Friday, October 15, 2010

A timely puzzle

Courtesy of Newsnet Scotland, I see that Tory MP Greg Knight has told Scottish opponents of the perennial proposal to permanently move the clocks forward an hour that they should go back to Scotland and set up their own time-zone if they don't like it. I raised a smile at this because the gist of Knight's argument is near-enough identical to one I encountered - albeit in slightly less abusive form - at Political Betting a few months ago. What are the Scots complaining about, I was asked? Haven't they noticed that there will be exactly the same number of hours of sunlight in a day that there was before? If light in the mornings is so important, it's scarcely beyond the wit of man for Scottish schools and businesses to put their opening times back an hour to take account of the time change, is it?

To which there was one simple response which, as far as I could see, was close to being unanswerable - you're the ones proposing a change to the status quo, matey. Haven't you noticed that such a change won't produce a single extra minute of daylight? If additional light in the evenings is so important to you, is it really beyond the wit of man for English schools and businesses to simply put their opening and closing times forward an hour? Why, in short, are you troubling us with this pointless argument at all?

The same principle applies a hundred times over to Knight. If he considers different time-zones to be an acceptable solution to this dilemma, fine - in which case, why does the proposal before Westminster needlessly extend to the entirety of the UK? Isn't it just a tad peculiar to try to use Westminster to force an unwanted change to the status quo in Scotland (when, bizarrely, he claims not to give a monkey's about what happens in Scotland at all) and then whinge about Scottish MPs voting against that change at Westminster? Where else would he suggest it would be logical for elected Scottish representatives to go to express their view on a Westminster bill that would change the law of Scotland?

It's a puzzle all right. Alternatively known as textbook Anglocentric presumption - regardless of the fact that they're the ones demanding a change to the status quo, it apparently just goes without saying that any new English position has to be the default position from which the rest of the UK might be allowed to 'vary' from if we tiresomely insist.

1 comment:

  1. I stay in Orkney so the differences between winter and summer day hours are pretty large but I couldn't really give a toss which particular time zones is chosen. My wish would be to leave the clocks alone and have the same time year round. As you've said we don't get any more daylight from changing the clocks and so why not just base the time zone as midday when the sun is due south on December 21st and leave it at that?