Our local MSP has a weekly column in the Berwickshire
in which he writes about local issues. This last week he has reminded his readers that every year, as inevitable as hearing the first cuckoo, some one raises the question of altering clocks timing to cope with the problem of dark winter hours and their effect on road accident statistics: He writes, in part Simply altering the clocks of course does nothing to deal with poor conditions due to fog, wet and icy roads nor of course bad driving nor for that matter, lack of road maintenance.
In point of fact accident rates have decreased in recent years. UK figures show that total road casualties were 3% fewer in 2005 than 2004. Of course we should continue to make every reasonable effort to cut the death and injury toll further. Campaigns to do so are very welcome.
In Scotland where the advantage of a change in the clocks would presumably be said to be greatest, road deaths fell by 30% between 1995 and 2005 to the lowest figure in 50 years. Adding killed and seriously injured together, the total fell over the same ten year period by 45% which same percentage drop occurred if you isolate child casualties.
Again comparing 1995 and 2005, casualty figures by mode of transport show, car users were down 16%, pedestrians down 35%, motorcyclists down 11% and pedal cyclists down 41%.
The proposal in the Bill is that in summer, the time will be British Summer Time plus one hour and in the winter it will be Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour. Additional advantages are said to be greater exposure to daylight and thus benefits to people’s health, an increased opportunity for leisure activities together with an extended tourist season that would bring in an estimated £1 billion extra per annum.
The Policy Studies Institute has seemingly come up with this calculation but what methodology has been used to arrive at such a figure is unclear. I personally would say that it is a highly dubious proposition again taking little or no account of such factors as the weather, special anniversaries or events or such mundane things as exchange rates on tourist activity
I recall a certain Lord Archer involving himself in this issue two or three years ago. He bizarrely proposed that Scotland should be free to have a different time zone to England and Wales to take account of our more northerly geography.
Is Lord Archer's idea so bizarre?-a SMT* might well have some advantages although we in Hutton would need to constantly fiddle with our watches when going on on our hunter gathering expeditions to Sir Morrisons and the Green Shop. But easily coped with by having a wristwatch on both wrists, one set to GMT and the other to SMT*.
If you missed a bit of Big Brother in Berwick you could dash across the frontier to Paxton and watch the bit you missed at the Cross; or is it the other way round. Alternatively what about introducing SFT (Scottish Flexible Time) whereby on odd dates (or even ones-why make a fuss?) in months with an r in them you put your clocks back one hour at 6am to get an extra hour in bed and an hours more light for golf at Duns (MPBUI)in the early evening. Complicated and confusing? No Sir, not for an intelligent and prudent nation. I suggest that the 'Mean' of Scottish Mean Time' be replaced by a word less derogatory to the Scots-no stereotypes in this blog; thankyou very much . How about 'Munificent' Blog-