Last October, just as we were about to change the clocks in order to slip back into Greenwich Mean Time for the winter, I suggested that we might like to stop doing this and stay on summer time all year round. Now the whole thing may come on the agenda, as a British Conservative backbench MP, Rebecca Harris, has proposed that the British government ‘conduct a cross-departmental analysis of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time by one hour for all, or part of, the year’.
To be honest, I’m not altogether sure what she has in mind. The wording of her proposal could mean either that BST (British Summer Time) remains the official British time all year round, with no clock change at any time; or it could mean that the clocks will change as before, but that all year they will be one hour later than where they are now (which would mean that the UK will be in the same time zone as continental European countries); or it could mean something else I haven’t thought of (there is some reference in the report of ‘double summer time’, whatever on earth that means).
Leaving Ms Harris aside (which I can do easily enough, as until the other day I had never heard of her), I might declare that my own preference would be, as I said last year, to stop all this business of changing the clocks, and to stay on one time all year round, preferably on what is now BST (or whatever we call that in Ireland). Changing the clocks is actually quite expensive and, as far as I am concerned, not really beneficial. It used to be argued that changing the clocks back to GMT during the winter helped farmers and schoolchildren, but I suspect that this need not be such an issue now.
Apparently David Cameron is considering supporting Ms Harris – assuming he is better able to understand than I am what she actually wants. If the outcome of that is a new framework for the UK, Ireland will need to decide what to do, no doubt partly because the prospect might arise that Dublin and Belfast could be in different time zones. Or maybe the Irish government could even get into discussions with the British Prime Minister. If so, I say go for perpetual summer time. Why not?