We’ve had three months to recover from Christmas and now another chocapocalypse is upon us. This weekend it’s Easter and the nonsensical frenzied hunts for chocolate eggs (laid and packaged by a magical rabbit with a seemingly infinite supply of tin foil and an odd penchant for advertising the calorific value of its offspring) will be in full swing once more. However, this year the bunny is demanding something in return. On Sunday the nation will rise to the realisation that an hour of our lives will be held hostage until October.
Advocates of the shrewdly named “Daylight Saving Time” (DST), which begins with the theft of an hour of the night, claim the system saves energy. People tend to be awake longer in the evening than in the morning, so shifting the clock forward means they use less energy for light in the evening. The fact that the first major implementations of DST occurred during the First World War and were repeated in subsequent times of need suggests that there is some substance to this argument. However, in the century since, electricity consumption patterns have diversified from basic light and heat to stuff like this:
However, there is one cast iron positive that DST advocates can always fall back on, increased leisure activity due to lighter evenings. This tends to be a boon for retailers, especially sports retailers, as people drag themselves blinking into the rare British sunlight in order to get just enough exercise to stave off death for the coming winter months.
Unfortunately, there is evidence that any positive health effects may be cancelled out by an increased risk of heart attacks in the days following the clocks going forward. Furthermore, combining the start of DST with the piousness-free, gluttonous modern day Easter–where we are carpet bombed with calories over a long sedentary weekend—seems like some kind of sinister Murdoch inspired synergism designed to cull the population.
Thankfully, if you were to have a heart attack, the ambulance that took you to hospital would be less likely to crash. Data suggests that road traffic accidents are reduced due to the lighter evenings, leading to campaigns for the clocks to go even further forward into what is termed double summer time. This idea did actually reach the floor of Parliament a few years ago in the form of the Daylight Saving Bill. The bill was met with derision from MPs in more northern constituencies where the winter sun would not rise until late morning, apparently a danger to school children.
After several weak attempts at wit (“Surely midday is not called midday by accident.”) the bill was filibustered, but not before real life Cuthbert from the Bash Street Kids, Jacob Rees-Mogg, attempted to create a separate time zone for Somerset. Rural workers, in places like Somerset, are vocal opponents to DST as agricultural routines based on sunrise and sunset tend not to deal well with the clock shift, so maybe Rees-Mogg was onto something. Regrettably, this idea never had the backing of David Cameron who said:
A noble sentiment indeed. So on Sunday morning just remember, you may be tired and unhappy, but we are all in this time zone together.