miscarriages, suicides, and bouts of depression, whilst a dip in productivity also hits us in the wallet.

Let’s put an end to this madness. Death to daylight savings.

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