Daylight Saving needs to go: An editorial

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This Sunday marks my mother’s birthday (happy birthday, Mum), but is also when a tradition, a little over 100 years old, takes place. Basically, the clocks go backwards one hour at 2am on Sunday. Daylight Saving. I don’t like that. Here’s why.

Background

Firstly, a bit of background. You should know that during spring and autumn, we have to change the time on our analogue clocks, bringing them forward or backward by one hour, in the spring and summer respectively. The idea is older than 100 years, as it was actually first suggested by Benjamin Franklin (who is not my namesake) in 1784. The general idea is that there is more sunlight in the summer months, ergo, we should use it as a means to get more out of the sunlight.

British Summer Time only actually came into force in 1916 during World War One, after a high profile campaign by Chris Martin’s (of Coldplay fame) Great Great Great Grandfather gained momentum, when manpower was certainly necessary to build and produce goods for the war effort, and to keep the country afloat when all the men were gone. Funnily enough, Germany did it first, and during the Second World War, it was amped up to double Summer Time, meaning the clocks actually went forward by two hours.

Why do we have Daylight saving?

After we won both wars 2 nil, Daylight Saving has continued, and on the last Sunday of every March and October, we change the clocks. But why should we? In the 100 years, are we better off as a nation with Daylight saving? Certainly, it does take advantage of the summer, with longer evenings being beneficial to the nighttime economy.

That said, its primary benefit was to aid in industrial work, by allowing factories to work for longer. Great Britain, to the best of my knowledge, makes nothing anymore of value, and is a service economy that is unaffected by daylight savings. Call centres are bad all year. The effects of DST on energy savings has shown no significant results, according to research a cursory Google search has found.

The change in routine, while temporary, is also an issue. There is a biological impact to daylight saving. According to a survey, 50% of employees say the biannual clock switch impacts their productivity at work, with Over 10% of women still feeling the effects more than two weeks after the switch. Furthermore, the body clock changes actually put your body at increased risk to cardiac issues, stroke, cortisol production, and vehicular accidents. Daylight saving also impacts mental health as well, via Seasonal Affective Disorder.

So, should we get rid of Daylight Saving?

I would argue yes. Great Britain is the leader when it comes to setting time standards. Once we do it, everyone does. However, it is probably not going to happen anytime soon. An attempt to have Permanent British Summer Time was quashed by Parliament in 2012. The Winter months would be detrimental to the far North West of Britain, particularly Scotland.

The European Union was voting on removing it too, but the vast majority of countries still support some sort of Daylight saving. So, for now, nothing much will happen. Daylight saving is here to stay.

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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